Many picturebooks have a story told through rhyme, which often adds a level of energy and song when read aloud. Some use rhyme to enhance the humour of the story or to add an element of dramatic suspense (for example where a couplet is not complete until the page has been turned). Below are three of our favourite rib-tickling rhymers.
Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins, published by Walker Books
my daddy said to me,
"It's time you learnt to peck a tree."'
As the sun rises a little woodpecker sets off from his nest to peck at everything he can find. He starts off in conventional fashion, pecking an actual hole through a tree, perfect for little fingers to reach into and use to turn the page.
The bird reaches a nearby fence and then a house:
now I'll peck this big blue door,
Then go inside and peck some more."
The little bird pecks his way inside, and through a culinary bounty including a nectarine, an aubergine, and seventeen jelly beans - the words of the book cleverly interwoven among the holes. As he makes his way through the house he finds more and more to peck, with a grand finale of 53 pecked holes through items in the laundry room.
After a long day, rather dizzy and with a frazzled beak, he returns to his proud daddy and gets tucked up warm and snug.
'Peck Peck Peck''s scattering of holes and bold primary colour illustrations, which fill each page with a level of detail that will delight, make it a strong contender to be 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' of our daughters' generation.
Doughnuts for a Dragon by Charlotte Guillain and Adam Guillain, illustrated by Lee Wildish, published by Egmont
We're big fans of George and his series of amazing adventures. We love a regular romp with George as he takes 'Treats for a T Rex', prepares 'Pizzas for Pirates' and gives 'Socks for Santa'. Probably our favourite is 'Doughnuts for Dragons', a melodic medieval marvel, which sees George transported back in time to a fairytale land of castles, knights and princesses.
George dreams of becoming a knight and taking on a dragon, and sets of on his intrepid quest. Armed only with doughy treats, he puts these to good use to avoid the threatening advances of ogres and witches, with more than a little help from a skilful slingshotting princess.
'"Yum" said the ogre, lifting George up, "I’ll have you for dinner tonight." "Don’t eat me," cried George, "Have these buns instead! 'Cause I’m seeking a dragon to fight."
As with the others in this terrific series, a pacy and amusing rhyme is accompanied by Lee Wildish's energetic and bold illustrations. The pages are filled with details and humour, which keeps each read (and there will be many!) fresh and fun.
Kitchen Disco by Clare Foges and Al Murphy, published by Faber and Faber
Have you ever wondered what goes on in your fruit bowl at night when you're asleep? A very entertaining supposition is presented in this glitter-ball of a picturebook.
Set to a toe-tapping rhythm, we learn about DJ bananas, lemons breakdancing on the chopping board, and coconuts bubble-bathing in the washing up bowl. As the chorus chants:
called the Kitchen Disco,
And everyone's invited.
So move your hips,
Shake your pips,
And let's get all excited."
The bright, near-neon illustrations are perfectly matched with descriptions of the frenetic fruity frolics. 'Kitchen Disco' is guaranteed to be met with giggles and dancing by our daughter.