Would You Read It Wednesday #218 Breakdance Bertie- PLUS The May Pitch Pick

Happy Wednesday, Folks!  And Happy Summer!  Because now it officially is 🙂

I tell you, it’s a miracle I even got this post written!  Yesterday was every kind of crazy!  First, the junk guy showed up so we could clear out our basement (you know, to make it easier to paddle the canoe when it rains and the basement floods 🙂 ).  This involved removing the protective tarp from the bulkhead doors (vain attempt NOT to have basement floods 🙂 ).  Luckily, there were no snakes in the bulkhead stairway… but you never know until you open it and look in!  So you get the thrill of that I-may-suffer-palpitations-at-any-moment feeling 🙂

However, fussing around with the bulkhead stairway brought us in close proximity to the newly installed propane regulator… which allowed us to smell gas… which we should NOT… so we had to call about having it checked.  They wanted us to call the Fire Department!  LOOOOOONG “discussion” about whether that was really necessary culminating in the gas company guy showing up unannounced at 9 PM… only to say that he’d be back tomorrow to check it out properly!  So we got the additional thrill of that the-house-may-explode-at-any-moment feeling!

But being outside at 9 PM I heard noise and saw lights at our neighbor’s house… which is for sale and supposed to be empty… and it sounded more like a party than a poltergeist… which had to be investigated…and though by the time I got there the party was over, circumstances were such that the sheriff still had to be called… resulting eventually in the thrill of realizing I have become Gladys Kravitz (Bewitched) and Mrs. Rachel Lynde (Anne of Green Gables) and every other nosy-busy-body-crotchety-old-neighborhood-spy-wannabe rolled into one!

So.  Like I said.  Miracle right here! 🙂

Let’s get to it, shall we?

First, the May Pitch Pick.  Please read through the superb revised pitches below and then vote for your favorite.

#1 Susan – Bossy Bird (Picture Book ages 3-8)
Bossy Bird is the largest, loudest and bossiest bird of the bunch.  When the fed up flock sends him away, they lose their lookout and leave themselves open to the hungry neighborhood cat.  With danger crouching around the corner, Bossy Bird will discover that being the boss is not as important as being a friend and the others will learn that getting along is part of being a team.

#2 Sherry – Squirrelly Curly (Picture Book ages 4-8)
Three squirrel brothers need a home for the winter, but while Mo and Larry build nests, Curly pelts them with acorns and snatches nesting materials for his snow sports. When varmints and weather destroy their nests, it’s up to Curly to lead them to the safety of a nest and the scrumptious acorn feast he’s squirreled away for hard times. In this Three Little Pigs re-telling, varmints and an ice storm replace the wolf.

#3 Melissa – Walking With Memphis: Inspired By A Real Dog (Nonfiction Picture Book ages 3-8)
When Memphis becomes paralyzed and loses his wag, he must learn to walk with a wheelchair. He worries his dog days will never be the same, but he digs up the courage to embark on an adventurous discovery of all that he is capable of and what it means to be a lucky dog.

#4 Shae – Avocado Desperado (Picture Book ages 4-8)
Roll with the other avocados? Avocado Desperado? Ha, never! Until he realizes not every problem can be solved alone, especially those that start with guaca and end with mole.

Please vote in the poll below for the pitch you think is best and most deserves a read an comments from editor Erin Molta!  Please cast your vote by Sunday June 26 at 5 PM EDT, and I’ll announce the winner next week!

Now then, for today’s Something Chocolate, how about Strawberry Shortcake?  I know… technically it’s not chocolate 🙂  But the strawberries are SO GOOD in June it seems a shame not to take advantage of them.  And strawberries make for a VERY healthy breakfast.  And you can always put some chocolate sauce on your strawberry shortcake! 🙂


Strawberry Shortcake recipe HERE at Iowa Girl Eats

Don’t you feel healthful and virtuous after that exceptionally nutritious breakfast-y type snack? 🙂

Alrighty then!  Onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lindsay who says, “When I’m not cleaning up the unsavory messes of my two little boys, Cavalier King Charles pup and two cats, you can find me writing picture books. I’m a former newspaper and magazine editor, so it makes sense that I love to revise and critique. Here is for the manuscript I developed in Susanna’s excellent course, Making Picture Book Magic. This is my first submission for Would You Read It Wednesday!”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Breakdance Bertie

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8 )

The Pitch: Bertie the emu can’t help but wiggle to the beat blaring through the barnyard. When her human friend Jeannie tells her about an online breakdancing competition, Bertie decides to go for the grand-prize pool. She tries to practice her hops and drops Monday through Friday, but Jeannie and the boom box aren’t always around, and the other animals lose patience when Bertie’s hops flop. Calamity sends Jeannie running just before deadline and leaves Bertie and the animals to build their own beat.

