What’s to Like About Rockford: The Roundabout


Yes, Rockford has a roundabout. Just like all those other cosmopolitan cities: Melbourne, Dublin, London, Calgary, and Clearwater Beach, FL.

Designed to *calm* traffic, the roundabout is supposed to be safer, once you get used to it. And as you can see from the picture, it’s a busy, happening place. Well, no, it’s not. In fact if calm is the goal, I’d say it was long ago achieved.

I pass through the Rockford Roundabout at least twice a week and 50% of the time mine is the only vehicle there. And many of the vehicles I do see, stop. Just stop. Even when there are no other cars. Driver looks at the sign. Driver looks at the road. Driver’s face looks a lot like this…


But then, he takes a breath, and plows on through.

Which is one of the things I like about Rockford. You may have to drag some of the residents kicking and screaming into that “new-fangled circular road thingy”, but they’ll get on board eventually and even support the next one. Bring ’em on…

Coming soon to the Auburn and N. Main intersection. And it will be two lanes this time!

Roundabout photo © Karin Blaski 11/24/12, Scowling boy © Andrew Taylor

Rhyming Gets a Bad Rap


“Hubert the Lion was haughty and vain

And especially proud of his elegant mane.” ~Bill Peet

One of my favorite picture books as a child: HUBERT’S HAIR-RAISING ADVENTURE, and I still love, love, love it today. My kids will even request it as one of their pre-bedtime books.  All thirty-eight pages. Over two-thousand words. A dozen characters. And . . . it rhymes.

Rhyming picture books get a bad rap. Lots of writers and agents I’ve spoken with at conferences and corresponded with via blogs say the same thing: rhyme is a hard sell, no one likes to buy it. Some discourse on the topic can be found here and here.

It basically comes down to too much bad rhyme makes the gatekeepers wary of all rhyme. Plus, the fact it’s difficult to translate into other languages which limits potential sales. Not a good selling point for business-minded publishers.

I don’t write rhyme these days, but I do appreciate rhyme done well. I’ll even shell out my hard-earned dollar to purchase rhyming books for my family and as gifts for my friends’ kids. Some favorites over the years include: SOME DOGS DO by Jez Alborough, ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donadson, and ZIN! ZIN! ZIN! A VIOLIN by Lloyd Moss.

There’s nothing more magical than the cadence and lyricism of a beautifully illustrated, impeccably rhymed story. How about you? What are some of your favorites?

Picture 20-Nov-2012 by Karin Blaski