Would You Read It Wednesday # 130 – Todd’s Top Secret Dance Moves (PB)

Well, the big news is that TOMORROW is the opening of the First Ever Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest!

Can you believe it?

It’s practically time!!!

I’m excited and also nervous!

I’m really hoping we’ll get some entries.  It would be so much fun to see the March Madness Contest winners’ stories brought to life in art!

The contestants will get to have a bunch of people come around and see their art, including the pretty much world famous Iza Trapani and Lisa Thiesing who will be judging.

They’ll get a chance to show their work to a boatload of authors who, in this day and age of self-publishing, might need an illustrator at some point – you never know! – as well as some teachers who might need a school visit from an illustrator at some point – you never know!

AND they get a chance at some awesome prizes, most especially a portfolio critique by the pretty much world famous Michael Garland!

And WE will get to see all their fabulous art!

So it’s all good in my book! 🙂

So much excitement is making me a little faint.  Quick! Something Chocolate!

I have a special treat for Coleen, who has been so very extremely helpful and nice about tweeting the illustration contest (even though I keep forgetting to!) that really, she should have her heart’s desire which just so happens to be peanut butter and chocolate.  So here is a choice, because I wasn’t sure which you’d all prefer 🙂

Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae
with homemade chocolate fudge and melted peanut butter!

Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich – Scrumptious!!!

I feel fairly certain that either or both of those will be very helpful in fueling your creative spirit and/or your vacuuming, car pooling, shopping, or whatever else you have planned for the day.  Nothing like a little chocolate and sugar to get you going in the morning!  That’s what I always say! 🙂

Now then.  Ready for Would You Read It?

Today’s pitch comes to us from Sean who says, I’m a writer at an advertising agency, and I love being creative. Writing picture books is my favorite creative outlet, and I hope kids will enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Beyond writing, I love to read, run, cook, eat, and watch Mad Men if there’s extra time to spare.”

Here’s the link to his Twitter page. He’s also on Facebook.


Here is his pitch:

Working Title: Todd’s Top Secret Dance Moves
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-8)
The Pitch: His moves are smoother than a buttery bowling ball sliding over a field of silk tuxedos. And Todd is ready to reveal them all: the Fuzzy Banana, the Lunch Lady, the Frosty Snowman, and many more. Follow the footsteps of a dynamite dancer and try to resist tapping your feet. If you want to dance like Todd, the first secret is… 

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 Sean improve his 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’ve got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sean is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to THE CONTEST!!!  Whoopee!  By this time tomorrow, we could have art up!  I can’t wait! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! 🙂

And tune in tomorrow for the contest!!!

Oh, and P.S. let me take this opportunity to remind the PPBF bloggers that there will not be a PPBF this Friday (April 25) or next Friday (May 2) because of the contest.

43 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday # 130 – Todd’s Top Secret Dance Moves (PB)

  1. Angela Brown says:

    Now that I've finished drooling over our chocolatey peanut buttery eatery choices, I can say that yes, I would read today's pitch. As Nancy Tandon commented, I was intrigued by the wording but wondered if there was any conflict at all to solve. Maybe there's no conflict, but rather just entertainment?

  2. Teresa Robeson says:

    Not one but two chocolatey desserts! Wow! 🙂

    And oh my gosh…how is it contest time already?? I thought I had more time still. I've got a thumbnail done but not much else. Blah.

    Because I grew up watching and loving Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, I loved Sean's idea. But as Nancy said, there needs to be something more to the pitch, something that tells a little bit of a story. If it's a book just about new dance steps without an actual story, that's fine too but he would need to convey that.

    Best of luck to Sean and his little Todd Astaire! 😀

  3. Pam Brunskill says:

    Another yummy desert, Susanna! As for Sean's pitch, I'm intrigued, and I like the fun word choices. These alone would get me to look at the manuscript. I'd start off the first sentence with “Todd's moves” instead of “His moves.” And, as Teresa suggested, either hint at the story more or make it clear that it is about dances. Good luck!

  4. Mike Allegra says:

    The pitch's “the first secret is…” bugged me a little. Sean certainly doen't need to give up the story's secrets, but the pitch does need to arrive at some kind of logical conclusion.
    And would I read it? Yes. I would very much want to dance The Lunch Lady at the next wedding I attend.

  5. Genevieve says:

    I love the imagery in the opening, but I think the pitch can live without it. If this is a concept-type book with dance instructions, make than known and if it's an actual story, give us a hint about the conflict. I'd read it like crazy either way. It sounds hilarious! And I think the illustrations would be awesome. Good luck.

  6. Lauri Meyers says:

    I can't wait for the contest! I'm going to have to focus on eating chocolate bunnies so I don't explode with anticipation in the mean time.

  7. Sean Lamb says:

    Thanks for the helpful feedback everyone! The big question I have…can I create a successful PB like this without the conflict/solution format? Is it too risky? My goal was to write a fun/silly “How-To” PB that doesn't follow the typical format.