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 Lindsay 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 Would You Read It in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in October, so you’ve got a little time to tweak your pitch to perfection and then get it up for some helpful feedback and a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Lindsay is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Pitch Pick!  It’s going to be a tough choice! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

27 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #218 Breakdance Bertie- PLUS The May Pitch Pick

  1. Gabi Snyder says:

    I would definitely read it. Great pitch! I love the idea of a breakdancing emu.

    I think you could streamline it a bit. Maybe you could try plugging into a pitch formula. Here’s one from Emma Walton that might work:
    HERO wants more than anything to _____, but he can’t because _______, so he ATTEMPTS TO
    GET WHAT HE WANTS, and learns THEME.
    So maybe you’d end up with something like, “Bertie the emu wants to wiggle her way to victory in the breakdancing competition, but when calamity sends her human friend Jeannie running just before deadline, Bertie and the other animals must build their own beat.”
    I may have shortened it too much and removed elements you want to highlight, but I hope that gives you an idea of how you might tighten a bit.
    Good luck with this super fun story!

  2. Gregory E Bray says:

    Sounds like a winner to me. My son would like this a lot. I like Gabi’s edit above. Not sure if it’s necessary, but maybe describe the calamity which makes Jeannie unavailable.

  3. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, possible snakes, potential party, perhaps a Kaboom, but house still standing – what a day you survived! Whew! And you even had time to whip up a seasonal sweet.

    Lindsay, I definitely would read this, if for no other reason than to see what a break dancing emu looks like. What wonderful illustration possibilities!

    I agree with Gabi’s edits; and since you have shortened the pitch so much, you may want to add a comp title or two: ____ meets _____. One that comes to mind is Punk Farm.

  4. transego says:

    I would read it, and I love the alliteration of the first line. Still, I do think that it’s a bit wordy though.

  5. ingridboydston says:

    I also liked this pitch. The book it brought to my mind is Giraffes Can’t Dance, one of my all time favorites. Not sure if today’s audience will know what a boom box is? That may need revising, updating? Best wishes!

  6. viviankirkfield says:

    Great pitches made it hard to vote…but I did!
    And then I had a huge piece of your virtual gluten free incredible treat! Thanks, Susanna!

    I love the story…and would definitely read it, Lindsay. An emu…that’s unique! Question: does Jeannie play the boom box all the time, or is the blaring beat in the barnyard caused by the other animal sounds?
    I’m sure you’ll get lots of better suggestions to tighten the pitch, but here’s one idea.

    Bertie the emu plans to win first prize in a breakdancing competition. When calamity strikes and her human friend Jeannie takes off with the boom box, Bertie must organize the other animals into a barnyard band so she can practice her hops and drops.

  7. shaelynberg says:

    Lindsay, I would absolutely read this story! An Emu break dancing? It’s such a fun and fresh idea.

    As others commented above, I think the amount of detail in the pitch takes away from the main theme. I had to read the pitch a few times before I uncovered what the story was about. Maybe simplify to something like “but without a boombox, Bertie’s practice hops flop.”

    If those details are essential, I suggest clarifying. For example, I couldn’t figure out whether Bertie and Jeannie work together to win the competition. From the first half of the pitch, it sounds like they may be working separately since Jeannie tells Bertie about the competition and Bertie decides to go for the grand-prize pool. It seems like Jeannie inspired Bertie to enter on her own. But in the second half, it seems like they’re on the same team.

    If they are in fact working together to win, I think this is easily fixed by saying something like “Jeannie invites Bertie to compete” or something along those lines. That will clarify those details.

    Again, this sounds so cute! I hope to read it some day. 🙂

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    Oh my goodness Susanna! What a day. You deserve cake and more.

    Cute story idea. Love the choice of an emu. Unique! Yes, I would read it. Agree with tightening, a bit wordy. Vivan made a great suggestion. Another mentor text if you haven’t read it already is Chicken Dance by Tammy Sauer. Good luck!

  9. Sherry Howard says:

    What an eventful day! None of it sounds like much fun!

    A dancing emu! This sounds like a fun read. You already have some great suggestions. Yes, I’d enjoy reading this, and seeing illustrations!

  10. Robyn Campbell says:

    *waves* Sus, that cake looks so healthy. I mean come on. Shall we? *wink*

    Lindsay, wow, what a fabulous story. LOVE. I would read it. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to read it in its book form someday soon. *hugs* I would shorten the pitch just a hair. Not sure Jeanine should get so many mentions. Maybe take those three lines and streamline them into one. Make it all about Bertie. It is her story after all. As it stands, it’s a little confusing with all the details included.

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