Would You Read It Wednesday #206 – Bird And The Baker (PB)

Howdy, Friends!

Can you believe it’s March 30?!  Which means it’s PRACTICALLY APRIL!  Which is so awesome!  (And I am just ignoring that little snowflake picture on my phone’s weather app for April 5th.  Obviously the weather app folk are messing with us in their typically fiendish way.  They have a weird sense of humor 🙂 )

Since I’m a little bit psychic, I know you will be fascinated to know that today is the 220th anniversary of the day German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered the construction of the heptadecagon.  It certainly makes MY day feel special 🙂  I mean, how fun is it to say “heptadecagon”?  There could be a picture book in that…  it sounds a little like a dinosaur…  how about ALFRED T. REX VS. THE HEPTADECAGON… Would You Read It?  🙂

Or we could just make it into a tongue twister.  Try saying heptadecagon three times fast.. it’s pretty hard… I just practiced so I know!

Of course, being the polar opposite of a brilliant mathematician (i.e. a nincompoop 🙂 ) I had to go find out what a heptadecagon was…

(On the off chance that any of you are as blissfully mathematically ignorant as I am, you’ll be thrilled to learn that our boy Carl Friedrich woke up on March 30 at the ripe old age of 19 and discovered that a heptadecagon is a 17 sided polygon, which is uber cool because 17 is a Fermat prime number, and you can make one with a compass and an unmarked straight edge.  And that is as much math talk as I can stand without chocolate!)

So bring on the Something Chocolate!!!

I vote for Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie because I’m pretty sure you could make one in the shape of a heptadecagon if you were comitted!  🙂

Dark Chocolate Caramel Oreo Pie


Recipe HERE at Kevin & Amanda


Ooh, la la! YUM!

(And now, for an extra challenge, try saying heptadecagon three times fast with your mouth full of Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie!)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which has absolutely nothing to do with heptadecagons comes to us from Patricia who says, “I am a pre-published picture book author, wife, mother of 3 almost-adult children and Two Orange Pups, and avid gardener. The title of my blog pretty much sums it up: Wander, Ponder, Write – a KidLit Journey (www.patricianozell.com). That’s what I do, that’s what I enjoy.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Bird And The Baker

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch:  A rainbow-winged songbird forages each day for grain to feed her flock. But when a popular bakery opens in the nearby village, the grain disappears. As Bird bargains for grain, she must use her head or risk losing her natural gifts or flock.

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 Patricia 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!  Seriously, PLEASE!  I’m pretty sure the calendar is wide open from here on out, so we really need submissions!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  I am not kidding there are openings in April (which is PRACTICALLY HERE – see above 🙂 ) so you could get your pitch up for some helpful feedback very soon, and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

(On a side note, I’m thinking of writing a Straight From The Editor Saturday post just to catch us up since I have a whole pile of back-logged ones that came in from Erin this month.  Of course, that requires that I put together a Saturday post… so we shall see… 🙂 )

Patricia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to exploring the picture book possibilities of ALFRED T. REX VS. THE HEPTADECAGON because in the time it’s taken me to type down to the bottom of this post, I have decided that heptadecagon sounds more like a dragon than a dinosaur and a t-rex vs. a dragon would be a pretty good show down!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

28 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #206 – Bird And The Baker (PB)

  1. Erik says:

    Yes, I’d read it – I like the idea of the bird bargaining with the baker! I am slightly confused as to what’s meant by “losing her natural gifts”… unless there’s some magic involved, a la The Little Mermaid? A little clarity there might be helpful.

  2. Wendy says:

    I would read. I like the idea of the bargaining bird. Love the verb forage! But something about the pitch feels distancing . . .I’m wondering why the bird is responsible for the flock? Why is it more than the bird saving its own feathers? Does that element matter? Good luck! Birds are chirping here today–like Susanna I’m ignoring that threat of snow for next week. 🙂

    • ptnozell says:

      Very perceptive observation, Wendy. I’ve been so close to this story for so many months that it seems natural that Bird is, and feels, responsible for the entire group. This is more adult than child-like & is something that needs to change in both the pitch & the story. Thank you so much – and fingers crossed that the weather folks have the forecast wrong. This bird is ready for spring!

  3. heylookawriterfellow says:

    Yes, I would read it, but I found the second half of the pitch a little confusing. Is the bird bargaining with the baker? What are her “natural gifts” that she might lose if she is unsuccessful?

    Also, I tend to think of a “flock” as a huge gathering of birds, not just a single family. Is the songbird responsible for feeding others outside of her family unit?

    • ptnozell says:

      Bird is bargaining with the baker, so if you find that confusing, I should clarify. As I mentioned above to Wendy, tweeks are also in order to clarify that Bird isn’t responsible for an entire flock. Thank you for your helpful comments!

  4. Lynne Marie says:

    Hi — I would definitely read it and thought it was nice and tight. I did not find it confusing. I figured the bird was bargaining with the baker and that, perhaps, her flock was mad at her for doing so, so she had to achieve balance in this “new world.” As for the natural gifts — I liked that. I think a pitch should pique my interest and make me think about the book and want to read it to find out more. I think this pitch did exactly that for me. Nice job, PTNOZELL.

