Would You Read It Wednesday – The 37th Pitch… And A Challenge!… With A Prize :)


I moseyed on over to my blog to write today’s post and everything looks totally different and unfamiliar!  We’re not in Kansas anymore!

What happened to blogger?

I guess this is that new format they’ve been threatening and I’ve been avoiding.


Let’s just hope this post goes up the way it’s supposed to!


First things first.  Your friend and mine, Phyllis, cutest and fuzziest of all groundhogs, is still on tour.  Wonderful, amazing, awesome people are still hosting her and putting up terrific posts about her visits.  So if you have a second, please hop over and see what kind of high jinx and shenanigans she got up to with Saba in Washington!

Next, I’d like to throw out a challenge to all of you – and this is for everyone because you don’t have to be a writer to do this.  In fact, some of you teachers might be really good at this!

It has come to my attention that I’m very bad at distilling picture books (or any other books for that matter) down to the nitty-gritty of their themes.  So for anyone who would like to take pity on me (and I’m guessing there are a fair number of others out there who could benefit from this as well :)) please be so kind as to give the title of a well-known picture book in the comments today along with a few words or a sentence that crystalize the theme of the book.  You may also do the plot if you want, but it’s really the theme I’m interested in.

So, for example, what the flinging’-flangin’ heck is the theme of Fancy Nancy?  Pinkalicious?  I Want My Hat Back?  I mean something like “love conquers all” or “if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying”… that kind of thing.  Gosh.  They sound like proverbs.  Is that how this works?  You can see I need help 🙂  So PLEASE help!  For every book you put with a theme in the comments below today or tomorrow, I will put one entry into random.org and then on Friday, during Perfect Picture Books, I will give one lucky winner a copy of the brand new and fabulous Puzzled By Pink (of which I also can’t state the theme) by Sarah Frances Hardy!!!

See how this works?  My desperation equals a great exercise for you and the possibility of an awesome book! 🙂  Nice, no?

Third, by popular demand, we will be doing one (or possibly a couple) of Q&A posts with editor Erin Molta, so if you have questions for her, please get them to me ASAP, either in the comments or by using that handy Email Me button over there on the right 🙂

Now then.  Time to get down to business.  Would You Read It business, that is.  Today’s pitch comes to us from Anna who has a background in teaching and strives to entertain and teach children about different cultures in her writing.  (I believe this book has been self-published, but Anna is still hoping to strengthen her pitch for marketing purposes.)


Working Title:  A Bug Who Needs A Hug
Age/Genre: Picture Books (ages 2-7)
The Pitch:  A Bug Who Needs A Hug is about a fuzzy little bug that goes out into the forest looking for someone to hug. The vivid and colorful illustrations in the book emphasize the importance of friendship and leave a positive message for children at the end of the story.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Anna improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)
Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in early July – not that far away! – so go ahead and send your pitch for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!
Anna is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!
And I am looking forward to your succinct statements of picture book themes and your questions for Erin!
Have a happy Wednesday everyone! 🙂
Wait!  Stop the presses!  I forgot to say that if anyone hasn’t had a chance to read Monday’s interview with Lisa Thiesing and enter the awesome book giveaway, there is still time!  Hop on over!

84 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday – The 37th Pitch… And A Challenge!… With A Prize :)

  1. Leigh Covington says:

    I'm finally starting to figure out the new blogger layout, but I switched over a while ago. I actually like it now, but it was so weird at first. So don't worry – you'll get the hang of it!

    On the pitch… love the idea. The pitch isn't really doing it's job though. First, does this bug have a name? Ex: Leo is a ladybug who is blue because… when Leo ventures out to find a hug….
    You get the idea. Give us details about this cute little bug and why he/she's looking for a hug. What does the bug encounter, etc. 🙂

  2. Rena J. Traxel says:

    Maybe. The title draws me (because I want to know why the bug needs a hug) but your pitch does not draw me in. Tell me something that makes me care about this bug or tell me something about the creatures he/she meets. Tell me something that makes me want to hear about this bugs adventure. Give me hint of the trouble or conflict he comes up against. As others have said I don't need to hear about the illustrations as I can look at the book cover for that. I hope this helps and good luck with your book.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for you comment for Anna, and I KNOW – this theme thing is tricky! Don't worry about your question – it will come to you… And Erin's posts won't go up right away – she's busy, so there's a little time 🙂

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    YES! You've got it exactly right, Beth, and these are fabulous! You are totally good at this! Thanks so much for sharing and for articulating what theme is so well! And also thanks for your helpful comments for Anna!

  5. Cathy Mealey says:

    I had to dig out our Fancy Nancy books and think for a while so I am late to post. I always identify with the very practical looking and acting mom in those books (wonder why???) and I think the general theme there is: Be True to Yourself. Or even Just Be Yourself.

    As for “I Want My Hat Back” – perhaps Honesty is the Best Policy. LOL – I enjoyed thinking about themes with you SLH!

