Would You Read It Wednesday #88 – Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom (PB)

Bonjour, mes amis!  It’s Mercredi, so let’s have some pain au chocolat!!  (I know… you guys always forget how multi-lingual I am 🙂  But really, you just heard all my French right there :))

So, petit déjeuner? (Oh, except that 🙂  Who knew?)

Mmmmm, that’s good!  Kind of puts you in the mood for a picture book pitch, doesn’t it?  Luckily, I have one for you right here!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Rita, whom you may all remember from last year for her part in the mini-series on self-publishing as well as for her pitch for Elephant And Dolphin last June.  Living in Malta but raised in the New York City, Rita Antoinette Borg has written seven picture books and an anthology. The picture books are mostly in bilingual Maltese- English format. But her newest book is Meg The Egg and you can buy it on Amazon in English. She loves being a writer more than her previous jobs as dog walker, rubber band counter and airline ground hostess. She is a mother of three, married to a doctor, and searching hard for a new dog to love.

Her website is www.ritaborg.us. Look her up on facebook.
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch: A picture book for ages 3-7 about a street rat that is always hungry. When anyone sees him they all scream and want to grab him. But one day he enters a food factory with caged animals ready to be eaten. Freddie, the owner of the place, tries to capture Roberto. But Roberto is much more clever and rescues the other animals making him hero of the day.

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 Rita 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 July so you have a little time to polish your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Before you all race off to your Wednesdays, may I beg desperately on my knees politely and not at all pushily ask anyone who hasn’t voted in the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest to head over HERE and vote?  I wasn’t kidding when I said the competition was fierce.  We need votes!  The poll will be open until noon tomorrow (Thursday.)

Rita is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who will win the Can’t Sleep Without Sheep Jingle Contest!!!  How many minutes until Friday????

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

41 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #88 – Nobody Loves Roberto A. Tailbottom (PB)

  1. delores @ thefeatherednest says:

    Not so sure I would read a story to a three year old about people keeping animals in cages to be eaten. That might be a little too much information too soon.

  2. Theresa Milstein says:

    The misunderstood rat, like Ratatouille. I think having a story with animals being eaten is pretty tough. Though kids who grow up on farms would understand this reality. We've just gotten so removed from our food supply. I could see this being an option for vegetarian and vegan parents too.

  3. Wendy says:

    Pain au chocolat? Mais oui!

    As for the pitch–it sounds like a chapter book to me. The tone sounds grittier than I expected for a picture book. That may not be true of the story, but that's how the pitch comes across to me. The title sounded funny and I like it, but the pitch doesn't match.

  4. Monette says:

    I live next door to a place that sells sandwiches and pastries so after seeing your pain au chocolate, I feel like stepping out getting what comes closest to it!

    The pitch reminded me of Ratatouille at first but only because Roberto is a rat, I suppose. Sounds exciting and I'd love to see how the story turns out but it does sound more like a children's book with pictures and not really a picture book for very young children. Maybe for older readers it will work–it does sound like it will be quite the adventure!

  5. Linda Boyden says:

    Yes, I'd read it. I like the title/name. Grabbed my attention. And like the ending where Roberto saves the caged animals. I also think the subject matter would work better with older kids. Am very curious to see how you do this, Rita! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Teresa Robeson says:

    Oh great…now I want to try making pain au chocolate too! I've looked at the recipe before and have alway wanted to try it one day. 🙂

    The pitch itself is written perfectly! Based on just the pitch, I'd say I'd read the book. But, I agree with Wendy that it didn't sound like a PB to me. In fact, it reminds me of “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” which is a MG novel. While I think it could be pulled off as a PB, it would take a very skilled illustrator to make it not too frightening.

    My other thought is that people who rehab predatory animals like owls, hawks, exotic felines sometimes need live rats (and dead ones) to feed these animals. There is nothing wrong with that because that's just how the food chain works in nature. I think handled deftly, this will be a good allegorical tale about things humans do that are wrong, but I would hate for kids to come away with the idea that we can impose our sense of morality on other carnivores.

  7. Rosi says:

    I agree with what has been said. It's an interesting story idea, but I would be reluctant to read this to little children. I would think middle-grade would be a great fit for this story.

  8. Janet Johnson says:

    Man, that pain au chocolat looks TEMPTING! Yummm . . . *drool*
    Okay, so the pitch? What you have is well-written, but I probably wouldn't read it because I don't get any sense of the voice with this pitch. It just feels like a straight telling of what happens. I want a sense of the fun I'm hopeful is lodged in there, a sense of Roberto's character.
    I did like the title, but a little more voice could give me a much better sense of this story and your character! Best of luck with it!

