Would You Read It Wednesday #155 – Froggy Went A Courtin’ (PB)

In case anyone is wondering, we are fast running out of time to shop for the holidays!



Every year, I tell myself that THIS year I’m going to be organized.

THIS year, I’m going to shop in August, wrap in September, design a lovely and tasteful holiday card in October, address envelopes for said lovely and tasteful holiday cards in November, mail the cards and do Christmas baking in December, all in a calm, unhurried manner, the epitome of poised organization.

I might even wear a dress while I do it – one with a poofy skirt – so I can float about looking serene.

Think of me as Emily Post or Martha Stewart – a role model of perfection!


Yeah, right! 🙂

“Oh, Susanna,” I say to myself, shaking my head with fond tolerance.  “I know you WAY better than that!”

I am beyond a shadow of a doubt, scientifically proven, genetically incapable of doing anything before the last minute.

It focuses the mind.

And it makes you more efficient!

How foolish to spend 4 and 1/2 months preparing for the holidays when you can bring your A game to the table and accomplish the whole kit and caboodle in 27 hours! 🙂

So I wish you all bonne chance with your shopping and hope you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your lists whilst I loll about watching Christmas specials and munching bonbons, relaxing away the hours until it’s time to get serious! 🙂  Records are going to fall this year, people – just you wait and see! 🙂

Care to join me for Something Chocolate?  Today we have Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, with many thanks to Kathy for providing it!  Really, just the name makes you want to dig in, doesn’t it?

Recipe HERE

I’m going to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream with mine – please feel free to join me 🙂

YUM!  Now that’s what I call breakfast! (but please don’t tell my kids or they’ll never eat their hearty spelt cereal again.  Hahaha!  I know!  It’s hopeless to try to convince you that anyone in my house eats spelt for breakfast.  By the way, did you know spelt is also called dinkel wheat?  That’s just funny!  Okay, I’ll put some pudding cake in my mouth now so I stop blathering :))

We probably should have had the November Pitch Pick today, seeing as how the next couple weeks will be taken up with the Holiday Contest, but the person in charge around here apparently fell asleep at the switch and forgot to ask the November’s pitchers for their revisions in time.  I blame Thanksgiving.  So look for that the first week of January 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Marla who is an aspiring writer/illustrator from Canada.  This is an idea she was planning to use to build her illustration portfolio. Now she is wondering if she should fully develop it into a book dummy to submit to publishers.  Please visit her website with portfolio and blog at www.marlalesage.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Froggy Went A Courtin’
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Froggy went a courtin’ and he did ride.  But in this version Froggy rides a motorcycle and Missy Mousey is a welder. If Froggy and Missy Mousey are going to live happily ever after, they have a number of obstacles to overcome (including an unapproving Uncle Rat and an old tom cat who wants to eat the bride). 

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

Marla is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to picking out my serene poofy dress… although overalls and a pitchfork might be more appropriate for last-minute shopping 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!!

44 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #155 – Froggy Went A Courtin’ (PB)

  1. dkhower says:

    The cake looks scrumptious!

    Froggy Went A Courtin' – Maybe. I would read anything with a frog in it but the title which I know is working made me pause, been there and for me it works for this animal character because of my fondness of frogs. I was hooked by a frog on a motorcycle and a mouse welder, cute. I think that the pitch gets weakened by the wording – In this version and they have to overcome. We know that so if you tell us straight out it strengthens the pitch. Best of luck! This would be fun to illustrate.

  2. Christie Allred says:

    Maybe. I got stuck on the working title. Though I looked at it multiple times, I kept seeing countin' not courtin'. Perhaps because my mind was in PB mode and counting made more sense than courting. Once I knew it was courting, I got stuck on “…and he did ride.” I wondered, what does riding have to do with courting? After that, I LOVED the rest of the pitch – especially the old tom cat.

