I've written my first children's picture book manuscript and it uses a mix of prose for the narration and rhyme for the character's dialogue. It feels to me like it gives more colour and life to the characters but I'm curious if this is uncommon or generally not acceptable? Here's a small example from the story...

If the smallest dot landed on her shiny shoes she became grumpy and mad, “It’s terrible!” she cried, “My shoes are dirty, their sparkle is gone! I DO NOT want them, they shall not be worn!”

1 Answer 1


It's perfectly acceptable and there are published children's books that mix rhyme and prose.

However, the switch between prose and rhyme can be jarring if you don't mentally prepare the reader for the switch by formatting the work in a way that readies them for what's to come.

Your dialogue example doesn't rhyme (I'm a bit confused by that) so forgive me for editing your work, but I wanted to illustrate the point and show what I mean by mentally preparing the reader:

If the smallest dot landed on her tiny shoes, she became grumpy and mad.

“It's terrible!” she cried.
“My shoes are dirty
Their sparkle has died!

I won't wear THESE
Take them away
And buy new ones PLEASE!”

So, by using normal text for the prose and italicised text for the speech, the reader is mentally prepared for a switch. And by formatting the speech in stanzas, they expect it to rhyme.

After only a page or two, the reader will switch naturally without thinking as soon as they see a change in formatting.

Good luck!

  • I love this answer (+1), but I think that the capitalization of the first word in the third line needs to be more consistent in the final version.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:49
  • Thank you for this answer! That helps me a lot and I now also realise I need to go back to primary school for rhyme and poetry lessons, haha. Back to the books I go, I (foolishly) thought gone and worn sounded similar enough that they were rhyming words. Oh well, I'm glad to be learning!
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 10:26
  • @J.R. Thanks, and I agree, didn't realise I'd done that, I'll change it later.
    – GGx
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 10:59
  • @Dan 😂 Maybe in America you pronounce gone and worn similarly, but I'm British, so it sounded wrong to me. But I certainly didn't mean to suggest you needed primary schooling for rhyme!! 😁I'm sure you'll be fine!! Glad the answer helped!!
    – GGx
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 13:10
  • Why did you use an image here? Any of the formatting used is perfectly doable in Markdown. Well, except for that odd blue square at the bottom (but then, I assume that was an accident anyway).
    – celtschk
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 8:37

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