Review of The Book That Almost Rhymed

The Book That Almost Rhymed The Book That Almost Rhymed
by Omar Abed; illus. by Hatem Aly
Primary    Dial    40 pp.
3/24    9780593406380    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780593406397    $10.99

Our narrator was proud to have written a book in rhyme…and then little sister came along with her crayon and ruined it. Or did she? Frustrated, the narrator tries to tell the story aloud, with frequent sisterly interruptions that usually add positivity but disrupt where the rhyme seems to be going: “‘She tagged along to join the action, / but mostly was a huge distrac—’ // ‘A HELPFUL NEW PERSPECTIVE!’” Between the sibling dynamics and the element of surprise that eventually becomes a recognizable pattern, the story is funny throughout (though its meter has some missteps). But the real payoff comes with a revelation at the end, which will likely prompt readers to go back and look more closely at the sister’s contributions, aided by the differentiated font colors for each speaker. The illustrations, “developed digitally with some use of scanned traditional media textures, ink washes, and patterns,” match the do-it-yourself imaginativeness of the text; the casual depiction of siblings with different skin tones is another plus.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

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