Would You Read It Wednesday #96 – The Curse Of The Shattered Sceptre (MG) PLUS The June Pitch Pick


Is it as hot in your neck of the woods as it is in mine?

I’m feeling a kinship with the Wicked Witch of the West.  I’m melting…. Melting!  Aaahhhrrr….!

When it’s 80 degrees at breakfast, it’s time to skip over oatmeal and go straight for the freezer.  Let’s have profiteroles this morning, shall we?

It’s for our own good.


To cool us off 🙂

YUM! 🙂

Ah, that’s better isn’t it?  I think we’re ready to have a look at the June Pitch Pick.

#1 Andrea
The Backpack Secret (PB)

On the first day of kindergarten, Amani notices that Mason won’t take off his backpack. She’s determined to find out why, especially when the other kids start calling him names. After she finally convinces Mason to share his secret, it gives her an idea that will help everyone in the class feel braver at school.

#2 Heather
Tristan The Neighbor Cat (originally titled The Cat Who Lived In The Flowerpot) (PB)
Tristan the cat who lives in the flowerpot between apartments 7 and 8.  He loves his human neighbors and they love him.  There is just one problem.  NO PETS ALLOWED!  One day the strict landlady swings by for a surprise visit and Tristan finds himself in danger of losing his flowerpot home and the neighbors he loves.  

#3 Elaine
The Chase (PB)
A bored little boy stares at the moon, moaning about being bored while missing the stunning excitement that’s unfolding around him – pirate cows, zombie ice skaters, mummy librarians… If only he’d look down instead of UP. THE CHASE is a humorous picture book that explores the common childhood experience of what appears like the moon is following them, and turns it on its head.

#4 Alicia
Granola Bars For Dinner (PB)
Quentin is a kid who loves granola bars and wishes he could eat them all the time, even for dinner! But when Quentin discovers he is tired of all the regular granola bars at the store, he decides there is just one thing to do: make a new kind of granola bar. A kid-friendly recipe (for pizza granola bars) will be included.

Which pitch do you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta?  Please vote for your favorite below by Friday July 19 at 11:59PM EDT.

Now then, onto today’s Would You Read It!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Rachel, who says “I’m an early childhood teacher and mother of two daughters.  I love reading, scrapbooking and writing children’s picture books and have recently had a go at writing a junior fiction chapter book.  My blog address is http://rachelsbooknook.wordpress.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Curse Of The Shattered Sceptre
Age/Genre: Junior Fiction/Chapter Book (ages 7-10)
The Pitch: Oliver Bartholomew, bookworm extraordinaire, has never been more excited in his life.  Is it possible that an ancient book of riddles and spells just called his name?  This could be his lucky day!  Or not…  After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his friends must work together, using their wits and imagination to unravel the twisted clues and locate twelve shards of coloured glass, thereby mending the book’s shattered sceptre. With a little help from a zany magician, a snappy fortune teller and a gruff groundskeeper, Ollie and his Book Club buddies find themselves embarking on a magical journey that they will never forget.   

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 Rachel 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 August so we’re about ready for some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Rachel is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to finding somewhere like this to hang out 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!! 🙂

OH!  P.S.  Remember that blog hop I participated in last Wednesday?  Wherein I answered personal questions?  I had to tag 3 other writers and Stacy’s is up today HERE.  Please go visit her! 🙂

71 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #96 – The Curse Of The Shattered Sceptre (MG) PLUS The June Pitch Pick

  1. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    That last picture is pretty… If you find a place like it, gimme a call, wouldya? 😉

    I would read the book! The pitch seems a bit long but I really like how the story sounds. It sounds like something I'd like. Besides, Ollie sounds a lot like me. 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    Heading off to bed now so I will have to catch up on everyone's comments tomorrow. Thanks in advance and I'll be back online in about 13 hours time!

