Friday, April 5, 2013

Hip-Hop Rhyming Dictionary by Kevin M. Mitchell

If you like to write rap lyrics and could only pick one book to be stranded on a desert island (or locked in a small institutional room) with every night for a week, you would likely want to consider Mitchell’s reference work as you make your careful selection.  This pocket-sized paperback was designed for writers on the go, weighing in at a lightweight 180 pages.  One of my favorite lines from the intro reads “Words found offensive are … left out because there are only so many trees we can slay to make this book...”  The slim profile is part of the appeal for the reluctant readers and would-be prolific writer of rhymes.  In addition to the simple-to-use format we couldn’t get enough of in Scholastic’s now out-of-print rhyming dictionary, Mitchell includes accessible and engaging front matter.  These first fifteen pages feature an intro, an explanation of how the book works, five tips for writing, a brief history of rap, and a short bibliography of recommended reading.  Teachers of literacy, ELA and creative writing will find this essential and many a Passages student has articulated a desire not to return a borrowed copy to the library.  Multiple copies strongly recommended. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Mitchell, Kevin M.  Hip-Hop Rhyming Dictionary.  Los Angeles: Firebrand Music, 2003.

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