Monday, March 11, 2019

ReFoReMo Day 7: Agent Emma Sector Focuses on Onomatopoeia

By Emma Sector


I’m always thinking about how a picture book will work as a read-aloud. Because, for me, the best thing about this format is the way pictures, illustrations, and sounds come together. And I’m a little bit obsessed with onomatopoeia. Who could forget the “Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy! Swishy swashy!” of Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? It’s the perfect example of how onomatopoeia can make a story come alive for readers and listeners.
And there are lots of ways for picture books to use onomatopoeia effectively! Listed below are a few recent picture books that show some different approaches.
A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin is one of my favorite picture books from 2018. The well timed and perfectly placed “pat pat pat” creates distance as we watch Little Star sneak back for another slice of mooncake. A brilliant example of how sounds can reinforce illustrations.

In Prickly Hedgehog, Jane McGuinness enlists the help of “sniffling, snuffling, and snaffing” and “whirring and churring and purring” to draw her readers into the world of the hedgehog. From there, McGuiness tells us all types of facts about the “small and prickly” as we journey with them. McGuinness show us how sounds can draw a reader into a different world.



Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmeri use onomatopoeia to help tie Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 togetherBoth use “crunch crunch crunch” to build suspense, for you never know if the crunching will be followed by fire and doom or just some safe and happy dragons. The recurring sound is perfect for the inevitable repeats of these silly stories. 



Egg by Kevin Henkes is one of my favorite springtime tales. The “crack, crack, crack” and “peck peck peck” build momentum and anticipation, showing us how the repetition of sound can drive a story forward.






It wouldn’t be a post on onomatopoeia without a Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin mention.  Click Clack, Peep! is a great example of how well placed sounds help the rhythm of a story and baby duck’s “peep, peep, peep” adds the perfect bouncy fun.
Emma is offering a ticket to the top of her submission pile! To be eligible for prizes throughout the challenge, you must be registered by March 4, comment on each post, consistently read mentor texts, and enter the Rafflecopter drawing at the conclusion of ReFoReMo.

Emma Sector is Literary Agent at Prospect Agency, where she represents picture book, chapter book, middle grade and YA authors and illustrators. Check out the Prospect Agency website and portfolio!

175 comments:

  1. Hard to spell, but lovely to listen to!

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  2. I agree! Onomatopoeia is one of the FUN parts of reading (and writing) PBs! Great examples... thanks!

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  3. Onomatopoeia is one of my favorite ways to make a story jump off the page...even in nonfiction! Thanks for some great mentor text suggestions to check out!

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  4. Interesting how onomatopoeia unites these mentor texts that have such different voices and word counts. There are so many ways to look at picture books!

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  5. Thanks for highlighting onomatopoeia!

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  6. Great post, Emma! Thank you for sharing these the wonderful examples of Onomatopoeia!

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  7. Thanks, Emma, for bringing onomatopoeia into the mix. Can't spell it or hardly say it without tripping over my tongue. But, I can Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Clap! Clap! Clap! for your mentor text suggestions. Now I must, shhhhhhhhhhh, while I read.

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  8. I love onomatopoeia in picture books, and students love it, too. Thanks for these great examples!

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  9. Thank you for reminding me how much I LOVE onomatopoeia ... and the fact I don't use it nearly often enough.

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  10. I LOVE onomatopoeia! And many of the books you've mentioned. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I love how sound can influence a text and the reader. I am excited to read today and aply it to my work.

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  12. Yes! I love using onomatopoeia to make my stories come to life! Thanks, Emma!

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  13. Big Moon Cake for Little Star is also one of my favorite books of 2018 precisely because of how fun it is to read aloud.

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  14. Good reminder that those fun onomatopoeia words are worth it! They are not just throw away words!

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  15. I love each one of these examples! Onomatopoeia creates the sounds that kids love and draws them in to a readaloud! Thanks for a great post!

