named Penny Parker Klostermann, my wonderful friend and discerning critique partner. Her debut picture book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Random House), illustrated by Ben Mantle, was chosen Best in Rhyme 2015 by the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution conference committee. This is a brand new award, developed by writer and blogger Angie Karcher, founder of Rhyming Picture Book Month. In April, Angie will dedicate her blog, RhyPiBoMo, to the celebration of rhyming picture books through posts by authors, agents, and other lovers of rhyming PBs.
The 450 members of the RhyPiBoMo Facebook group nominated about 50 books for the award. Book criteria included: written in rhyme; be a story, not a concept book; and traditionally published between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. Twelve committee members took nominations and individually scored each book with a comprehensive rubric that included elements found in an outstanding rhyming picture book: character, rhyming pattern, meter, language fluency and several others. When the scores were tallied, Penny’s book was ranked #1!
Two honor books were also named: What About Moose?, written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi; and Interstellar Cinderella, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Meg Hunt.
Penny flew to New York City on Friday, December 4th to receive the award in person, where – first thing – she met up for a tour of the publishing company with editorial director of picture books at Random House, Maria Mondugno. “She kept saying, ‘I want to show you something exciting,’ Penny says, “and I kept replying, “You don’t understand. . . everything about this is exciting!”
That evening, Penny attended the award ceremony, which was streamed live from Julie Gribble’s KidLitTV Studio. “Julie was an amazing host and the award ceremony was spectacular!” Penny exclaims. “It was followed by a reception with yummy food and drink—all named for my book: ‘BuRRRP Juice, Guaca-Moat-le, Salsa de Squire,’ and more. They also got artwork from Ben Mantle to make a big dragon tri-fold.”
On Saturday, December 5th, Penny presented at a PB teaching conference focused on the elements of writing in rhyme. Other faculty included editors Rebecca Davis and Justin Chandra, agent Kendra Marcus, and authors Karma Wilson, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Lori Degman, and Cory Rosen Schwartz. The last part of the conference was a “poetry card schmooze,” in which attendees designed their own postcard with a short poem and exchanged them. On Sunday, following brunch with Maria Mondugno, Penny participated in a panel with authors Corey Rosen Schwartz, Lori Degman, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and Karma Wilson. “This great event was titled ‘Rollicking Rhymes’,” Penny explains. “We had a nice little crowd. Many were attendees from the Rhyming Picture Book Revolution conference. The store had quite a few customers and some of them came over to see what all of the excitement was about.”