Would You Read It Wednesday #60 – Alpha Bitty (PB) And Straight From The Editor #12

Golly!  The days are just packed!  Remember that old commercial for Almond Joy and Mounds… sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t?  Lately I feel like a nut pretty much all the time 🙂

So, given all that nuttiness, let’s grab our something chocolate (for some reason I’m kind of feeling like an Almond Joy this morning :)) and get right down to the first item on today’s agenda: Straight From The Editor for Kimberley, the winner of the August Pitch Pick.  You will recall her pitch:

Saturdays With Fish (PB ages 4-8)

Libby and her stepdad go fishing on Saturday to leave the loud city behind and find the peace of a quiet pond. It is there they find joy as simple and warm as the sun. At the pond they fish, chat, and eat a picnic lunch without any disruptions. When Libby accidentally hooks a bullfrog, the spell may be broken. Can they find their way back to quiet?

Here are editor Erin Molta’s comments:

The sentiment to this is nice but the way you have it set up it sounds ominous—does her stepfather turn into a raging lunatic if there’s a disruption? Do all the fish disappear?
I think you need to decide what point you want to get across. Is the book about Libby and her stepfather bonding—sharing an experience that they love—or is it about the disruption and what happens after it? Finding a way back to quiet does not seem like a strong enough hook and could very well cause an editor to say she doesn’t need a quiet book. Now a book about father daughter bonding–that’s a different story. Perhaps the stepfather makes bull frog sounds or says, “mm, no trout tonight but frog legs are a delicacy” . . .something like that so the disruption only causes laughter and more enjoyment.

Very interesting and informative, don’t you think?  And I confess I’ve had the privilege of reading this story and it’s lovely – very much along the lines of what Erin was hoping for 🙂

Moving right along, we get to today’s pitch which comes to us from Linda.  Linda is a former gifted and talented teacher and the author of a number of books including the multi-award winning picture book, The Blue Roses.  Please take a moment to visit her website at www.lindaboyden.com.  Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Alpha Bitty
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-6)
The Pitch: A special tree stands on a special hill. Once a year Alpha Bitty carries her basket to pick the crop–not apples or oranges or even iPods. This tree sprouts letters. With the help of her friends, Wind, Rain and Sunshine, Alpha Bitty shares the letters with one and all so new stories may bloom.

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 Linda 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 December, so you have time to polish 🙂 for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

I was going to round out this Would You Read It extravaganza with the September Pitch Pick, but I decided that would be too much of an imposition on your time for today, so I’m going to save it for next week!  Go do something fun 🙂

Linda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to seeing you here Friday for Perfect Picture Books (I’ve got a good one! :)) and I’m hoping to have a teeny surprise ready for you… but we shall see 🙂

Have a happy Wednesday everyone 🙂

45 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #60 – Alpha Bitty (PB) And Straight From The Editor #12

  1. Cally Jackson says:

    As always, Erin's comments are very illuminating.

    In terms of Linda's pitch, my answer is a maybe. I like the idea of it but I would like a bit more info to fully capture my interest, perhaps about what some of the stories are about and/or how important the stories are to their community.

  2. Iza Trapani says:

    Susanna, I love your intro, you nut, you!
    The story sounds fascinating and I would read it. The ipod reference seems a bit forced. Otherwise I think the pitch is great.

  3. Joanna Marple says:

    Erin's comments have really helped me on a manuscript I with which I have been stuck.

    Love the name, Alpha Bitty, and I promise I didn't look at the other comments first, but, I would say a big yes, but drop the iPod, too!

  4. Tina Cho says:

    Sounds like an interesting story. I'd read it. I would delete ipod because that's limiting your story time-wise and doesn't seem to fit. How does Alpha Bitty share the letters? Maybe you can give us a tiny glimpse.
    Susanna, I was a little nutty today, too, and even munched on almonds and peanuts while revising a story!

  5. Heather Newman says:

    Yes, I would. My first thought was to delete the ipod reference and I see I'm not alone. If you're looking for something unusual for the third item after apples and oranges, maybe you could name an exotic fruit? Following the theme of fruit, but a bit unexpected at the same time. It sounds like a beautiful story and a strong image of an illustration style popped into my head just from reading the pitch. Good luck!

  6. Carrie Finison says:

    I'm a maybe on this one. I think there are some interesting ideas in the pitch — the idea of letters growing on trees and needing to be shared in order to create stories is captivating. But, from the pitch, it doesn't sound like there is a lot of character development or growth for the main character. To me, it reads more like a description of an interesting world, not a story, so it is not pulling me in as much as it might. Something needs to happen to make me want to read more — maybe the wind blew all the letters off the tree and scattered them so that no new stories could be written.

    Thanks for sharing Erin's feedback, Susanna! I like her comment about father-daughter stories — definitely not enough of those around now. That gets us thinking.

  7. Wendy Lawrence says:

    I would definitely read this–I love the idea and always like creative ways to introduce concepts to kids. The iPod line definitely threw me–I would take that out. And the “friends” being wind, rain, etc., seemed, at least in the pitch, to be a complicating element (no pun intended) to the story. My guess is that those fit into the story quite nicely, but I think they need to fit into the pitch a little better so they don't seem so random. Also, I'm generally wary of punny names…is Alpha Bitty a kid, or some kind of magical being that helps stories along? I think if she is just a kid, I might make the name slightly (but only slightly) more traditional. Love the idea, though, and just think the pitch needs to be more cohesive.