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  16. This is a very timely post, Emma. TY. Last night as I listened to a commercial, I heard a sound that matched a phrase in one of my WIP's, and voila, onomatopoeia occurred. I love to pepper stories with fun-to-read sounds.

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  17. What a great look at something so specific, and what wonderful examples. Thanks!

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  18. Thanks, for a great post, Emma. You remind us how onomatopoeia can make text sing.

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  19. Fun to compare these great selections for their entertaining sound effects. I think I first learned about onomatopoeia when studying Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

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  21. I just zipped in to say, Onomatopoeia slips right of the tongue, but trips over and under your fingers as you clickety Clack on the keyboard. Tee hee. I must zip off to read more books.

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  22. Love this list. I especially enjoyed Hedgehog. This makes me want to go back to my own manuscripts and see how onomatopoeia might spice them up. And yes, I just read Click, Clack, Moo, Cows that Type to a kindergarten class during Read Across America week. I let them join me on the refrains, and they loved it.

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  23. Some super examples of recent & classic picture books that highlight onomatopoeia - such a useful writers' tool. Thank you, Emma!

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  24. Thanks for the great examples, I loved Dragons Love Tacos and Click Clack Peep!

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  25. Love onomatopoeia and loved this post. Thanks!

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  26. Like many others, I love onomatopoeia (although I hate spelling it!) and appreciate the way you explained how it's effectively used in the mentor texts.

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  27. So helpful to see how onomatopoeia is used to help with pacing. Thanks!

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  28. Thanks for the recommendations. I'll have to take a look at some of my manuscripts and see where I might be able to add some onomatopoeia to increase the read-aloudability.

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  29. Writing PBs is like working on a big puzzle, trying out all the words to find the perfect fit!

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  30. Thank you for a great posts and this list of wonderful mentor texts that use Onomatopoeia! Very helpful.

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  31. Who doesn't love onomatopoeia?! Thanks for sharing this list of wonderful mentor texts and what makes them so special, Emma.

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  32. I particularly like the pat, pat, pat of little feet sneaking to the moon cake for a midnight snack. Love the crunches, snufflings, and others... now I will look more closely at how onomatopoeia connects with pacing. Thanks!

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  33. I love to read onomatopoeia in books! These are great examples.
    Thank you.

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  34. Great list of books, thank you. I particularly liked A Big Mooncake for Little Star. Onomatopoeia certainly adds to read aloudability!

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  35. Love the pat, pat, pat, and the snifflings and snufflings, and how they add music, rhythm and layers of sound that enlarge the reader's experience.

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  36. I love the use of poetic technique in PB writing. Great examples! Thanks!

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  37. This is something I admire in other writer's work! Thanks for the reminder. (don't enter me in today's giveaway--already repped!)

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  38. Great books and such a fun topic. I love onomatopoeias. Thanks for sharing!

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  39. Your phrase about how it "will work as a read-aloud" is such a key element for us to remember! Thanks, Emma, for these great PBs to study for that.

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  40. Such a wonderful topic! I, too, associate certain sounds with favorite books. Adds to pacing and the fun of the book. Thanks for sharing your favorites.

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  41. I love all of these examples of onomatopoeia and the reminder that this tool is a wonderful way to help readers enter the world of our characters. And I love that all of these examples seem to follow the magic rule of 3 repetitions. Another tool for my toolbox! Thank you so much, Emma!

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  42. Pat, pat, pat. Whirring, churring, purring. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Always in threes.

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  43. thanks, Emma. I've been trying to use more onomatopoeia in my stories, and it's fun to work it in. Henkes and Cronin are two of my favorite authors.

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  44. Chitter, chatter! Clink, Clank! Read alouds are so much fun with the sounds of onomatopoeia. Thank you, Emma for a list of excellent titles.

    Suzy Leopold

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  45. Even hearing you reading the onomatopoeia in my head made me want to snuggle up and listen to more!

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  46. Love these books. Great post Emma.Thank you.

