Rhyme Time


It’s bedtime, and Oscar just handed me a stack of books to read as we settled in for story time. Looking at the stack, I notice a theme: all of the books rhyme.

I know this is common when it comes to children’s books, especially those for the under-five-set, but I love how much rhythm there is to our mornings and afternoons when we choose one of the many books we own that rhyme.

“Mama! Let’s read Telescopic Boom Boom first!” My son gleefully hands me his brightly colored copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I grin at his mis-name. We’ve been learning about construction vehicles lately, and his current obsession? The Telescopic Boom. (Not coincidentally, I can also now tell you all about the many differences between a bulldozer, excavator, and wheel loader.)

I start the book about the alphabet climbing a coconut tree, the familiar rhyme scheme coming naturally: this was my sister’s favorite book when she was Oscar’s age.

“Chicka chicka BOOM BOOM! Will there be enough room?” His eyes light up as he helps me read out the letters of the alphabet, all before they tumble - skit skat skoodle doot - out of the tree!

Soon we get to another double dare at the end of the book and move to the next one, another rhyming tale: Llama Llama Misses Mama. We’ve become partial to this one since Oscar started preschool in the fall. Much of this story parallels his experience the first months of the school year: missing his own mama and being happy when I arrive at the end of the day to pick him up.

“I like school!” he chirps at the end of the book. It’s time to tuck him into bed now.

I smile as I put the books on the table and give him a hug.

“I’m glad you do, buddy.”

As he curls up to sleep, I look again at the books he brought me, and think about how much we enjoy the ones that are musical in their poetry. On any given day, you can find us reading anywhere from five to ten books at a time, and at least half of them rhyme.

When we don’t know what to read, we pull out the books that read like poetry. Their rhythms feel like reading songs out loud. Oscar’s favorites include the entirety of the Llama Llama books (as of writing this, we have all that we don’t own out from the library). 1, 2, 3, Peas is a perpetual favorite and never fails to make me giggle. And of course, Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom.

Not all of our books read like poetry, but the ones we pull out time and again do. They’re the comfort food of books for us, and the ones that get Oscar to read with me on the days he’s most reluctant to slow down for a good book at bedtime. We clap along with them and turn our favorites into songs.

As I settle down into bed, I pick up a book from the nightstand and settle in to read. It’s not one that rhymes, but I rest in the familiar flow of each sentence as I, too, get ready to sleep.