Would You Read It Wednesday #157 – The Penguin And The Pelican (PB) PLUS The November Pitch Pick!

I’d like to begin today’s post with a Public Service Announcement.

As you all (may or may not) know, January is National Bath Safety Month.

Yes.  It’s true.

And I’m concerned this may be something you don’t take seriously enough, potentially risking life and limb.

So please.  If you’re going to have a bath, keep this in mind:

Baths, especially the young ones, are extremely vulnerable to attack by toddlers with rubber duckies, siblings engaged in splash wars or games of “Kickie”, and dogs that have met the wrong end of a skunk (dog hair, tomato juice and skunk oil are a triple threat – I beg you!  Think of your poor little bath!)  Princesses with excessively long hair should NEVER be allowed near a bath – they should just be hosed down outdoors (the necessary shampoo required may cause a dangerous build up of soap scum and the excessive hair itself may lead to the dreaded condition of Clogged Drain! – you mustn’t – you simply mustn’t!)

A threatened bath is an unpredictable bath which may lash out in self-defense.

A safe bath is a happy bath.

Be a responsible bath owner!  Keep your bath (and yourself) safe!

Thank you.

(This message has been brought to you by the Blueberry Hill Coalition For Bath Safety, which meets weekly under the guise of providing a public service but is really just using the meeting as a reason to eat large quantities of coffee and donuts.)

Phew.  I’m so glad we shared that important Public Service Announcement, aren’t you?  I feel much better knowing that the care and safety of baths everywhere has received some much-needed attention!

Now then, if you’d all quit lolling about in the tub, we’ve got all kinds of high jinx and shenanigans lined up for today.

First, the November Pitch Pick!  (Yay!  At long last! :))

Here are our 4 pitches, all spiffed up and improved thanks to your very helpful feedback.  Please read through them and vote below for the one you think most deserves a read by editor Erin Molta.

#1 Maria – Just Like Us (PB ages 2-6)
As children frolic through and around a park playground, glimpses of two bear cubs mimicking their fun can be seen, partially obscured on each page. Both the bears and children roll down a hill, play on the equipment, and dig for treasure. But in the end, who is watching whom. 

#2 Heather – Hubert’s Dreadful Allergies (PB ages 4-8)
The harpsichord is dusted, the tea is poured, the vases are arranged on doily laces, and Hubert the pug is settled calmly on the rug. Lottie Dobson is ready for her fancy luncheon party. But when the members of the Grandview Rose Society arrive with even more blooms, poor Hubert’s allergies kick in. What happens next is a riot of mishaps that gets him banned from the room. But when a wily rat sneaks in, steals the cheese, and dangles from the chandelier, it sends the proper party guests on a crazy chase–with a sneezing Hubert in the lead. One big sneeze will save the day! Too bad for Hubert, the sneezing doesn’t end there. 

#3 Gail – Knights Of The Kids’ Table (PB ages 4-8)
Most of the Knights of the Kids’ Table found Flooted funny. After all, when he got nervous, Flooted tooted. But cranky Hugh couldn’t stand the smell, so he hatched a plan to get rid of Flooted…for good. When Hugh’s scheme flopped, the little knights giggled, the big knights enjoyed silly sword fights, and the grumpy little knight got exactly what he wished for.

#4 Jean – Got Your Nose (PB ages 4-8)
Jack loves playing ‘Got Your Nose’ with his mom, but when bedtime comes, and Jack’s not ready to quit, he turns to his sleeping brother and steals the nose right off his face!  When Jack hears approaching footsteps, he nervously tosses his brother’s nose into the dirty laundry basket, sending it on a harrowing adventure faced with drooling dogs, hungry owls, and stinky skunks that will have you holding your breath, and your nose a little tighter. Will Jack succeed in finding his brother’s nose before morning?    

Please cast your vote by Sunday January 18 at 5 PM EDT, and I will announce the winner on next week’s WYRI.  Many thanks!!!

Now, onto the new pitch!

Today’s pitcher personally selected her Something Chocolate, and I must say, she has EXCELLENT taste!  Help yourselves!!!

Find the recipe at The Sweets Life HERE

YUM!  Anyone else need a cup of coffee to go with that? Or maybe a bath?  (Just kidding :))

Today’s pitch comes to us from Bekah who says: Wife, mom to a ten and seven year old, and teacher, I’ve been stealing time to write poetry and stories for over a decade and using my family as my “willing” critique group.  Recently, I’ve entered the online writing community, through partipation in PiBoIdMo 2014 at taralazar.com (thanks, Tara!) and the 2014 March Madness-style children’s poetry contest at thinkkidthink.com (thanks, Ed!).

