Dear to Rhyme or Not to Rhyme…
Children’s book editors do have a high bar when it comes to rhyming manuscripts. “A LOT of work,” eh? In that case, I say that since you’re just as happy with the idea of a non-rhyming version, go with that option. Strive for fabulous rhythm, structure, and fun-in-the-mouth word choice. That’ll give you the read-aloud quality you’re probably aiming for, but without the challenges inherent in trying to tell a story while maneuvering the rules of rhyme. You use the word “strategic.” Alternatively, you could indulge your excitement about mastering meter, nail the rhyming version, and then submit that rhyming manuscript after you’ve placed a different project with an editor. Lots of writers use the strategy of submitting their tougher-to-place projects after their foot is in the door.