Please welcome the lovely Karen Collum. Over to you, Karen.
The Thinking Reader’s Novel
I’ve always been a voracious reader, devouring children’s books of every kind at an alarming rate. Verse novels, however, are a new discovery for me. When I first heard the term ‘verse novel’, I had to ask another author exactly what it meant. I was familiar with rhyming picture books texts, but verse novels? That was something new. And now that I know, I have one thing to say: I’m in love.
The first verse novel I ever read was Jinx by Margaret Wild. Since then, I’ve read Sixth Grade Style Queen – Not! (Sherryl Clark), Do Wrong Ron (Steven Herrick) and Pearl Verses the World (by the lovely Sally Murphy). Each and every one of these books has been a delightful adventure into the world of verse and has inspired me to read in this style more widely and even attempt writing my own.
One of the most appealing aspects of verse novels for me is the brevity of the text. As a picture book author, I place high value on the ‘less is more’ concept. A standard novel has the luxury of taking the reader by the hand and guiding them through the story in many thousands of words. Verse novels however, are limited to a select group of well-chosen words, each of which much serve the dual purpose of enhancing the progress of the story and adding beauty and meaning to the text. The construction of a verse novel may well bear resemblance to that of a picture book, with each and every word fighting for its place in the text. Anything that is not absolutely essential to the text must be abandoned. There is no room for the unnecessary in a verse novel.
Congratulations on the release of Toppling, Sally. I can’t wait to read it and get lost in a verse novel once more.