No official writing blog yet (I know, I know…I will!) but you can read about my kids’ big bears, Peanut and Nugget DaBear, at their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter (I know. I am a little strange. Don’t judge!).”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Penguin And The Pelican
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: A penguin and a pelican try to fix their awkwardness on land by learning to dance gracefully. When they discover, embarrassingly, that dance lessons can’t cure their clumsy gaits, new friends convince the birds to keep dancing joyfully. In the end, the penguin and the pelican’s gracefulness in the water and in the air amazes their friends.

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 Bekah 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 late May 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!

Bekah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to taking my bath to get microchipped so that in case it wanders off it will have the best odds of being returned safely!

Have a wonderful Wednesday , everyone! 🙂

79 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #157 – The Penguin And The Pelican (PB) PLUS The November Pitch Pick!

  1. Stacy Couch says:

    Hi Bekah! The pitch is adorable, and I agree with Susanna about the art notes: keep them in the cover letter or manuscript, not the pitch. Details I'd love to see in the pitch would not add to the word count, but make the wording more concrete. You could state who the friends are, and maybe instead of telling us they have a clumsy gait you could show us some fun dance misses (slip, tumble, careen). Details like that would show how your story is different and make the pitch pop. 🙂

  2. Rosi says:

    I think Kirsten Larson really nailed the problems with this pitch. That said, I think the idea of these two creatures dancing around would lend itself to some wonderful illustrations and I do think kids would like it. I'd read it for sure.

  3. Ariel Bernstein says:

    Yes. I like the idea of showing the characters not being able to succeed at something but that it's ok if they can find a way to enjoy it.

  4. Keila Dawson says:

    Are those…buckeye bars? I didn't know you were an Ohio State Collegiate Championship team fan Susanna!

    On to the goal, er, pitch…dancing clumsy birds made me giggle. What happens to make them want to change their gaits? Before they decide on dance lessons? Choosing to learn to dance is a cute idea, but I'd I'd like to know the stakes. The idea about the animals learning they're not so good at something and having their friends acknowledge they are good at something-that which comes naturally to them-are two good themes for kidlit books.

  5. Jamie LB Deenihan says:

    Hi Bekah! I vote yes, I would definitely read this. It's intriguing and I love the pairing of your two main characters. To improve, I think you need to raise the stakes as mentioned in previous comments. Why is it so important for them both to cute their clumsy gate on land? Another thing I noticed is you kind of gave the ending away so you might want to tweak that a bit so readers can't wait find out what happens. Well done!

  6. Bekah says:

    Thanks, Keila! The bars, BTW, have caramel instead of peanut butter, which would be delicious as well! I went to college at a school in Ann Arbor, so I am a Michigan fan, but I will gladly eat ONE'S signature snack any day!

  7. Mishka Jaeger says:

    Bekah – I love the pairing of your bird characters but my concern is that learning to dance is too predictable and reminds me a little of Giraffes Can't Dance.
    It might be more interesting for the characters to explore or try out what they think to be more graceful occupations – perhaps dance being only one of them – before discovering on their own and through each other's help (I'm not sure if new friends are needed to reenforce that) that it's ok and a lot less ridiculous for them to just be themselves. You have a lot of space for a quirky adventure of self discovery. Good luck!

  8. Mike Allegra writer says:


    And thank you for the Bath safety warning, Susanna! You have my word that I will not bathe for the rest of this month.

  9. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    This sounds awesome! Do they end up break dancing? 😉 I would totally read this! I love Penguins (and Pelicans)! 😀
    And Ms. Hill, because I was born in Ohio, I am a true Buckeye fan, so that means that I get all of the treats. 😉 Thank you for that wonderful ad, too, by the way!
    I voted too! It was hard, though. So many good ones! 😀

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Thanks for voting and for your helpful comments for Ms. Hoeft, Erik! As to the treats, though I am always willing to share, I have to draw the line at letting you have them ALL! I need to keep up my strength! As do the other visitors here 🙂 Ohio, eh? I was born in New York City, even though my biological parents were Dutch – Friesian, technically. How old were you when you were adopted? I was 11 months – pretty old!

  11. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_Erik says:

    I was 3 days old when my parents legally adopted me but they were there right after I was born. My birthmom asked them to come to the hospital. 🙂
    What? No treats? 😉

  12. Iza Trapani says:

    Sorry for commenting so late, but I am still recovering form my bath last week 🙂 Bekah's story has a good theme (and I can just see the illustrations) but I agree with the others that a little more conflict is needed- and I would just hint at the ending and not give it away.

  13. Bekah says:

    Thanks, Michele! I'm going to explore that possibility. It's so hard to think about adding in more when the story felt complete (to me!), but I think everyone is right about needing something more in the conflict department. Thanks again!

  14. Bekah says:

    Thank you, Erik! I'm picturing the jitterbug or tango, but breakdancing could be pretty great!
    Thanks for reading and commenting on my pitch!

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