Poetic techniques in a PB

I’ve always been a fan of figurative language. Ahh…the alliteration, assonance, consonance….I just can’t get enough of it.

One of my all-time favorite picture books is Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra and when I finally broke it down and analyzed its poetic techniques, I realized why.


Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf

by Judy Sierra

The story begins with Miss Wonderly inviting the Big Bad  Wolf to the library to tell the story of how he met the three little pigs. But, when he does, not everyone agrees with his version of the story.


Judy Sierra uses figurative language, repetition, and rhyme to enhance the story and even includes references other stories to add humor.  The lines in this book are so fun to read and so clever – making Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf a poetic playground!

Here are just a few of the great lines filled with alliteration, assonance, consonance, and a bit of rhyme. (there were too many examples to feature, so I skipped a few)
“At the library, Miss Wonderly led B.B. Wolf to a cozy chair in the story corner.  B.B. started off with a song.”

Wrong!” squeaked a little voice. Your middle name is B-A-D”

Song, and Wrong and little and middle add a  nice rhythm through rhyme.

Later the wolf says,
“All of a sudden, I smelled smoke. I followed my nose and found another little piggy playing with matches next to a pile of sticks.”

Then to add some humor (especially for the adult reader) Pinocchio remarks,
“Isn’t that wolf’s snout getting longer?” which is funny since the wolf is obviously lying.

And even more humor, when the Little Engine exclaims, “I think it is. I think it is.”

And there’s repetition, where the pigs repeatedly oink, “Tell the Truth B.B. Wolf!”

After the wolf tells the truth he vows to change his name,
“ ’Goodness gracious!’ exclaimed B.B. Wolf. ‘I need a new middle name, don’t I?’ He snagged a dictionary from the library shelf and pawed through the pages.”

And later,
“ ‘That’s it! said the wolf. ‘From this day forward I am the one and only Big Bodacious Benevolent Bookish Wolf. In fact, I’ll borrow some books right now.”

And (in an awesome line) assonance..
“ ‘ Toodle-oo! He called to the three pigs.’ See you in a few weeks!’ “

And in the end,

“ ‘Friends,’ said the former menace, ‘it’s not enough for me to say I’m sorry. I have to prove it and repair my reputation. Here is your very own piggyback mansion.’ ”

I love this book more than I did before – the figurative language used in Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf is fabulous!!!!


Love that Line


“Time to Cook? I’m too tired. I am so-o-o uninspired – ‘cause my plan to catch monkeys completely backfired.”



by Judy Sierra

With its frolicking rhyme and fast paced tempo, this story moves Mr. Crocodile’s day along quickly, until, this line brings it to a halt. The way you breathe and pause when you read this line signals the change in the direction of the story. Game-changing!