  8. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Good morning, Susanna! Loved the direction and advice editor Erin Molta gave for Kimberley's great pitch.
    I would definitely read Linda's story…LOVE the title: Alpha Bitty! And a book about a tree that sprouts letters instead of fruits is very clever and I know young children would be captivated. I do think there needs to be some conflict or problem…as Carrie suggested, perhaps a storm comes and scatters the letters. Unless, of course, it is going to become an 'alphabet' book…with Alpha Bitty searching for each letter that has been scattered and either putting them in order from A-Z or forming words with the letters as she finds them…just a thought. 🙂 And I second (or third or fourth) the removal of the iPod reference. 🙂

  9. delores @ thefeatherednest says:

    I agree with many of the others that the IPod reference could be eliminated. It's a maybe for me.

    Susanna, I just wanted to let you know that my prize package arrived today….and it is fabulous. Thank you so much.

  10. Linda Boyden says:

    Thanks, everyone who has commented. The iPod…? What was I thinking? It's a definite delete! Writing a synopsis or a pitch really rattles my brain so your comments are incredibly helpful. Now I will take my red-faced self offline.

  11. Patricia Nozell says:

    If homemade hummus counts as a nut food, I'm with you today. Erin's comments about the August pitch were so insightful – love how she keyed in on the hook in this fishing story!

    Linda's book I definitely would read. Love the image of letters being a part of nature, ready to be harvested & cooked into stories. And Alpha Bitty seems like such a delightful character. I will echo the comments about the i pad, though (even though it made me chuckle during my first read-through). And, like Erik mentioned, Linda's story reminds me of a folk tale, and I hope that it does take that direction.

  12. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    Thanks for posting Erin's comments – love it when someone can comment with pinpoint accuracy! I would read Linda's book, also because I am working on a similar idea! The MC name is witty, but for some reason it takes me back to easy-reader books from my childhood, that I was not fond of. No fault of Linda's – must have had a traumatic 1st grade experience, and silly as it may seem I had to mention it. Susanna – you can delete this if you want!

  13. Larissa Marks says:

    Yes, I'd read it. I like Alpha Bitty's name. But maybe the pitch could include some conflict that needs to get resolved? I think that might hook a reader in.

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks so much for your thoughts for Linda, Larissa! And just out of curiosity, what did you do differently to allow you to post? Maybe it will solve the problem for the others who have trouble! (she said hopefully!) 🙂

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Glad you found Erin's comments helpful, and thank you for your thoughts for Linda – I will not censor you 🙂 She can't help your first grade trauma 🙂 What happens when you see Alphabits… or alphabet soup? 🙂

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I don't know if hummus counts as a nut – it's made out of chick peas, right? which is more of a bean 🙂 But we don't discriminate around here. If hummus makes you feel nutty, than a nut you shall be! 🙂 Thanks for your comments for Linda, and glad you found Erin's thoughts helpful!

  17. Stina Lindenblatt says:

    The first paragraph of Erin's feedback made me laugh.

    It's so different writing log line for PB verses YA. It's seems easier to get the tension in a pitch for YA.

  18. Larissa Marks says:

    Susanna, I commented with my laptop, and Disqus seemed to work just fine. Yay!

    My previous comment(s) was via my iPhone. No Discus, just the Blogger commenting system. The comment page asked me to log in with Google, WordPress, anonymous, etc. (I used Google), and required a captcha. It then said my comment would need to be okayed by the site administrator.

    Hope this helps clear up some of your commenting woes!

  19. Angela Brown says:

    My work computer can be a stinker sometimes. It refused to let me comment. The nerve! So now at home I want to say that yes, I would read this book. It sounds like Alpha Bitty and her friends have quite the time ahead of them in sharing the alphabets from the trees.

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you, Larissa – very helpful. What I don't know is why sometimes Disqus shows up and works and other times it either doesn't show up (as happened to you) or shows up and doesn't work! Ah, technology!

    Larissa Marks wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Susanna, I commented with my laptop, and Disqus seemed to work just fine. Yay!
    My previous comment(s) was via my iPhone. No Discus, just the Blogger commenting system. The comment page asked me to log in with Google, WordPress, anonymous, etc. (I used Google), and required a captcha. It then said my comment would need to be okayed by the site administrator.
    Hope this helps clear up some of your commenting woes!

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  21. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I'd say yes.I guessed by the title it involved the alphabet. The iPods distracted me (or it could be the toddler pulling on my sleeve). Sounds like a fun story. I love the line “so new stories may bloom.”

  22. Kirsten Larson says:

    Cinderella is late to the ball again. Is it Thursday already? I would read this book. I think the pitch is excellent. The only recommendation I have is to reconsider the word “special” in relation to the hill and tree. Can you think of another adjective that would tell us more about the hill and tree and why they are special?

  23. Sharron says:

    First, I'm glad you realize life is nutty. I can't seem able to post a comment for Wednesday's fun on Wednesday! Drives me nutty. *g*

    I love Erin's comments on Fish. Really gives me a better understanding of how to look at my own pitch.

    Linda's pitch seems spot on. I really like it and I want to read it now!

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Wait. You can't comment Wednesday, but you can comment after that? That IS nutty! The whys and wherfores of this blog elude me 🙂 Glad you found Erin's comments helpful, and thanks for your thoughts for Linda!

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