  6. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Hahaha…yes, Sorry is the title (out of print)…a misunderstanding between two brothers becomes a long-standing feud that lasts for over 6 decades. Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with this…maybe I will review this book for PPBF soon. 🙂

  7. Caryn Caldwell says:

    I actually haven't read any of those three books because my daughter isn't quite ready for them, but I'll take a stab anyway, based on what I've heard about them: Be yourself.

    And here's one for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus: Tantrums don't work. (Hmm. Maybe my daughter and I need to read this one just a few more times…)

  8. Julie Hedlund says:

    I found the pitch to be a little too vague for me to want to read it. Let us know more about this little bug and WHY he wants a hug, etc. Cute title though!

    Theme of Fancy Nancy = Be yourself
    Theme of Pinkalicious = Be true to yourself
    Theme of I Want My Hat Back = I have no earthly idea
    Theme of When Sophie Gets Angry = Anger is a normal and manageable emotion

  9. Penny Klostermann says:

    The pitch for me is a maybe. I read through the comments below and think if you take all the great suggestions and think them through that you will come up with the perfect pitch (and then you can sing it…sorry couldn't resist with the perfect pitch thing).

    Themes are so tough for me. So much so that just this week I bookmarked this sight to hopefully help me with my writing. I was doing a Google search for universal childhood themes and found this-
    http://writinginwonderland dot blogspot dot ca/2011/04/universal-themes-or-concepts dot html

    In fact, when I pick my themes for PPBF, I go to your list of Perfect Picture Books and scroll down to see if I think one fits…in other words I cheat! And now everyone knows 🙂 I know there is a theme for that “Cheaters Never Win…but they do get their PPBF post categorized”.

    On a serious note, it is really hard! Some are obvious, like
    Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed-Be yourself
    A Visitor For Bear-Friendship
    But the hard ones evade me, too.

  10. Miranda Paul says:

    First, my comment on the pitch: Maybe or probably, but not a definite yes. First of all, play on how it sounds while read aloud. Do you need the word “little?” Bugs are small. And the “positive message at the end of the story” seems to me like doctored up language for “I plopped a moral on the last page,” something (from my understanding) that will make some editors cringe. It probably doesn't read that way, but your pitch sets it up to sound like that.

    Lastly – I have to say here, I think is being referring to as “theme” is not actually theme. Susanna, you're looking for the message, moral, or lesson or these books, correct (an imperative)? I think Joanna's comment hit “theme” on the head – more of a subject or topic – at least the way we teach it in HS English curriculum. Themes are shared among many, many books of all genres. A specific message, moral, or lesson to be picked up on, however, is more of an “imperative” – like wise words of advice or even a command. And that, I think, is what you're looking for, Susanna?

    Now, am I totally confused or are we all confused together??

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Well, I was reading in a few different places (which of course I didn't write down so I'll have to go find them if you want to know) that a statement of theme is different from a statement of plot, and different from the topic/subject of the book. It does refer to the underlying message – the universal concept that makes it appealing to readers – and as a writer, you should be able to verbalize it in a sentence. But clearly I am confused… hence the reason I asked this to begin with! 🙂

  12. IzzyBaer says:

    Thank you for your comment, I think when I wrote my pitch for the book I was writing more as an illustrator. I have learned that this book sells after someone sees the illustration on the front of the book. The fuzzy little character melts peoples hearts and they buy it. However, if I read the pitch only without seeing the front cover I would hesitate to buy it too!

  13. IzzyBaer says:

    I would like to say thank you for everyone's comments. I am sorry for the late entry. I have been taking care of my daughter-in-law, Laily, since late March in Florida. I am from Houston. She has been in and out of the hospital for gestational diabetes and early contractions. She is expecting identical twin girls. She is now 32 weeks long. Yee haw! The doctors want her to at least get to 37 weeks if possible.

    I am going to do my best to reply to everyone's comments today while Laily is taking her afternoon nap.

    Thanks again for your comments I appreciate it.

  14. Anna Church says:

    Leigh, the little bug gets his name at the end of the book. His name is Hug-A-Bug.
    Thanks for your comments I will take it into consideration when I revise it.

  15. Anna Church says:

    Thank you Miranda, Penny, Julie, Cally, Rena, Leigh, Robyn, Beth, Sharon, Stina, Kirsten, Coleen, Tiltonph, Jarmila, Vivian, Catherine, Angela, Heather, Laura, Delores, Erik, Joanna, Stacy, Hannah and Randy, each of your comments are appreciated and have given me much to think about. (I think I am going to concentrate on the 5 w's.)
    I am going to take another stab at this.
    “A Bug Who Needs A Hug”
    A lonely, fuzzy, little bug realizes he is different from all the other bustling bugs around him, so he takes a journey through the forest and meets up with other little critters. While on his adventure will he find someone to hug?

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