Would You Read It Wednesday #67 – Surprises Await (PB)

Wait until you hear this!  I have reached new heights of fame!

Why, you ask?

Because today I am a guest at By Word Of Beth, the wonderful blog of the lovely Beth Stilborn.  I am so honored that she invited me, so I hope you all might find a minute or two to go and visit her!  (Just, if you go now, don’t forget to come back here and help Katie with her pitch – remember, we have chocolate over here :))

I don’t know about y’all, but after a festive Thanksgiving week, I find myself quite behind in my work!… and it only promises to get worse as Christmas approaches!  So I have decided not to fight it.  I’m going to go with the flow and do the best I can and not worry.  (Well, okay, if we’re being honest, that’s pretty much impossible – who do I think I’m kidding? 🙂 – but I’m hoping if I write it down maybe I’ll convince myself :))

How’s everyone else doing?  Are you all abreast of your work or are you like me – always playing catch up? 🙂

Just thinking about everything on my to-do list today is making me feel a little peaked.  I think it’s time for Something Chocolate!  May I offer you some chocolate turtle cookies?

photo copyright Stacy Jensen 2012 used by permission

And shall we have a look at our pitch?

Today’s pitch comes to us from Katie.  Katie writes picture books and MG novels, is a puppeteer! (how cool is that?!), and is a stay-at-home mom to her 2 yr. old daughter and 5 yr. old son.  She can be found at her Website, or at A Life Spent Reading, the blog she writes with her critique partner.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Surprises Await
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: The trip to Grandma’s house takes forever. Time drags on, and there isn’t enough to do, until a seven-year-old boy discovers an amazing sight. Beautiful hot air balloons fill the sky. Suddenly, this trip may not be so boring after all.

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 Katie 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!

Katie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to checking at least a few things off my to-do list!

Have a great day, everyone, and if you didn’t click over to Beth’s yet, take a cookie for the road and head on over 🙂

62 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #67 – Surprises Await (PB)

  1. Angela Brown says:

    I saw your interview over at Beth's. Really enjoyed it 🙂
    As for the would you read it, I would, however, for the purpose of the pitch, I wonder if the character is nameless on purpose or if he has a name. If he does, it's a good idea to include it and may want to start the pitch with the name and age and that the trip to grandma's house is boring then switch to the change that makes the trip more of an adventure.

  2. Katie Cullinan says:

    Thanks for your comments, Angela!
    The story is in first person, and the name is never mentioned. Do you think giving him a name makes it easier to identify with, or does it not matter?

  3. Stina Lindenblatt says:


    Since I don't read PBs anymore, I wouldn't read it. But I might have back when I did read them. It would depend on the illustrator (which has nothing to do with the pitch).

  4. Wendy Lawrence says:

    I would read it! We do lots of road trips in my family, so I like that idea. I would like to know more though. So far, I'm not sure which direction the book will take: will it be fantasy–is he doing to fly off on one of those balloons in his imagination? or will it be more realistic and show a boy spotting neat things on the side of the road as they drive, maybe encouraging kids to play games and be observant? or something else entirely? Maybe there could be one more sentence or a slight hint?

  5. Pamela Courtney says:

    I'd read the book. I can imagine the boy's excitement upon seeing the sky dotted with colorful balloons! I'm excited thinking about it myself. The contrast of time dragging for a bored, 7 yr. old and the excitement of seeing balloons is a great idea. Using more energetic descriptions could cement the contrast. To mention that time drags and it takes forever may not be necessary to repeat. I think somehow mentioning the boy being bored at the beginning would connect better to his excitement of the balloons at the end. I know your book is a fun read!

  6. Shar says:

    I would read it! I'm curious about those hot air balloons. I know hot air balloons are only as fast as the wind blows, so I wonder if the balloons happen to be blowing in the same direction as his travels or if there are so many balloons in the sky he can see them during the entire trip. Sounds like a very interesting story.

  7. Pamela Courtney says:

    I'm back to get more of those delicious cookies. Stacy's gonna have to blog a video journal of preparing these yummy delights and our responses to her treats. I also came back to say I loved your interview over at Beth's. We greatly appreciate ALL that you do for our kidlit community. You've been a blessing. Please know that. I'll gush more on your upcoming bloggerversary.

  8. pennyklostermann says:

    The mention of hot air balloons piqued my interest. To me, Pam's suggestions would be excellent for improving your pitch.

    Loved your interview at Beth's place, Susanna!!! And, yes, I am feeling like I have way too much to do, but am hoping I can go with flow, too!

    Stacy…those chocolate turtle cookies look extremely yummy!

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Aw, thanks Pam! I truly appreciate it! 🙂

    Pamela Courtney (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    I'm back to get more of those delicious cookies. Stacy's gonna have to blog a video journal of preparing these yummy delights and our responses to her treats. I also came back to say I loved your interview over at Beth's. We greatly appreciate ALL that you do for our kidlit community. You've been a blessing. Please know that. I'll gush more on your upcoming bloggerversary.

