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Chester van Chime Who Forgot How to Rhyme by Avery Monsen and illustrated by Abby Hanlon

“There once was a youngster named Chester van Chime, who woke up one day and forgot how to…make words sound alike.”

April is National Poetry Month, and my students and I kicked it off with a hilarious new picture book by Avery Monsen. Chester van Chime loves to rhyme, but one day he wakes, and he simply can’t do it. He’s stressed and upset, and his friends try to help, but nothing seems to cure his rhyming slump.

“Things weren’t looking good, but they didn’t despair.

They sat Chester down in a velvety…seat.”

On his way home, Chester has a thought. He doesn’t always have to be at his best. He can rhyme if he wants, it isn’t a test. Playing with words should simply be fun!

This story required two readings. The first time through, students were laughing so hard at the not-rhymes that they didn’t notice the clever illustrations on each page. Once we finished the second reading, it was time to have our own word fun, ala Chester van Chime-style.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a…wish that I want, like a big cake.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great…gravity pull

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you…do in such a high world, making friends with the clouds.

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon.

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the…metal thing you use to eat soup.

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.

One fell off and bumped his…part that contains the brain.

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