14:14 PB ELEMENTS – Mammoths on the Move – RHYME
My picture book today was a great title in anticipation of our first possible potential of a snow sprinkle in southeast Arkansas (tomorrow night). Probably, we’ll have just a smidgen of ice. But this is a curl-up-in-a-thick-blanket book in more ways than one.
(472 words, AR Reading Level 3.9)
Mammoths on the Move makes excellent use of poetic form and the element of RHYME in relating factual details that support a focus on migration, a vital aspect of woolly mammoth life.
What kid (or grown-up-old guy like me) isn’t entranced, first of all, by these majestic creatures. Lisa Wheeler took her enchantment and put it in methodical, carefully metered verse to produce a perfect rhyming story. With quatrains that weave amazing facts about mammoth life and culture around the aspect of migration, she embeds us with the herd as it moves to warmer grounds.
Kurt Cyrus provides illustrations that bring us up close and personal. In the first spread we stand beneath a mountain of wool, near lumbering trunk-like legs, to read:
“Fourteen thousand years ago
the north was mostly ice and snow.
But wooly mammoths didn’t care–
these beasts had comfy coats of hair.”
The use of rhyme sets up a sense of deliberation, a determination that mimics the steady intent and force and purpose of the mammoths in their migration.
I love Lisa’s varied refrains, which appear after either one or two stanzas throughout the journey.
“Fuzzy, shaggy, / snarly, snaggly, / wonderful / woolly mammoth.”
“Grinding, gnawing, / chewing, chawing, / wise and woolly mammoth.”
The refrains are used to emphasize facts related in the quatrains. Both rhyme, which occurs internally and in an AABB pattern in the quatrains, and poetic form are used effectively. The sense of structure, the meter of “left-foot, right-foot, left-foot, right-foot,” supports the long and steady walk of the herd to their destination, with their rests and pauses emphasized by the refrains.
A read-aloud for sure. And as you read it, deepen your voice, add some grunts between stanzas, and warm up to the wonder of a child beside you eyes-wide open in awe at these marvelous beasts.
Share, if you will, how you’ve seen rhyme used well in some of your favorite non-fiction books.
(See a list of other reviewers posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)