  3. Heather Dent says:

    Rachel, I would definitely read it! I especially loved all the characters you briefly introduced like the zany magician and gruff groundskeeper. I am totally a fantasy nerd and this book sounds like it has all the elements to a good fantasy novel. I agree with Erik that it could be tightened up a bit. Perhaps you could cut off some of the length at the beginning and just start with “After accidentally unleashing…”

  4. Linda Boyden says:

    The heat is coming back to us, too, Susanna. Looking forward to Oct.!

    It's a YES for me for Rachel's pitch. I love the bookworm hero, well, and a CLUB of them is even better! Love the name, Ollie. And kids like magical adventures. Tighten the pitch though. Best of luck with this intriguing idea.

  5. Andrea says:

    I love the sound of this fantasy and the idea of the glass shards and magical sceptre. It makes me wonder what it does when it's put together! But I agree that the pitch is a little long. I think I'd like to know why Ollie takes on this task – it can't be just out of curiosity.

  6. Catherine Johnson says:

    Ooh I love the sound of the story and although it seems a bit long it flows really well and I wouldn't cut anything out.

  7. delores @ thefeatherednest says:

    Most definitely would read it…the pitch needs tightening a tad but I can see where it would be hard to cut anything out.

  8. Wendy says:

    Today's pitch sounds interesting, but what was missing for me was the stakes. Why does this Ollie's success matter? What would happen if he and the others fail? Good luck!

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts for Rachel, Delores! And I think you've hit the nail on the head – paring it down to the essentials, keeping it short, but still not leaving anything out is so hard! 🙂


  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your comments for Ms. Bradbury, Erik. I always think it's super helpful to get a kids' eye view of these pitches, since that's the audience we're all aiming at! I haven't found that spot yet… I am still in the woods with the deer flies 🙂

  11. Joanne Roberts says:

    Great job, Rachel! I would definitely read this book! (series?) It has all the elements I would've read at this age and sounds very publishable. My only caution, don't be trite or predictable.What makes your book stand out from the crowd? Always keep that unique element in mind. That's the thing you've got to keep in front of editors.

    As for the pitch itself, a little long. I love all the details you include, but I'd cut them from my pitch. Does including the sceptre and cast of characters adds interest to the pitch or tell too much? Does it leave something to discover?

    My suggestion:
    “Or not… After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his Book Club buddies must unravel the twisted clues to . . .”

    What? Save the world? Restore the balance of nature? Make it home in time for Dancing with the stars? Whatever it is, tell us specifically, but keep it short.

    It sounds fantastic. I hope I get to read it some day.

  12. Rachel Schieffelbein says:

    I would totally read it. I love magic and mayhem and I think you've shown the playful tone of the book really well. 🙂

  13. Stacy Couch says:


    Rachel, you had me at bookworm–and zany, I love zany. I'd tighten it too. “After accidently…” does feel like a good beginning, if you could rework it to intro the book:

    After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his friends must work together to mend the sceptre of a powerful, ancient book.

    The great details after that–the search, the zany helpers, the stakes–with a bit of work could easily flow from there.

  14. Rosi says:

    This sounds very cute. I'd definitely read it. I like all the zany characters and the idea of all these book-loving kids.

  15. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    Susanna – count me in! Is that the Mediteranean?

    The premise sounds like a lot of fun, Rachel. I think you've got all the right pieces, but the pitch needs tightening for brevity and some clarity. I've made some suggestions for cutting/rearranging. Best of luck!

    Oliver Bartholomew is about to have the most excitement in his life. An ancient book of riddles and spells just called his name! Together, Ollie and his Book Club buddies use wit and imagination to unravel twisted clues and locate the pieces to mend the book's shattered sceptre. With help from a zany magician, a snappy fortune teller and a gruff groundskeeper, these bookworms find themselves embarking on a magical journey they will never forget.

  16. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Sounds like a fun story. I'm a yes to a tightened pitch. I have some similar thoughts as previous comments – questioning the stakes, tighten it up. While I like the details about the zany characters who help Ollie and his friends – I wonder should they be named? Are the zany characters the sidekicks for Ollie in this adventure or is it really the friends? I'm sure you tire of Harry Potter references, but it would be like mentioning Hagrid instead of Hermione and Ron. Good luck!