  9. Sian says:

    I love the title and I would read this. I do agree that it sounds a little 'dark' for a picture book but I think with the right wording / illustrations it would be ok.
    I completely agree with Janet though and what the pitch needs is a good dollop of character and humour thrown into it. Its a bit dry at the moment.

  10. pennyklostermann says:

    Yum! I'd like a real bite instead a virtual one 🙂

    The pitch. How about Roberto just going into a joint where the animals are caged instead of caged to be eaten? That would lighten the subject enough for a PB. And start your pitch with excitement instead of the age range. Save that for the end of your pitch. Get to the good stuff first. Another thing, at the beginning of your pitch, you say anyone who sees him screams and wants to grab him. To me, those don't jive. If they are screaming, why would they want to grab him. Seems they would want to distance themselves from Roberto (poor guy)! And don't tell us the ending…hint at it, but make me want to read past the pitch to find out what happens. Get me hooked giving anything away. And…with all my “ands” I would say that even though I think your pitch can be strengthened, I say “yes”…I would read this book based on the fact that it's an idea that I believe you can make appealing.

  11. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Great story, Rita! What a unique concept…I would definitely read it.:)
    I think a little tightening might be good. Here's an idea:

    When a hungry rat enters a food factory where live animals are waiting to be slaughtered, the owner tries to capture him. Will Roberto be the next ingredient in a batch of chili or can his street smarts help him be a hero instead.

  12. Stina Lindenblatt says:

    I want that food!!!!

    Great pitch, but now I don't need to read the book because the pitch included the ending. It should entice me to picture up the book, because I want to read how it ends.

  13. This Kid Reviews Bks says:

    Wow! Vous savez comment parler français! Eh bien, comment allez-vous aujourd'hui?

    Je voudrais lire le livre! J'aime les livres de Mme Borg! J'aime l'idée du livre. J'aime le nom complet de Roberto! 😀

    J'aime taper en français (via Google Translate 🙂 )!

    [Wow! You know how to speak French! Well, how are you today?

    I would read the book! I like Ms. Borg's books! I like the idea of the book. I like Roberto's full name! 😀

    I like typing in French (via Google Translate 🙂 )!]

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Okay, smarty 🙂 I was hacking my way through all that – and not doing too badly I may say – but I was grateful for the translation – really, pain au chocolat and apparently petit dejeuner is the extent of my French 🙂 I'm glad you liked Ms. Borg's idea and I agree – the name is terrific!


  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Ah, Penny – I wish I could give you a real bite. Let's meet for coffee at Au Bon Pain tomorrow morning, shall we? 🙂 Thanks for all your helpful thoughts and suggestions for Rita!


  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I wouldn't even know where to begin making pain au chocolat, Teresa! Send me some if you make it – I am willing to be a guinea pig 🙂 Thanks for your helpful comments for Rita 🙂


  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    It is a VERY good thing that I do not live next door to a pastry shop, Monette! 🙂 Thanks so much for your comments for Rita. It's funny – I thought of Ratatouille also but I think you're right – because of the rat 🙂


  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your thoughts for Rita, Theresa! And yeah… I'm such a hypocrite. I only eat any kind of animal product because I never have to see where it came from. And I don't eat anything cute 🙂


  19. Stacy Couch says:

    Rita, such an interesting idea. I like the Virtuous Rat vs. Silly Man approach, done with a light touch. Perhaps you can get right to Roberto, establish his conflict with Freddie, and leave us guessing.

    Ej.: Street rat Roberto doesn't see himself as a hero. But when he stumbles on a building full of caged animals, he must battle x,y, and Freddie, the factory owner–and Freddie never lets an animal get away.

  20. PamBrunskill says:

    Sorry to chime in late. You're pain au chocolat photo came to me in the grocery store today and I almost bought one because of it (went for the chocolate chip muffins instead). As for the pitch, it's intriguing, but, for me, it's a bit long for a picture book pitch. You gave the plot, but I want it to go straight to the heart of the story. What is is about? Robert's cleverness allows him to get out of trouble and he learns what exactly? How does he grow as a character? Good luck with your story, Rita.

  21. Lisa Bertellotti Schlesinger says:

    I think it could work as a picture book, especially if it had a bit of humor to it. Interesting idea. I think the pitch is very informative but needs a little spark to it and something to keep us wanting to learn more. Good luck to you!

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