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  47. Emma, I love to read aloud and to write stories filled with examples of onomatopoeia. These are great mentor texts for this topic!

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  48. It reminds us all that our books are written specifically to be read aloud and how the story sounds is as important as the story itself. Thanks for sharing these books.

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  49. There’s something so playful and satisfying about using the right words to describe sounds, and reading them aloud. Thank you for sharing these texts!

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  50. Love how sounds can add to a story. These are all worth studying. Thanks, Emma.

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  51. Thanks for the ideas of onomatopoeia reference. I see it a few times in these books but does not appear to be over done. Worth reviewing my ms in progress for places this would work.

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  52. Thanks for the recommendations. Prickly Hedgehog was a new title for me - love it!

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  53. Nice to reflect on onomatopoeia and how sounds that are fun to say can move the story and heighten suspense.

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  54. Yes! I love the way onomatopoeia makes a picture book come alive! Thanks for these great examples!

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  55. Onomatopoeia is so much fun -- for the reader and the writer! Thanks for sharing some of your favorite examples, Emma.

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  56. Thanks for your post and list of books.
    Darcee Freier

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  57. I love this. One of my favorite books as a child was Umbrella by Taro Yashima. I can hear my mother's voice reading out those rain sounds every time I think of it.

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  58. Thanks, Emma, I work hard to have some rhythm and onomatopoeia and these thexts do it SO WELL! Thank you for choosing such fine examples for us.

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  59. It amazes me how a sprinkling of onomatopoeia can make a story come to life and fun to read. I need to place a hold at my library for PRICKLY HEDGEHOGS. Thank you!

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  60. I love onomatopoeia. Thanks for the great new examples. Loved them.

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  61. Thank you for this fun and informative post!

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  62. I haven't gotten a chance to read the others yet, but I loved the DRAGONS LOVE TACOS duo. I was struck by not just the onomatopoeia, but also the alliteration and repetition.

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  63. I enjoyed reading all the books you mentioned. Thank you for the reminder that onomatopoeia is fun for children to read.

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  64. Great post. I love onomatopoeia and have been trying to work it into my own projects. Thanks for the book list!

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  65. I love onomatpeia and I have a hard problem, since I'm from another country and the sounds are different. So, let's read and get some different noise words.

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  66. Emma, Thank you for your post! Onomatopoeia is super fun in read-alouds, I agree, and I love using it in my books whenever I can. Another great book that uses onomatopoeia brilliantly is "A Hippy-Hoppy Toad," by Peggy Archer and Anne Wilsdorf, which I recently discovered. If you haven't read it yet, check it out!

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  67. So much fun to use, so much fun to read!

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  68. "Onomatopoeia" is easier to create than spell, LOL! Lately, I've been working a lot with "onoma" in my very short stories (such as in Susanna L Hill's Halloweensie contest). This technique really gets the job done, when done well. And it's so much fun to play around with! Thx for these special examples to review :)

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  69. Who doesn't love Onomatopoeia?!? <3 It's the best part!

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  70. Thanks for the list! Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin's books are among my favorites for reading to classrooms! I can't wait to try the others.

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  71. I love all of Doreen Cronin's books because they are so fun to read to kids. Onomatopoeia is a fun way for kids to connect to the books. This was my first time reading A Big Mooncake with Little Star and I thought it was very sweet. My kids loved Dragons Love Tacos, also. Good choices!

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  72. Thank you for these great examples!

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  73. Terrific examples! I love onomatopoeia!

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  74. Fantastic idea to focus on! Thanks for your post. I love using sounds to enhance the texture of a story.

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  75. I love the use of onomatopoeia! Great examples, Emma!

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  76. Thank you, Emma, for sharing these great picture books that use onomatopoeia. Many of my own stories include sound words as I remember how I related to books like this as a child.

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  77. Onomatopoeias are such fun during read alouds! Kinders love them! Nice reminder to include more in my mss.