  17. Sarah says:

    Yes! Based on the query, it looks like the story is well constructed and interesting. One tiny suggestion is to delete “that,” which slows the pace with a bit of clutter:

    “… on a magical journey (that) they will never forget.”

    Best wishes!

  18. Wendy Lawrence says:

    I would read it and would like to buy it TODAY for my son. 🙂 The pitch does need to be shorter. Some suggestions for what to delete here: “Oliver Bartholomew, bookworm extraordinaire, has never been more excited. Is it possible that an ancient book just called his name? After accidentally unleashing a torrent of curses, Ollie and his book club buddies must work together, using their wits and imagination to unravel the twisted clues and mend the book's shattered sceptre. With a little help from a zany magician, a snappy fortune teller and a gruff groundskeeper, Ollie and his readers embark on a magical journey that they will never forget.”

  19. pennyklostermann says:

    I agree with tightening your pitch…but tighter or not…I want to read this book. I love the sound of it and I am totally excited about seeing it on the shelves some day. And the title is just great! I'm hooked!

    And I had one cream puff…just one…to give me enough energy to make a decision on the June pitches and vote. But since there are still three left…I may be back 🙂

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you for your enthusiasm for Rachel, Penny – I'm sure she'll be thrilled 🙂 And you may have as many profiteroles as you like. There is a french restaurant near me that makes them with your choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream in the middle, and now that I've thought of that, I want to go there for dinner. Well. Not really dinner. Just dessert would be fine 🙂

  21. pennyklostermann says:

    I learned a new word today…profiteroles! I've always called them cream puffs. And since I have a choice…..ummm…..I'll stick with the chocolate. Enjoy your dinner-dessert!

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm sure there is such a thing as a cream puff – probably with whipped cream inside 🙂 – but profiteroles are so good because they are pastry with ice cream inside and chocolate sauce on top or to dunk into. Yum 🙂

  23. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Love Wendy's comment…I would read it and would like to buy it TODAY for…MYSELF! Love your story, Rachel…and although I'd like to make the pitch shorter, I don't know how. Maybe some of the others will have suggestions.:) You've done a wonderful job, weaving in important snippets of the story that will make the pitch reader (editor) say YES!
    Thanks for the wonderful breakfast treat, Susanna! It has chocolate on it, so I am taking two.:) And hopping over to read Stacy's post!

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your comments for Rachel, Vivian, and I hope you enjoy the profiteroles 🙂 And thank you so much for going to visit Stacy – I'm afraid you might be the only one because I found out and added the link late – so I really appreciate it! 🙂

  25. Teresa Robeson says:

    You had me at profiteroles!! That is one thing I've always wanted to try and make. If only the temps were cooler or I didn't have to turn on the oven to bake the pastry. 🙂

    Voted! Those are great pitches.

    As for today's pitch: yes! I noticed a few other people have already mentioned that it needs to be shorter, and that was my first thought too. Also (hope I'm not repeating too much of what others have said), I think some of the other characters need to be eliminated from the pitch. I remember reading somewhere that you should keep your pitch to just the MC and maybe one essential minor character. Much as the “zany magician, a snappy fortune teller and a gruff groundskeeper” add spice to the pitch, they also add 10 extra words and too much info. Sounds like a fabulous story though and something that my kids and I would love to read!

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for your helpful comments for Rachel, Teresa. And profiteroles are something I will never bake – I am WAY not talented enough in the kitchen to attempt such a thing! – but I am happy to eat them 🙂

  27. Rachel says:

    Thanks for your helpful comments Teresa. I'll tighten up the pitch and get rid of the sentence about the minor characters.

  28. Rachel says:

    Thanks for adding your comment Cheryl. Everyone's comments are really motivating me to continue writing and editing until I get it right!

  29. Rachel says:

    Thanks Stacy. I see what you mean. The zany characters only appear a few times throughout the story whereas his friends are with him the whole time.

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