  5. Gabi Snyder says:

    Susanna, that Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie looks amazing and oh, so decadent!

    Patricia, I would definitely read your story. I love the title and I love that Bird is a “rainbow-winged songbird.” I didn’t find the pitch confusing, but I wonder if in that last line you might consider only listing one of the things Bird stands to lose — either her flock or her natural gifts, but not both.

    Good luck with this!

  6. Lisa Riddiough says:

    Hi Patricia,
    Yes, I would read it. It sounds lovely. I didn’t find the pitch confusing at all. Am I right in guessing that it also addresses urban sprawl? If yes, great layering. If not, you can tell that I like to make things up. lol.
    Great job.

    • ptnozell says:

      I love your comment about addressing urban sprawl, LIsa! While I confess to not thinking of that, I could see where an illustrator could add this layer to the story. Thank you!

  7. viviankirkfield says:

    I vote for beginning every day with this chocolate treat! Thanks, Susanna…and you fed my mind as well with the math info…yes, go and write that b
    ook now!!!

    Patricia…I would DEFINITELY read your story…your pitch is tight, but I think I agree with the others…I need a bit more clarification. I think we need to know a little about how she bargains…does she barter something else with him, help him bake, sing for her supper? How about:

    A rainbow-winged songbird forages each day for grain to feed her family. When a bakery opens in the nearby village, the grain disappears and Bird must (what are the things she does) as she tries to strike a bargain with the baker.

    • ptnozell says:

      Thank you Vivian! Bird trades her song & rainbow hues to the Baker in exchange for the grain. When he demands yet another of her natural attributes, she outwits him. Given the comment thread thus far, I think I will make the second sentence more straightforward.

  8. chattytcp says:

    Susanna – Ooh, la, la is right – anything with dark chocolate and salt has my attention!!!
    T-Rex vs anything that has a 12 letter name is a page turner…Go write that book :~)

    Hello Patricia – YES, I would read it.Ya gotta love a smart songbird. I enjoyed the vivid description of bird and my only suggestion, for what it is worth, would be to provide more description about the conflict between the songbird and the bakery and perhaps a hint about what the natural gift is…

    • ptnozell says:

      Thank you for your kind & perceptive comments. I’m glad that you view Bird as smart – she definitely uses her brains to outwit the baker. I plan to add more details in the second sentence, as it definitely is a theme that everyone wants more details.

  9. Sydney O'Neill says:

    Patricia, the rainbow-winged songbird immediately captured my attention. She sounds beautiful! I already want to read the story but think an editor might want clarification. Can grain be harvested without leaving seeds on the ground? (I don’t know, but if not, maybe say she could no longer find “enough” grain.) Does one bird actually feed a whole flock, or does she find food for them to feed themselves? The last sentence sounds vague to me. I’d like to know what her natural gifts are. Does she risk losing her flock through starvation, rebellion, dispersal, or something else? Good luck with revision. I’d love to see this little bird in a book!

    Susanna, there should be a law against posting a picture of irresistible Dark Chocolate Caramel Oreo Pie while I’m still recovering from an Easter candy binge. I’m trying not to look at the recipe but might have to do it in the name of researching heptadecagons.

  10. ptnozell says:

    Thanks so much, Sydney, for your kind & thoughtful comments. Usually, a few stalks and attached grains get left on the ground after harvesting. The point I’m trying to make is that the farmers are selling every last bit of grain to the baker due to the popularity of his wares. Not sure how to clarify that in a pitch, but I’ll revisit the story to make sure that’s clear. I’m also planning to restate the last sentence to make clear that Bird trades her song & rainbow-hued feathers for grain, but outwits the Baker when he requests one more payment.

  11. Coleen Patrick says:

    I would read! I like the title and am intrigued by the rainbow-winged songbird. 🙂
    And I like the sound of the t rex and the heptadecagon book. Also a heptadecagon brownie would be nice as I like the sound of a brownie with 17 crispy edges!

  12. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I love a hero songbird story, so YES – I would read this. Like a few of the commenters before me, I wonder what her natural gifts are, so you may want to sneak that into the pitch or hint at it in the first half. Between the birds and the bakery, this sounds like a fun project for an illustrator. Good luck with it!

  13. Keila Dawson says:

    I’d need a whole lotta chocolate and caramel to understand that math!

    Yes, sounds like a wonderful story with a great lesson for kids about greed and sharing!
    I see the who and the what your MC does, the conflict and motivation. Not sure you need “risk losing her natural gifts” because that throws in another problem. Feeding her flock is her problem, right?

    “A rainbow-winged songbird forages each day for grain to feed her flock. But a nearby bakery opens and uses/buys/takes all the grain, Bird must bargain for food. (example here instead of telling?)She must use her head, to save her flock.

    A rainbow-winged songbird forages each day for grain to feed her flock. But when a popular bakery opens in the nearby village, the grain disappears. As Bird bargains for grain, she must use her head or risk losing her natural gifts or flock.

    Good luck!

    • ptnozell says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by & especially for the “yes!” Previous commenters have given me some wonderful suggestions for strengthening the pitch & I can’t wait to revise it.

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