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  78. Love these! My grands discovered Egg last year, and we had it checked out for a LOONNNGGG time! Thanks for sharing great titles.

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  79. Onomatopoeia is so fun to write (and read!). Thanks for sharing some of your favorite titles!

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  80. Big Mooncake would not have occurred to me as an example of onomatopeia!

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  81. Love all the sounds! Thank you, Emma, for sharing the effects of onomatopoeia in picture books :) Fun reading!

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  82. Thanks for the suggestions. I tend to forget to add onomatopoeia when writing.

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  83. Great examples!!I love Doreen Cronin's books. Prickly Hedgehogs sounds like it will be a fun read.

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  84. Love, love, love using onomatopoeia. And it's fun to come up with my own sounds. But the idea of using it strategically for rhythm and pacing follows HIghlights' motto: Fun with a purpose.

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  85. What a wonderful reminder of the ways that we can incorporate onomatopoeia to enrich the text of picture book reading and writing. Thank you!

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  86. Looks like another trip to the library! Looking forward to reading Dragons Love Tacos and the others.

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  87. Thank you so much for these! I've been working on using more onomatopoeia in my writing, and these are great examples.

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  88. These examples have prompted me to take a closer look at using sounds in my own work. Thanks!

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  89. Thank you, Emma, I'm looking at my stories now and thinking of where and how onomatopoeia might work! And I read these examples a second time - aloud to really get the idea. I especially like the sounds in 'Click, Clack, Peep!

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  90. These are some fun examples of onomatopoeia. Thank you for sharing your insight!

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  91. Thanks Emma for the great examples. Onomatopoeia in picture books (all books) really helps draw the reader's involvement.

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  92. Thanks for the great list of books which highlight onomatopoeia. In addition to helping with pacing, it is a fun way to incorporate the senses. Can't wait to read these books as soon as they arrive at the library!

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  93. Definitely trying to incorporate onomatopoeia in my current WIP

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  94. These selections show how these few words can pack a big punch. I especially liked the pat pat pat in A Big Mooncake for Little Star.

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  95. Love sounds! Can't wait to hear today's selections.

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  96. Great post and great examples of how onomatopoeia can add bounce, suspense or just plain fun to a PB.

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  97. Thanks for sharing! Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin use onomatopoeia skillfully. I also love WATERSONG by Tim McCanna.

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  98. My son loves the word onomatopoeia. Fun words and sounds moving a story along, sometimes so subtly that everyone has fun. Thanks for sharing this.

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  99. What great examples of onomatopoeia. I loved "Dragons Love Tacos" and "Click, Clack, Peep." Such a joy to read this out loud.

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  100. I still remember the day I figured out that "poetry" and "onomatopoeia" share the same root (and the adjective form is "onomatopoetic." Love these mentor text suggestions!

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  101. I love reading books with onomatopoeia and I work to include it in all my own picture books. Emma, thanks for this post and for offering a prize!

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  102. Wonderful post! I love Onomatopoeia so much!

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  103. Great post! It’s so fun to think about the great uses of onomatopoeia!

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  104. Thanks for the suggestions, Emma!

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  105. Onomatopoeias help make a great read aloud!!
    Thank you for this post!!

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  106. LOVE Click Clack Peep! Thanks Emma :)

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  107. Dink, dink, dink goes my brain trying to think of the right words at almost midnight. Ping!
    Thank you, Emma.
    Clap, clap, clap!

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  108. Since I was a toddler yodeling Ee-Ii-Ee-Ii-Oo and belting out animal sounds during endless choruses of Old McDonald Had a Farm, I have loved onomatopoeia! These recent examples of this powerful and engaging poetic device prove its enduring magic. Thanks for reminding us to include it when it suits our writing.

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  109. Thank you for these mentor books!

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  110. Thanks Emma, for these mentor texts and for reminding me to use onomatopoeia in my stories.

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  111. The use of onomatopoeia in these stories works well because of the combined used of repetition (both using the words in groups of three and using it throughout the books).

