Would You Read It Wednesday #65 – How The Bull Lost His Feathers (PB)

Busy day ahead, boys and girls!

Princess Blue Kitty (my car, if you didn’t happen to be around this summer :)) and I will be driving to the Big Apple for the Brick Church Holiday Fair, which is always an extravaganza of epic proportions!  Me, Phyllis, Woolliam, Santa – what could be more fun??? 🙂  Personally, I can hardly think of anything 🙂

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood but very cold this morning, and I am feeling significantly under-fueled for this weather, so let’s dive into something chocolate, shall we?  How about….

Photo copyright Stacy Jensen 2012 used by permission

… mmmmm… some Rocky Road Cookie Bars!  They look sustaining, don’t they?! 🙂  Also just exactly like what your mother would approve of for breakfast 🙂  (Rocky road, by definition, includes nuts, and nuts have protein which equals healthy breakfast – see how that works?)

All right.  Everyone feeling energized?  Let’s start by announcing the winner of the October Pitch Pick!  Announcing winners is such a cheerful fun thing to do!  And the winner is…

Carrie! with her pitch for Scooter Annie!

Carrie, your pitch has already been flung through cyberspace to editor Erin Molta, and we will all await her words of wisdom with great anticipation!

Onward to today’s pitch which comes to us from the lovely Kim.  Kim is “Mama” to a wonderful 8-year-old with multiple nicknames, wife of a genius, and has switched careers numerous times in her short (ha!) life. She has been passionate about picture books since her first encounter with Dr. Seuss, though it has taken her decades (don’t ask) to realize that writing them is something that she can probably do for the rest of her life.  She writes a wonderful blog over at Kid Lit Dish and is a regular participant in PPBF.  She would love it if you’d like to follow her on Twitter or like her on Face Book!

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  How The Bull Lost His Feathers
Age/Genre: PB (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: What, you say?  Bulls don’t have feathers?  Well, long ago, they did.  This is the fable of how one bull lost beautiful peacock-like feathers for himself and his descendants… forever. (Hint: It’s also why the color red will always make a bull’s temper flare.)

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

Kim is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to a fun-filled author visit at the Brick Church Fair and hanging out with Santa!  If you’re in NYC, stop by! 🙂

57 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #65 – How The Bull Lost His Feathers (PB)

  1. Patricia Nozell says:

    Congratulations to Carrie & Scooter Annie on the October pitch win!

    Kim, I would read this story as I love the idea of a fable to explain why something is the way it is (way too wordy, but nothing resembling rocky road here – unless, that is, chocolate rum balls count; not exactly breakfast food, however…). I'd like to know more about your character in the pitch, though. I'd suggest that you get rid of the first three sentences and then start your pitch with an introduction of your bull with his peacock feathers and proceed from there.

    Susanna, safe travels. It's beautiful down here today, but chilly. Crank the heat up in Princess Blue Kitty!

  2. Iza Trapani says:

    Mmm…rocky road bars… Kim's story sounds fascinating and yes I absolutely want to read it! I would like more specific detail in the pitch, though still keeping it concise. Also the line about how he lost the feathers “FOR himself…” is confusing to me.

  3. Angela Brown says:

    I love your rationalization for that breakfast choice, Susanna 🙂

    For today's pitch, I would read it. This one is a bit different as it takes a different spin on the pitch. It gives us the consequences and hints at something terrible, beguiling or sad that brought this consequence about.

  4. Kim says:

    Thanks, Angela! What's interesting is that my original idea for the “incident” that brought the consequence about is actually something funny… so I guess I should make that more clear, too, eh? I'm glad you brought that up– thanks for the feedback!

  5. Kim says:

    Thank you, Patricia! Sounds good– I will revisit this. I appreciate your advice!! (And chocolate rum balls do SO count for breakfast food… at least in the month of December!) 😉

  6. pennyklostermann says:

    Yea, Carrie!!!!

    Susanna, you could be the star of you own fable about how chocolate became its own food group. “Once there was a lonely chocolate chip who felt she didn't fit with any group. As she was wandering alone in the forest, she met a wonderful fairy godmother named Susanna, and her lovely assistant, Stacy…….”

    Kim, Your fable sounds very interesting and fun. I would read it but feel you need to start off at the point Patricia suggested. To me, that will hook readers quicker. If your bull has a name, it would be nice to include it or if you're going to just call him Bull,you may consider using that in your pitch to make us connect with the MC. I don't know that you need to mention the descendants in the pitch as it makes it wordier and doesn't seem necessary to me.

    Susanna-Safe travels to you. I'm sure Princess Blue Kitty will get you and your crew there and back safely.

  7. Kim says:

    Good thoughts, Penny! And, yes– agree on the name. In fact, Ann Whitford Paul wrote about “names” recently– she said the freelance editor she's working with told her to use more specific names (rather than “Bull” and “Dog”) because it will define the character more for the reader and they will establish themselves more as “real.” Thank you for sharing your insights!

  8. Tina Cho says:

    Have a fun time with Santa, Susanna!

    And congratulations, Carrie!!

    And Kim, yes, I'd read this fable, as it sounds quite interesting. I've never seen a pitch start that way. It does show your voice and is original! It would get the attention of a child, but I'm not sure if an agent/editor would like that style? I'm curious to find out what your other professional critiques said, which you posted on your blog.

