These Rhymes Are NOT Too Rich For Children

Syllable Soup2This is a sampling from Syllable Soup, Guy Incognito’s first book, and in many ways the story that started it all.

I don’t believe there is such a thing as “too rich for children,” and had I not been told that there was, this whole adventure would have been very different. I’m grateful for the rejection, and the journey that followed.

The book itself has a lot of longer rhymes, but I kept the selections short, except for the title poem “Syllable Soup” at the end.

There’s no one else quite like you. You truly are unique.
Thoughts inside your head and words inside your speak.
Only you (and no one else) could ever be so rare,
No single soul in this world ever could compare.
Remarkable and special, specific peerless, too.
Singular, exclusive, distinctive that is YOU.
But here’s the thing (I hope you know that this is said in fun),
Yes, you are unique of course, but so is EVERYONE.

The sun is sad, the moon is mad.
The clouds (of course) are crying.
The day is dim, all gray and grim.
I do not feel like trying.
But it’s okay, not every day
Can be an all-day treat.
If no hour’s ever sour,
You’ll never know the sweet.

If you can hold an infant from her cry,
Or keep the birds down from the sky,
Slow tornadoes, cool the sun,
Make cheetahs walk and penguins run,
Melt the moon then make it rain,
Render sunset to a stain,
Well, maybe then I might accept
That won’t and try could intersect.

Our words are so precise,
Indifferent, mean, or nice.
Beware your tone when not alone
The wrong one has a price.

Uh-oh and oh-no, I’m on overload.
My head, packed and bulging, is about to explode
I’ve too much on my mind, too much on my plate.
It’s like Thanksgiving Dinner when I’ve already ate.
Big, giant sigh, I’ll take time to exhale,
Set out on these seas, hold wind in my sail.
Nothing will stop me or stand in my way.
I’ll grind through the obstacles, conquer this day.
One step at a time, I’ll keep my feet walking,
My mind on the move and my mouth on the talking.
When the sun finally sets, I’ll be finished and then
I’ll be ready to wake up and do it again.

Knowledge and wisdom — not quite the same,
Though plenty of people will flip-flop the name.
Knowledge is data, wisdom is living.
Facts are unyielding, life is forgiving.
You strengthen your body by working it out.
Work out your mind and your wisdom will sprout.
Make some mistakes, fall on your face,
Then stand up and walk at a far faster pace.
Mistakes are the bricks building life’s towers taller.
Without them (I’m sorry) success will be smaller.
You learn when you do and then you can do more,
Better and faster than ever before.
Answers are easy, it’s questions that matter.
Make you think in a way so your brain can grow fatter.
You can be smart and search for solutions,
But wisdom will wield for your mind resolutions.

I hope you enjoy them, and will share if you do.
For some people, words are like water
That flows from a furious spout.
Others like lingering silence.
It’s quiet they can’t live without.
Sometimes, I chit and I chatter
Like a nest filled with boisterous birds.
But I should know that my silence
Sometimes is louder than words.

Syllable soup is not sour or sweet,
No chunky vegetables, no floating meat.
There are terms and expressions, from message to motto,
Enunciated nouns and verbs with vibrato.
There are plenty of adjectives and probably some slang,
At least if you’d like your soup to have tang.
Would you care to make some? Anything goes!
Gather ingredients and write them in rows.
Mean what you say and say what you mean.
To create quintessential communication cuisine.
Let’s get our soup started, the syllables are hot.
Decide on your words and then fill up the pot.
Now start the stirring, let the flavors all change.
A good hearty soup should have sounds that are strange.
But you must be careful. Do not over spice.
Words should enhance, invite and entice.
Though all words are free, some have a cost.
Some are not simple, so your reader gets lost.
The stovetop’s the page, the chef is the writer.
Who chooses the words to make stories burn brighter?
Syllable soup is a scrumptious delight,
When the cook stirs in all the syllables right.
Never too many and never too few,
Make the syllable soup that’s inside of you.
What’s that you say, you’d like a sample?
How about instead I just cook an example?
Seems fair enough — sometimes once we see,
Then our hearts and our minds and our spirits agree.
Let’s start with a word that’s been pummeled to pulp.
Drop it into the soup and get ready to gulp.
Your teachers have probably all said, “Said is dead!”
But said is not dead, it’s like butter to bread.
Or syllables to soup — I’ll explain what I mean.
Your teacher just meant that “said” shouldn’t be seen.
Said is a word that has only one sound,
No matter how you inspect it or spin it around.
Yet how many ways can you also say said?
I have so many examples inside of my head!
Speak, utter, voice; pronounce or reply,
Your hero could exclaim, or opine, or cry.
Or maybe declare, recite or disclose,
But a rose by another name is still just a rose.
When you find yourself searching for perfect ingredients,
Don’t settle for the sound that seems most expedient.
There is no substitution for that one perfect word,
That gets the page read and your stories all heard.
There is music to language, each word has a beat,
To get you nodding your head and tapping your feet.
Each word has a sound, some short and some long,
They are notes in the verse of a sentence’s song.
Choose each one wisely, place them all in a group,
And share a savory spoon full of syllable soup!


About Sean Platt

Sean Platt is an author entrepreneur, founder of Sterling & Stone, and co-founder of the Collective Inkwell and Realm & Sands imprints. Follow him on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook.


  1. I like these quite a bit. I think they’d be great for kids in the middle schoolish ages right on up.

  2. Absolutely wonderful!

    I’m thankful these were rejected, but how could they?
    Every word beg to be illustrated <3

  3. OMG Wow! I LOVE Syllable Soup. Can I share it (and of course a link to the whole book) on my blog for my NaNoWriMo peeps? I don’t care that it’s written for kids, it’s AMAZING for adults, especially writers. 🙂

  4. Cathy Pelham says:

    I love these rhymes. You have captured the beauty of words. If I never write words that flow in such a lovely manner, at least I can read your poems. Thanks Sean

  5. Danielle Corley says:

    I usually roll my eyes when someone uses the word “craft” because it sounds pretentious. But the words you’ve selected to carve out these ideas demonstrate excellent craftsmanship. I’m so impressed! I had no idea you were a poet.

    This is the first product I’ve purchased from your company beyond information about publishing and marketing. (How’s that for a strange funnel?!) I just bought the paperback version of this book. After I read it, I’ll probably get a few copies for teacher gifts. I think it’s a great way to elevate the conversation with children in terms of ideas and vocabulary.

    One website thought, maybe make that link open a new tab or window so I don’t have to leave your site and click the back button a few times to return? I’m inspired to shop all over the site now.

    See ya at the conference!

  6. JT, Your rhymes are very cool, insightful and fun. I enjoyed reading them aloud to my wife and young children. Your poetic stories are a nice blended homage to Shel and Seuss!
    All the best,
    Larry Blomberg

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