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  112. I love how much life and fun onomatopoeia can bring to a story. My children always love listening to books that have lots of sounds they can read and imitate. Thank you!

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  113. These are such fun books to read! Thanks.

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  114. I can never remember how to pronounce or spell it, but I love onomatopoeia! Thanks for these reference books.

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  115. Onomatopoeia is so difficult to do with any originality. I have tried it several times in the PBs I've written and not always with great results (they snooze in the drawer). Thanks for these examples that do work. I've read them to see how I can improve.

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  116. Thanks for this fun list! I love the life onomatopoeia can help bring to a story.

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  117. Great post, thanks for the references.

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  118. Reading out loud is so crucial to understanding why a picture book works. These are great examples of onomatopoeia. Thanks Emma!

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  119. Yumm. Love the sound of lovely words strung together

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  120. Love! My favorite books are books that create drama, and word choice does it. :D

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  121. Thank you Emma! I just learned this big word last month and appreciate a lesson on it!

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  122. Thank you Emma for sharing these fun words for the day.

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  123. Thank you for the fun examples. These are meant to read aloud!

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  124. So much fun. Thank you for the great examples. There is nothing better than a group of elementary school kiddos chiming in on some of the repetitive phrases in the stories you included!

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  125. I love onomatopoeia in picture books- makes them an again and again pleasure!

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  126. Onomatopoeia makes a book so much fun to read aloud. Thanks for sharing such great examples.

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  127. Onomatopoeia is certainly a big reason that children ask for a book to be read over and over. Thanks for sharing these great examples.

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  128. Great examples of read-alouds. I am definitely going to keep onomatopoeia in mind when writing my manuscripts.

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  129. This was a perfectly-timed post, since I'm helping a CP on revisions today. Onomatopoeia has been a big talking point with it, lately.

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  130. Onomatopoeia is fun for the manner it plays with words and gives a tactile feeling to the sounds we hear, but I think in a way it plays an especially important role for the emerging reader. When talking to my toddler, I find that we make sounds a lot, and those are generally the “words” that she picks up first. So when authors employ monosyllabic onomatopoeia like the examples outlined in DRAGONS EAT TACO and especially EGG, it provides an access point for younger picture book readers to join in on the fun. They may not be able to read aloud an entire sentence, but I could certainly see an eager reader chiming along with their grown-up to Kevin Henkes’ repeated use of “crack crack crack”. And how cool is it in Henkes’ book how those sounds “drive the story forward” like Emma said in her post? In this way the picture book becomes a weird inversion of a radio drama, the aural sounds that we would normally hear with our ears laid out in text and yet pushing the narrative along in a similar fashion? EGG is a great example of a picture book that looks deceptively simple and one-dimensional actually being sophisticated and full of careful intention.

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  131. Onomatopoeia is a FUN-LOVING word by itself! Thanks, Emma, for focusing your discussion and mentor books on the charm and pacing that onomatopoeia creates in PB. Listening to a child read and laugh at BUZZ, BUZZ, BUZZ or CRACK, CRACK, CRACK is a delight. Valuable read-aloud mentor books! Off to the library!

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  132. I love the Onomatopoeia books. Just checked out Prickly Hedgehog and Click Clack Peep.

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  133. Can't wait to check the ones out that I've not read before! Thanks for these mentor texts!

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  134. clickety clickety clickety clack ~ scrolling down the comment track! WheW Finally smacked into the bottom! Love love love onomatopoeia! Thanks for the great examples! :)

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  135. I confess I fall hard for a book that just begs to be read aloud, and onomatopoeia rally help!

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  136. Thank you for this post on onomatopoeia. Click Clack Peep was so much fun to read!

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  137. Agree - if I can have fun reading something out loud, I feel confident my kids are going to enjoy it too! (Although my husband has now asked me to stop reading in restaurants... apparently too much fun is much too loud!)