  3. Mike Allegra says:

    I am intrigued by this idea but the pitch leaves me asking what might be a few too many questions. Is welding (or motorcycling) relevant to the story? Since when is an uncle's disapproval relevant? Is the rat the mouse's guardian? And the cat seems to be a come-from-nowhere antagonist; does the cat and the bride have a Tom and Jerry-style history?

  4. teresa m.i. schaefer says:

    Good Morning everyone, Regrettably, I will have to save my chocolate for later. My belly is already breakfast full (w/ Reeses Puffs cereal — hehe).

    I was immediately interested in the story, as my grandfather sang this song by Burl Ives many times over my childhood. Later in life my father-in-law sang the same to my children. The pitch itself may be confusing for those unfamiliar with the song. I would suggest writing it as if the audience does not know the song. Perhaps add motorcycle to the first sentence; delete the “in this version”; create an immediate courtship connection of froggy to Miss Mousey ( the welder part is probably unnecessary); and then go directly to the obstacles leaving out the parentheses. It might look something like this: Froggy went a courtin' and he did ride — a Harley — right over to Miss Mousey's house. But if Froggy and Miss Mousey are to live happily ever after they have a number of obstacles to overcome, including Uncle Rat and an old tom cat who wants to eat the bride. Not the best but highlights my recommendations. Good luck with this Marla — pitches are a challenge to write. 😉

  5. Lauri Meyers says:

    Yep, I'd read it. I'm a sucker for welder mice. 🙂 In pitch try deleting “have a number of obstacles to overcome” and just include the actual obstacles. It may be worth including a tiny smidge on how the motorcycle / welder elements play a critical role in the story, but without reading it I'm not sure.

  6. Cathy C. Hall says:

    Oh, yes, I'd read this in a heartbeat! I love that song–I love the twist to the song and I really like the implied humor. Well done!

  7. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Amen to that chocolate breakfast, Susanna! Although I'm trying to take off a few pounds in hopes that by Christmas, I'll be back where I want to be and therefore will feel I can enjoy the feast. So I'm passing on breakfast, even your delicious sounding spelt cereal (shhh…don't tell my kids because I always told them that breakfast is the MOST important meal and you should never miss it – like running a car without gas…hahahaha…bet you guys have all heard that from someone in your childhood 🙂 )
    I would definitely read Maria's story…I remember the original…and I think that having Froggie ride a motorcycle is a cute twist. I LOVE Teresa's pitch fix with the Harley…and I'd just make sure there are a couple of examples of what wild obstacles Froggie and Mouse must overcome before they can join in wedded bliss.

  8. Marla Lesage says:

    Thank you for the comments. The welding is definitely more of an aside. I suppose what I'm aiming for is – hardly a damsel in distress – she's a strong little mouse, perhaps a feminist? I hadn't really thought about how this would come across to those who don't know the song. I'm aiming for a modernized version of the song.

  9. Teresa Robeson says:

    Mmmm…chocolate pudding cake….I already pulled up the recipe. 😀

    I think Maria's idea sounds darling and would read it! I see that you've posted an update in the comments, Maria, and like it even more. You would, however, need to work that into the pitch and refine it. Right now, the pitch is not quite tight enough though it's definitely on the right track. Best of luck!

  10. Wendy says:

    Poofy dresses all around! (If that were only the cure!)

    I'm another reader who doesn't know the original, so had a lot of questions like Mike did below (glad I'm not the only one!). The characters sound cute but I'm really not sure what the story is.

  11. JillSF1959 says:

    Pardon me while I peel myself off the ceiling after that breakfast!

    Would I read it? Maybe. I love the idea of a frog motorcycle rider and a mouse welder, BUT I want to hear specifics about the adventure that puts them in jeopardy. I'd put the obstacles before the goal of living happily ever after. And how do their skills (motorcycle riding and welding) serve the plot? I, too, am not familiar with the original, so that may be a consideration when revising.