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your comments for Katie, Penny, and for your kind words about the interview – I'm glad you liked it. We can go with the flow together 🙂 Say it with me… “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… ” 🙂 Have another cookie 🙂

  11. Katie Cullinan says:

    Thanks for your comments, Wendy. Not only do you give me some things to think about for the pitch, it also gives me some ideas for the story itself. Thanks!

  12. Linda Boyden says:

    I'd read it, having raised my 3 in rural Nevada where looooong car trips were part of daily life! The hot air balloons would capture the eyes of most kids. Brilliant!

    Loved reading about your blogging history, Susanna. You are a genuine gift to the world of children's literature.

  13. Joanna Marple says:

    I'm a 'maybe' she mumbles through the cookies. I personally would definitely name the boy rather than give his age, it immediately makes it more personal. I think the pitch could be made a wee bit more concise… maybe 'Bored by the seemingly endless journey to grandma's house, Sam suddenly spot beautiful air balloons filling the sky and ……” I would also consider a more specific title. I love the thought of the air balloon illustrations.

  14. Elizabeth Rose Stanton says:

    I really enjoyed your interview on Beth's blog. I felt an immediate connection when I read, “I went to some very good schools and eventually earned graduate degrees in a field I ended up not pursuing for very long because what I really wanted to do was to be a mom and a writer.” Substitute “writer” for “illustrator” and that would be me 🙂 Your blog is amazing, too! As for the pitch–yes, the notion (vision) of hot air balloons make my right brain light up 🙂 Oh, and the sight of those cookies make ALL my senses light up! 😉
    Thanks for a very good morning down the rabbit hole (internet)!
    PS I'm ALWAYS playing catch up!

  15. Patricia Tilton says:

    Yes, I would read it. Car trips can seem like forever, but it needs some work. Joanne and others have made some very good suggestions. The pitch doesn't have enough action in it. Although I love the idea of the balloons at the end. Think this is an easy fix with all of the suggestions given.

    Susanna, enjoyed the interview on Beth's blog. Happy 2nd anniversary!

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview, and I'm glad we are apparently kindred spirits on so many levels 🙂 Thank you for your comments for Katie. Do you have a blog/portfolio? Your name seems so familiar…. I will have to come check 🙂

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I beat you to it and I'm already following your blog 🙂 I LOVE your art! Those little piggies, and that mouse in the teacup – just reach-right-out-and-touch-them gorgeous! I'm thinking you have books illustrated… just don't know what they are!

    Elizabeth Rose Stanton wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:


    Hope you can stop by 🙂 Thanks again!

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  18. Elizabeth Rose Stanton says:

    Susanna! You are so kind 🙂 My debut PB “Henny” is due out in the spring of 2014 (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). Stay tuned!! 🙂 🙂

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I certainly will! 🙂

    Elizabeth Rose Stanton wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Susanna! You are so kind 🙂 My debut PB “Henny” is due out in the spring of 2014 (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books). Stay tuned!! 🙂 🙂

    Link to comment
    IP address:

  20. Carrie Finison says:

    I'm a maybe on this one. I like the premise, but the pitch doesn't make it sound like enough happens to make a full story.

    I think the title could hint more at the content of the story. It really could be about anything right now. The Balloon Surprise? The Hot-Air Surprise?

    Also, I would name the character in the pitch — and seven seems a bit old for the way the story is described. Maybe make the character younger — 4 or 5?

    The first two sentences seem a bit repetitive and could be more specific, e.g. On the long trip to Grandma's house, Ethan does (X,Y and Z). But the trip STILL isn't over and Ethan is restless.

    I think we also need a hint at what the main character DOES to make the trip more interesting. Do they stop the car? Ride in a balloon? Simply seeing balloons out the window doesn't seem like the MC solving his own problem.

  21. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    The pitch may be trying to convey how he is feeling, like time has stood still, but it is not enticing me to pick up the book. If, on the other hand, he is feeling antsy, I'd like to know! At this point I'm not sure if he learns to enjoy the scenery or if he will start whining! Let us know!

  22. Theresa Milstein says:

    It would be great to see the boy use his imagination here. From the premise, it sounds like he's stumped until hot air balloons save the day. Tighten the beginning and maybe give a hint that the balloons inspire a bout of creativity. Do they wonder whose on them? Where they're going? What follows the sight? Good luck!

  23. delores @ thefeatherednest says:

    My mouth is full of cookies so please ignore the muffled mumbling. I think the hot air balloons will likely make for an interesting story so I would probably pick it up to read. The pitch could maybe be a little more exciting….maybe give the lad a name….another boring trip to grandma's house but wait…what's that up in the sky?

    Um….thanks for the cookies.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s