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  138. The sound and feel of words are key to an excellent picture book for me. Thanks for the onomatopoeia mentor texts.

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  139. A rollicking read aloud is the best! Thanks for the great examples!

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  140. Thanks for highlighting these terrific sound words! Great post!

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  141. Onomatopoeia is so much fun to say and incorporate into text! It really resonates with kids and does pull them into the story. Thanks for these great examples!

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  142. I love this! The repetition, the fun of saying these phrases out loud. A great selection of books and a great note to take. Thank you!

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  143. Thanks, Emma. Your notes on each text showed me how to lookout for how onomatopoeia works in different ways. Very helpful for reading with revisions in mind.

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  144. Emma,
    Your post reminds me to always read out loud and to keep trying to use omnomatopeia whic I’ve mispelled. It’s much harder to do effectively than it looks.

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  145. Thank you Emma for this post! I am working on a book with lots of onomatopoeia right now, and this list was perfect for mentor texts! And thanks for mentioning Cronin/Leiwn books - I checked out all titles available in our library, and it was a huge help for me.

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  146. Onomatopoeia makes books irresistible, and it makes for the best read-alouds. I never thought about repetition moving the story forward though. Good insights. Thank you.

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  147. A new doc has been created for this post entitled: ONOMATOPOEIA: mentor texts. As always, feel free to add to this list here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/reforemo/onomatopoeia-mentor-texts/2363143607263313/

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  148. I love onomatopoeia in picture books. It makes the read-aloud fun

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  149. This was a very thoughtful post, thank you! I enjoyed focusing on different uses of a well-known technique.

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  150. Ooo, I'm a big fan of onomatopoeia too and haven't seen a few of these. Thanks!

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  151. Thanks for the list! I like the variety of styles and usages.

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  152. I agree! Onomatopoeia can make a story come alive! The reader can 'hear' what's going on, and participate in repeating the sounds, making for fun readaloudability!

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  153. What a fun bunch of books! Click Clack Peep is now a favorite.

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  154. Thanks, Emma. Reading onomatopoeia is so much fun. Thanks for this list to study!

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  155. I loved exploring onomatopoeia! Thank you!

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  156. I love onomatopoeia. Not spelling it though.

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  157. I especially love repetitive sounds that are predictable! Listeners are invited to participate in the storytelling.

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  158. Thanks! Onomatopoeia can be so fun.

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  159. YES! Read-aloudability! The whole purpose of a picture book is for it to be read aloud - it needs to withstand multiple readings and hold the attention of child and parent. Onomatopoeia is a great tool for achieving that. Thank you Emma!

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  160. Onomatopoeia adds excitement and movement to a story. One of my favorite literary tools!

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  161. I love the exercise of finding the right onomatopoeia as I write! A BIG Mooncake..., Click, Clack, PEEP, and Prickly Hedgehogs are favorites for this. Doreen Cronin's humor is always perfect, and Grace Lin's sweet compositions are such great mentor texts. Thank you, Emma!

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  162. Oh, I LOVED the pat, pat, pat from A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR!

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  163. These are great examples! Who doesn't love reading and writing using onomatopoeia? Just saying the word makes me laugh!

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  164. Thanks for these books, Emma. It's a hard word to say and spell but, when it's done well in picture books, it makes the story easy to love.

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  165. These are wonderful examples and I do think sounds make a book more enjoyable. Thank you for your insight.

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  166. Frank Wilson McCollMarch 28, 2019 at 7:30 PM

    These are great - thank you!

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  167. Reading sounds aloud is the best... I look forward to finding Click Clack Peep as I've not yet got my hands on it!

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  168. I love the Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin books! And Kevin Henkes... These are wonderful examples, and it's great to think about all of these together. Thank you!

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  169. I loved the use of onomatopoeia in each of the books you listed. Just brilliant! You're right - the technique is perfect for creating rhythm and building anticipation, essentials for a great read aloud. Thank you for sharing these fantastic mentor reads!

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