If you'll allow me to vent here for just one minute or two...(Let me clarify. This is not a whine, it's a plea to listen and advise.)
I spent the past five years working in an elementary school, and the last two as the librarian assistant. I've read hundreds of books to children while there. I've witnessed the sheer delight on children's faces while I'm reading a rhyming book, as they clap, snap and bob their heads along with the rhythm of the story. I spent months each year working with the Kinders teaching them about rhyming words, as it is one of the requirements to graduate Kindergarten. Yes, this is true. I've relished the moments when they uncontrollably shout out, "That rhymes Mrs. Fite!"
Think about a rhyming book or story you loved from when you were young...don't you just cherish that memory? I do. Right off the bat (and I realize this is poetry, but still), I think about the poem, Sick, by Shel Silverstein. I memorized this as a young child, mostly because it rhymed, making it easier to recall the text in my mind.
Naturally, as a writer with a passion for children's books, I wrote an adorable story about a tiny acorn, the chosen 1 out of 10,000 acorn, who faces his fears of getting lost, being eaten or not being able to find his special seed, and leaps from his father's branch, burying himself in the earth below, only to wake up the following spring, an energetic oak tree sprout. (Long sentence, but you get the gist of the story, right?) It's delightful and it rhymes, which seems to be the death of my wonderful story.
I have read many times in the past year, on dozens of agent's / publisher's / magazine's websites this simple comment: "Absolutely no rhyming stories".
I will not mention the name of the company, but here is a summary of their comment: "The last thing the children's book publishing industry needs is another rhyming book about a tooth fairy."
Although, my book has nothing to do with a tooth fairy, it does rhyme. I'd be a complete idiot to send Little Acorn's Big Fall to this particular person.
Here are the two main reasons (I believe) why so many agencies and publishing houses reject rhyming stories.
1.) They are not written in correct rhyme schemes.
2.) Rhyming is outdated. (What? Rhyming is timeless!)
***These are the two main reasons I've come up with numerous times in my research in trying to find an agent for my Little A. I did, in a quirky query, challenge an agent to read the full text, even though it rhymed. She did request a full, however, it's been four weeks, and I'm assuming, dead in the water. Moving on.
My text was edited by a literature professor, and she specifically assisted me with the rhyme scheme. We made sure it flowed in an even, natural AABB scheme. I entered it in the Cheerios contest last fall, and when it didn't win, I began to query agents and publishers, to no avail.
Writers out there, if you're listening, please comment here. Tell me your thoughts and opinions on rhyming text. I need to hear from you regarding my current dilemma. I'm faced with the possibility of changing the text to NOT rhyme or leave it be.
I don't know how many more rejections Little A. can bear without wilting his little trunk. :(