  8. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    I didn't think about the conflict to the story because I was so busy wiping up my drool over the luscious desserts…after all, I just came in from the barn! After I went and cut myself a piece of Peanut Butter Pie and read the other comments, I do have to agree that there isn't a mention of conflict in the pitch…which would make it even more intriguing to me. I would, however, have read it anyway since I love stories that are just plain fun entertainment, too. Since I'm not an editor or agent, though, I think you might want to really consider all the more professional opinions that are in this comment.
    Now, I have to go! There's almost a whole pie left to eat! And hubby is getting ready for a duathalon, so he can't eat it all! Guess it's up to me…dang! bwhahahahah! 😀

  9. Patricia Tilton says:

    I love the pitch, but agree with not showing the opposite or conflic in the pitch and story — whether it be teasing from other kids to problems with being able to afford to buy his shoes. He has to grow in the story. Is it based one a famouse male dancer. I'm like you, I like positive stories that inspire, but agents don't.
    Hope everyone has fun with the illustration contest.

  10. Iza Trapani says:

    Oh boy, illustrators, I can't wait to see your entries!
    Sean's book sounds energetic and cheerful and I'd love to learn some of Todd's moves, but I am not so sure a “how to” book for kids would be received by editors and agents. They do want a story. It can be a very simple plot, but something does have to happen to build a story then round it out in the end. On the other hand, I could be wrong and there could very well be publishing houses that might be interested in a how to dance book (Charlesbridge's Imagine imprint would be a good possibility.) In that case, you will definitely need to make the book informative- showing the steps, diagrams etc…I would rework the pitch so the reader knows this is a how to book in the non-fiction genre.

  11. Ann Magee says:

    Yes, I would read it–love all the silly dance names! But I agree with everyone who said you need a bit of a story to go along with the dances–it would keep the interest of little ones more, I think. Best of luck!

  12. Tracy Campbell says:

    Sean, I loved your pitch. My only suggestion might be to tell us how old your character is. Say perhaps, “Six-year-old, Todd's moves…,” etc.” Looking forward to viewing all the wonderful illustrations, Susanna. 🙂

  13. pennyklostermann says:

    I think the contest will be awesome! I can't wait to see the entries and watch the March Madness Winners' stories come to life!

    You made me hungry with those yummy photos! I want the Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich.

    I think you've gotten some excellent feedback on your pitch, Sean. I think good points were made about a strong character and conflict. But, I would say if your dream is to write a fun/silly “How-To” PB that doesn't follow the typical format, give it a try. You will have to have something really unique with an unusual hook. It's always a good idea to write your story in several different ways so maybe try it as a How-To and as a strong character story and see which one you like the best.

  14. Becky says:

    Maybe. I would like to know what is in stake for this character. This pitch tells us about the character, but not about the character's story.

  15. coleen patrick says:

    I'm definitely interested in knowing how to dance the fuzzy banana! Sounds fun. 🙂 Thanks for the special pb and chocolate treats Susanna!!! And while absolutely no vacuuming happened in my house today, I did make progress on my illustration!

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Chocolate has magical powers, but even it can only make cleaning so much better 🙂 Thanks so much for your very helpful comments for Sean, Stacy! And here's hoping we get lots of great entries for the illustration contest!

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts for Sean, Rene! And now, hang on, did you say you'd just come in form the barn? I spend part of every day in a barn!! What kind of barn? Horse or otherwise? If you say horse, we are kindred spirits and how nice to know that! 🙂

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    That is an excellent thing to focus on, Lauri! One bite at a time. The illustrations will start rolling in before you know it 🙂 Fingers crossed we get at least one, hopefully a bunch!, for every title!

  19. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    Well, my friend, we are kindred spirits! I have my horse at a friend's barn about ten miles from my house…I, too, spend part of every day with the clean dirt of horses! 😉

  20. Charlotte Sheer says:

    Who left all those peanut butter brownie crumbs for me to clean up? Sorry I'm so late to the party! I like Sean's idea of fun dance moves being at the center of a story, but I, too, am wondering about a conflict or something to move it forward. Is Todd entering a dance contest? Is he an aspiring jr. choreographer? Is he the same age (6-8) as the potential readers? What about Todd will make them feel connected with him? I can think of several young dancers who would be intrigued with a story based on the basic premise that Sean has going here.

  21. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Yummy chocolate, Susanna…you definitely know my weak spot. 😉
    Good luck to all the illustrators who will be submitting their work…it's going to be a fun contest, watching the winning stories come to life. 😉
    I'd read the story, Sean…I love the idea of a kid who wants to dance! But I think you need to add some hint of the problem your mc faces. I scrolled down and you've got some great ideas here for your pitch.

  22. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    I love the title (cuz I love to dance!), but I would add 'dance' to the first words in the pitch, so we are not left guessing what kind of moves we're talking about here. Actually, I might even cut the poetic description (sorry!) to cut to the chase, but I still need at least one why – why is he ready, why is he revealing, why does he love to dance? In any case I do want to read it! Good luck, Sean.

    Todd is ready to reveal his smooth dance moves: the Fuzzy Banana, the Lunch Lady, the Frosty Snowman, and many more. Follow the footsteps of a dynamite dancer and try to resist tapping your feet. If you want to dance like Todd, the first secret is…

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