The Book That Almost Rhymed

In Omar Abed's hilarious, heartwarming picture book The Book That Almost Rhymed, a child tries to write an epic poem about a brave knight's adventure but is thwarted at every stanza by an eager little sister.

The child begins a "smooth and seamless" story about a brave knight traveling alone when their younger sister insists on tagging along in the role of "fierce and friendly detective." The kid begrudgingly agrees, and the pair embark on their quest: "'Finally, the knight could lead. They rode upon his noble--/' 'ROCKET!'" the sister gleefully yells. Her exasperated sibling acquiesces and changes the story's setting to outer space. Eventually, the child becomes overwhelmed with their sister's non-rhyming sporadic changes. "That's it! Do you see what I mean?/ You've ruined every rhyming scheme!" The frustrated kid recounts the sister's additions ("Knights carry shields--not fluffy pillows./ Dragons breathe fire--not armadillos.") and realizes that by changing the story's context, her words don't only make sense, but rhyme. The siblings reconcile and collaborate in a surprising, delightful ending.

Hatem Aly brings an extra level of humor and whimsy to the text through dynamic and energetic illustrations. Aly's digital art delineates the siblings' reality from fantasy by depicting the kids themselves in a realistic, illustrative style and the added elements (like a fire-breathing armadillo) in a naïve style that mimics crayon marks. This lively, heartfelt romp highlights both the joy of wordplay and the profound benefits of creative collaboration. --Kieran Slattery, freelance reviewer, teacher, co-creator of Gender Inclusive Classrooms

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