  9. Kim says:

    Thanks, Tina! He he he… yes, I will be updating that soon! And I think years of promotional copywriting has made me write that way, but that may be a hindrance as far as kid lit goes (maybe not as far as the pitch goes, though… after all, a pitch is a pitch– both sell something!) Stay tuned to find out more! 😀

  10. Genevieve says:

    Yes! I would definitely read this. It sounds adorable. My suggestion pitch-wise is to tighten or somehow combine the first 2 sentences. I had to backtrack and read them twice before they came out right. Good luck.

    Tell Santa I said hi, Susanna.

  11. Kim says:

    Thanks, Genevieve… hmmm, it seems those first two sentences are troubling a lot of you, so I clearly need to rework! I appreciate your feedback, Genevieve!

  12. Patricia Tilton says:

    Kim, yes I would read it. Ditto with the comments on your first two sentences. Make it tighter. Sounds like a fun story for kids.

    Susanna, happy shopping in the Big Apple!

  13. Darshana says:

    Yes I am interested in reading. However I am not sure if editors/agents would go for a pitch that started off with questions.

  14. Kim says:

    Thanks, Darshana! Yes, interesting– someone else mentioned that. I wrote on my blog today that Mary Kole (kidlit.com) took a look at this exact same pitch and said… (I will be sharing that in a future blog post!) 😉

  15. Joanna Marple says:

    I'm a definite yes for this original idea, and have very similar feedback to the others. Let us know more about your protagonist and I am a little wary of questions in a pitch.

    Congratulations to Carrie.

  16. Katie Cullinan says:

    I vote yes! This sounds like a creative “origin story.” I haven't heard of any other stories about how bulls came to be, so it very much peaked my interest. I would also like a little preview of the bull (whatever his name might be).

  17. coleen patrick says:

    Yes! I happen to be partial to the “How” stories. I still have the book I wrote in elementary school called, How Mr. Pelican Got His Hat. 🙂 So love 'em.
    Also, wishing for a button on my screen that could get me those rocky road bars instantaneously. Yum.

  18. Carrie Finison says:

    Thanks Susanna and everyone who voted for my pitch! I can't wait to hear Erin's comments.

    Kim, I would read your story because I like legends and folktales that explain the natural world.

    I agree with getting rid of or tightening the first three sentences. Starting with the question is a little confusing — I had to read it a couple of times to understand what you meant. You might consider setting the scene in the first line with some variant of “once upon a time.” I just read a book that started out “once upon a mountaintop” which I thought was a nice way to modify that old standby and still give the reader a sense of the kind of story this was going to be. I would also take out the parenthesis at the end and weave that information into the pitch a bit more. Also, I think you need to make it clear whether this is your retelling of an actual folk story, or if you invented this story, and are simply telling it in the style of a folk tale.

    I read this comment about naming the character and in this case I would disagree — I think this kind of story often uses the name of the animal as a character name because they are supposed to be archtypes. My 2 cents.

  19. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    Susanna – I can never control myself with these suggestions to adorn my day with chocolate – I have been ruined already and it's only 11:40am!! Have fun in the city!
    Yes, I love folk stories, so I would read Kim's story, but if you had to pay money for each word in the pitch, I bet you'd see which ones are not worth their weight. Tighten it, but let me meet this hot-headed fella too!

  20. Kim says:

    Thankses, Katie! Yes, it's clear I need to develop this character more… it's something I struggle with in the actual PB as well!

  21. Kim says:

    Oooh, Coleen… love the title of your story! Have you looked at that lately? Could spark some new ideas! And thank you for the feedback!

  22. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Kim, I'm a yes. I like Julie R-Z's suggestion to tighten it up. I did wonder about the hint. I might assume (even though I'm not supposed to) that a story about bulls might include that, so I'm not sure it's necessary. Good luck.

  23. larissamarks says:

    Rocky road cookie bars…are you KIDDING ME?! Those are making me drool.

    Yes, I'd love to read such a wacky, fun sounding story. The title itself is already amusing and intriguing enough 🙂

  24. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Lovely chocolate temptations, Susanna!
    And congrats, Carrie…LOVE your story. 🙂
    Kim…it's a definitely YES for me…the title totally grabs me…I agree with Carrie, Julie and the others who suggested tightening up and losing the first couple of sentences. What a wonderful story this is going to be!

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you so much for your helpful comments for Kim, Penny! Princess Blue Kitty and I had an uneventful trip (if you don't count the high speed chase involving bootlegged chocolate… :)) Maybe we should have a new feature where we write fables in serial form… like Charles Dickens only likely a lot sillier :))

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Kim, I surely want to know more about when bulls had feathers…. Actually I must find out! But you mentioned in an earlier comment that it was a funny story. I didn't pick that up in the pitch so much. The pitch sounds a little like theres going to be a “lesson” taught. So you may want to dodge that bullet… Not sure. Maybe what I'm trying to say is your pitch language is very adult as opposed to sounding appealing to kids except for the first sentence. But pitches are for adults…. I have no idea what I'm doing! But yes, I DO want to read it 🙂

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