Rhyming Done Right: Cock-a-Doodle Oops! (& J. Reinhardt’s Winners Announced)

You know you’ve found a real jewel when you read a rhyming picture book that sings and hums. And Cock-a-Doodle Oops!, written by Lori Degman, is a rhyming book that hums just right!

Cock-a-Doodle Oops! is charming picture book (with gorgeous illustrations by Deborah Zemke) which shares some comical farm mishaps when rooster decides to take a vacation and the other animals must figure out how to wake Farmer McPeeper in the morning.

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For my post today I’ve asked Lori Degman to share a bit about how she created Cock-a-Doodle Oops! (published by Creston Books, 2014)

  1. Where did you get the story idea for Cock-a-Doodle Oops! ?

Thanks so much for having me on your blog!  My original idea for Cock-a-Doodle Oops actually came to me when I was in the back seat of your car, Suzanne!  We were driving to Tina’s SCBWI holiday party with Laura.  I don’t think I ever told you that!  At first it was going to be a “boy who cried wolf” type of story, where the rooster crowed at all times of the day because he was bored, but then I thought of Rooster going on vacation and I moved on from there.  I’ve got dibs on the first idea – I just need to start writing it!

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2. How did you find your great new publisher, Creston Books?  

I met Marissa Moss, my editor and the founder of Creston Books, at an SCBWI writing retreat.  I really loved the fact that Marissa was looking for solid, non-trendy books and that she was printing them in the US!  I submitted my story after the event and, luckily, she loved it!

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 3. How long was the writing process? 

It’s hard to say, exactly because I don’t write full-time – and even if I did, I’m sure I wouldn’t be working on only one story from it’s conception to submission-ready manuscript.  I think from the first idea (in the back seat of your car) to my submission to Marissa was about two years. 

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   4. Your meter is perfect and the rhymes are so clever. (or as Kirkus’ glowing review put it, “the author displays a gift for rhymes and language that is clever…”) How do you accomplish that?

Thanks, Suzanne!!  I work really hard on the meter in all my stories.  I don’t want the reader to be pulled out of the story because they stumble over a word and have to reread it or have to pause to think of how they should read a line.  There are several things I do make sure the meter works:

1 – I mark the stressed and unstressed syllables in each line and make sure each line follows the same pattern.

2 – I ask someone to read it out loud and I listen for any spots where the reader trips up.

3 – When I’m alone or I don’t feel like bothering my friends or family for the millionth time, I print the story and cut each line into separate strips and read them out loud out of order. 

4 – I copy the story into Text Edit and listen to it using the speech option.  The pronunciation and stresses aren’t always perfect but it helps.

I pay just as much attention to the rhyme as I do the meter.  The rhyme should enhance the story – not interfere with it or lead it in the wrong direction.  I try my hardest not to use the same rhyme pair more than once in a story and to find interesting and unexpected words to rhyme.  I especially like it when I can rhyme multisyllabic words or a series of words – that’s the best!

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Thanks, Lori, for sharing your helpful rhyming tips!

And as promised, here are the lucky winners Jennifer Black Reinhardt’s Book Giveaway from her Sept. 29 post — Andrea Allen and Mary York!

Please contact Jennifer through her website, JBReinhardt.com (Let her know if you would like your book inscribed & mailing address.)

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books–all nonfiction. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating, little-known facts about historical figures. Recent picture books include: The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue (4 Starred Reviews!), Friends for Freedom, With Books and Bricks, The Inventor’s Secret (2017 NSTA Best STEM Book, illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt), and Out of School and Into Nature (Sleeping Bear, 2017). Coming soon -- Dangerous Jane (Peachtree, 2017), 2982 Days (Peachtree, 2018), and The Daring Dozen (Charlesbridge, 2019). Learn more about Suzanne and her books at: www.suzanneslade.com

27 Comments:

  1. Loved the post. Thanks for the rhyming tips, I love writing in rhyme and getting the rhythm just right is always a challenge. Love your title, Cock-a-Doodle, Oops!

  2. Roses are red.
    Violets are blue.
    This post is awesome.

  3. What a fun post! My kids and I really love to read Cock-A-Doodle-Oops! aloud together.

  4. This Cock a doodle oops is a favorite at my house! I love the rhythm and rhyme and it’s so funny also! Great post!

  5. Lori – Great idea! Great book! Great post! Thanks for the tips for rhyming and meter.

  6. Thank you, Suzanne! What a great interview. I love hearing all the ways Lori listens to her words so that she makes them sing perfectly!

  7. This looks so fun!! Thanks, Suzanne, and congratulations, Lori! And thank you for saying you scan your lines (stressed and unstressed syllables). SO important when writing in rhyme!! 🙂

  8. Thank you for this fabulous post! I second Linda’s gratitude for saying you scan your lines. I emphasize that over and over in my classes and if they submit again, I can always see if they’ve done it or not :-). Yes it takes effort, but it’s the best way to know your rhyme scheme–or if you even have one! This post and the book are going on my Resource Doc for writing rhyming picture books. Thank you so much!

  9. Thanks for the tips on how to check for rhythm consistency.

  10. Wonderful post. Lori really knows her stuff in this area, so this is full of useful info. Thanks! And congrats to Andrea and Mary!

  11. I enjoyed this interview and wonder what happens to Rooster at the end of the book. That means you hooked me and kept my interest. Great story idea and title.

  12. I just finished reading Cock-a-Doodle Oops! and enjoyed every line. It truly does use rhyme to serve the story logically and creatively rather than forcing hackneyed rhymes that don’t. And the illustrations by Deborah Zemke are also amazing! Such a perfect match of text and pictures is what picture books are all about.

  13. Cock-a-Doodle Wonderful!

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