Friday, October 16, 2009

I Love Fall!

Okay, remember your written driver's license test all those years ago? Remember the sign identification? You peek through the little spy-glass onto a computer screen and identify signs by their shape. I had to take that test this year to renew my license. Oh, my goodness! I got the shape of the STOP sign correct; the others, well, let's say I got a little confused. Especially with the WARNING signs. Aren't they rectangular? Or is it triangular? Oval, maybe?

So, as you can see I'm probably not really good at heeding warnings. I've been warned about totally honest book reviews. I've been warned that some editor of some publisher of some book that I've reviewed or analyzed might hap upon my blog, or (Be still my heart!) go searching for it. Said editor might search through my posts and find a book that I didn't care for that he/she happened to edit. As this editor reads my comments he/she gleefully sets fire to my manuscript!
I know that can happen. But I made a commitment to be truthful with my opinions. I also made a commitment to be kind and generous with my comments. And I try to keep all of those promises.

After all, I am a writer who is just one itty-bitty notch above a novice, but a writer nonetheless.

But, I am also a reader. And readers' opinions count.

So, dear anonymous editor, please don't hate me. Give my manuscript lingering on your desk a chance, please!

Today I'm talking about a cute little Touch-and-Feel Board Book published by Little Simon. I've read the 135 words and examined the precious illustrations numerous times. I'm trying to learn all I can from this little book, I Love Fall!

The word count is terrific--135.

The illustrations are comical and cute and full of those golden autumn tones that make children and adults alike feel warm and cozy.

I Love Fall! celebrates some common symbols of the season: sweaters and scarfs, chilly air, pumpkins, apples, colored leaves, and gift baskets.

The text has a pleasant sing-song kind of rhythm in places, but it is unpredictable. It varies from page to page, and that interferes with the whole read-aloud experience for me.

The pages are interactive, which is a wonderful thing, but not all of the choices for the actual materials used for "touching & feeling" are accurate for the descriptive text, in my opinion. For instance, the first touch-and-feel is supposed to be a "warm and woolly" scarf. The red fabric used in the production of the book doesn't look or feel woolly at all to me. It's sort of shaggy, furry and very soft, very pleasant. It contradicts the "Scritch, scratch!" in large letters on the page.

Another area of confusion for me is this: I can't decide if the author is attempting to write in rhyme or not. This must be a problem on my part, I think. So, dear reader, help me out, please.

For example: two lines on the first page read

"In the fall, the air is chilly,
but my scarf feels warm and woolly."

Another page reads:

"There are lots of pumpkins, orange and plump!
My puppy helps me pick one up."

So, what do you think? Rhyme or no rhyme? Please cast your vote in the COMMENTS section below.

So, I've learned several things from this cute little book. And it really IS cute. My two (almost three) year old grandson loves it.

I've learned that every rule is meant to be broken.

I've learned that when editors tell us don't write in rhyme or in poetry unless you're extremely good at both rhythm and rhyme and poetic devices, they possibly don't mean that at all.

I've learned that, if an editor loves your manuscript he/she will fight for it and get it into print.
(Oh, where, oh, where is that editor who wants to champion one of MY little manuscripts?)

I've learned that manuscript acceptance is a totally subjective thing on the part of editors.

And, once again, I've learned that I have soooooo much to learn about the business of publishing.


WordWrangler said...

Rhymelike with a jazzfeel...but not truly rhyming.

BTW - I say keep the honest reviews coming.


Cheryl Barker said...

Jean, I don't think the sound of those ending words sound similar enough to qualify as rhyme. Just my opinion -- and vote :)

Janet, said...

they say editor's frown upon submitting rhyming manuscripts, because if it rhymes, they want it to be perfect. Not close or almost, but perfect-and have great rhythm. Most writers (unless you are a poet) can't do that. Those sentences were not rhyming, but the way it was worded, I, as the reader, expected it to rhyme. If I had read something like that in my critique group, they would have jumped all over it.

Sheryl (Sherri) Crawford said...

Nope. Not rhyme. Sort of contrived, didn't flow. Just my opinion. Jean, you are SOOOO right about subjectivity of editors.
Nice to have you back (o; How are you?