  12. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    I'd love to read a brand new version – should bring good luck as this title also won the Caldecott Medal many years ago. The pitch should reveal more about the new twist, so I would add that to the opening line, and give a line from your text that reveals the flavor of your version. Good luck – love the thought of a welding female mouse!

  13. Joanne Sher says:

    I am also (I'm sorry!) unfamiliar with the original. You might need to slip SOMETHING in about that in case the number of people here who don't know it is representative – or simply not imply it i the pitch at all. I really like the idea of it – but I'd put the conflict earlier, and up the stakes.

    I have one gift chosen for Christmas – not bought, but chosen. I don't wait as long as you do, but this year it's absolutely getting away from me. But that chocolate will help me deal with it, I'm sure 🙂

  14. :Donna Marie says:

    I'm afraid this seems to refer to an old story or classic I'm not really familiar with, so the take on it isn't resonating with me. Perhaps agents and editors are more familiar with it though! Sorry I can't help : /

    And, Susanna, rather than Emily Post or Martha Stewart, I think you have more in common with Erma Bombeck 😉 LOVE what she did 🙂

  15. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    YES!!! I would DEFINITELY read this! That's just plain AWESOME-ness there! 😀

    Have fun with your waiting-until-the-last-minute plan! And thanks for the fudge thingy (I call it “Good”)! 😀

  16. Rosi says:

    The cake looks reeee-dicilous! Must have some soon. The image of you floating around serenely in a dress, well…what can I say? Yes, I would read it because the pitch made me laugh and because I love retellings.

  17. Marla says:

    How easy it is to assume most people know this one! I'll have to think about this one – the text stays pretty true to the earlier versions but the pictures tell a more modern tale. Maybe I should start by writing a pitch for the original and then edit it until everything is clear.

  18. Angela Brown says:

    Since I'm getting to this during the evening *tsk tsk, Angela* I shall have my delicious chocolate delight with French Vanilla ice cream stashed in the freezer.

    As for the pitch, well darned if it wasn't too cute. So yes, I would read it. I don't have any recs for the pitch because it seems rather cute as it is.

  19. Stacy Couch says:

    Bit belated…but happy anniversary, Susanna! You're organized enough to run a fabu blog for 4 years!

    Marla, I love a feminist take on an old story, and this sounds very cute. I too would assume people aren't familiar with the original. Teresa had a great example. I also like your idea for starting with a pitch for the original, since the plot overlaps. Your new pitch could tell us the main character and stakes, while highlighting your take on it.

  20. McM says:

    I would absolutely read it! I think it may be totally new for most of the younger generation. Not sure how to do it, maybe a current OVERLOAD on chocolate, but I like having that Miss Mousey is a welder in the pitch. Do keep working at it, it sounds so fun!

    Great recipe Susanna! 🙂

  21. Jean James says:

    I wasn't familiar with this song, so I googled it, and wow, very cute; the motorcycle riding frog is just plain fun. I think this would make a great story, and I would read it, but agree that for those unfamiliar with the topic the pitch is a little confusing. This story seems to have such history, a little more clarity would go a long way. Good Luck!!

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm grateful that you're getting here at all, Angela – no matter the time! We are all so busy! Interesting that you choose French Vanilla… I'm a Vanilla Bean girl myself, when I need something vanilla to accompany my chocolate 🙂 Thanks for your comments for Marla!

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Golly! So many people don't know this! I think I would have assumed, as Marla did, that it was familiar, so look how fortunate it is that so many people have chimed in. It's one of those things that makes WYRI valuable! And you're probably right, Donna. I don't think Emily and Martha and I have very much in common 🙂

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    We could ALL wear poofy dresses and float about… we'd look like a bunch of fairy godmothers 🙂 And then we could grant each other's publishing contract wishes 🙂 Thanks so much for chiming in for Marla, Wendy!

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm sure you don't need to take off any pounds, Vivian! And breakfast IS the most important meal of the day – it fuels the body and brain! How can you expect to grow up big and strong if you skip breakfast? 🙂 Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Marla!

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