Would You Read It Wednesday # 226 – Madeleine’s Crowning Moment (PB) PLUS The June And July Pitch Picks!!!

Good Morning, Everyone!

It’s Hope-You-Ate-Your-Wheaties Wednesday today!

We have A LOT to do!

(Which means you are excused from me waxing poetic about tomorrow being the first day of Autumn… or doing any form of interpretive dance to celebrate the very-nearly-here season premiere of Gray’s Anatomy… or practicing my sheep-song-in-progress which I’m composing in anticipation of the upcoming NYS Sheep & Wool Festival… or any of my other tomfoolery… because we have no extra time!  Lucky you 🙂 )

So let’s get right down to it, shall we?

You’ll be thrilled to know that at long last we are ready for the June and July Pitch Picks, so here goes!  (And a little side note: I don’t want to influence your choices by telling you which ones, but one of these pitches is for a story that has since sold for publication, and one of them earned its author a contract with an agent!  How awesome is that?  WYRI and all the help you guys give each other is really paying off! 🙂 )

June Pitch Pick

Please read through the 5 pitches below and then vote for the one you think most deserving of a read and critique from editor Erin Molta by Sunday September 25 at 5 PM EDT.  Winner will be announced next Wednesday (Sept.28)

#1 Susan – BOSSY BIRD (PB ages 3-8)

Bossy Bird is the largest, loudest and bossiest bird of the bunch.  When the fed up flock ruffles HIS feathers, he leaves the safety of the group.  With danger crouching around the corner, Bossy Bird must find a way to save the birds that sent him away and discovers that being the boss is not as important as being a friend.


Bogie wakes up to a strange new smell in his puppy nose. He goes to investigate and discovers a tray of paint in the living room. He dives in and enjoys the wonderful new scent and texture.

His brother discovers a paint soaked Bogie and decides to get him cleaned off before their parents return. His brother uses Bogie’s favorite toys and food to lure him into the bath with no luck. What will it take to give Bogie a bath, or is he destined to remain a colorful pooch forever?

#3 Sam – Crab And Gull (PB ages 4-8)

Gull wants Crab’s sandwich. Crab wants Gull to leave him and his sandwich alone. But when Gull goes missing, Crab’s treat just doesn’t taste as sweet. He packs up his food in search of Gull, and finds that sometimes cooking up a friendship a more important than cooking up a seaweed sandwich.

#4 Lindsay – BREAKDANCE BERTIE (PB ages 3-8)

With a grand-prize pool at stake, Bertie the emu wants to wiggle her way to victory in a breakdancing competition, but when hail destroys the boombox, Bertie and her barnyard pals must build their own beat.

#5 Lydia – Dancing Through Space (PB ages 3-7)

3-2-1- Blast off! Dr. Mae Jemison launches into space and accomplishes her childhood dream. Despite challenges along the way, she never gave up and went on to become the first African-American woman to orbit the earth.

July Pitch Pick

Please read through the 4 pitches below and then vote for the one you think most deserving of a read and critique from editor Erin Molta by Sunday September 25 at 5 PM EDT.  Winner will be announced next Wednesday (Sept. 28)

#1 Susan – PIZZA FOR THANKSGIVING? (PB ages 3-8)

As Thanksgiving approaches, Lennie is determined to save himself and the other turkeys from their dinner fate.  After his adoption plan, escape attempt and turkey slim down plan fall short, the gobbler must turn the tables with a dinner scheme that will deliver the rescue they need before they all become the main course.



CAMP CRAZY MEATBALLS is a zany picture book about siblings Matt and Morgan. Mom insists they go to camp for a week to break their routine of TV and computer games. But this camp isn’t quite what the kids expected. First, the counselors are talking animals, and second, everything—and I mean EVERYTHING— is made out of meatballs. Even their beds! And meatballs is the only thing on the menu! At first, the kids are thrilled—what kid doesn’t like meatballs—but meatballs morning, noon and night soon drives everyone crazy. In the end, the kids dream up a clever way to solve the dilemma and develop a new appreciation for broccoli.

#3 Robyn – FEAR ON THE MOUNTAIN (Upper MG ages 9-12)

What was supposed to be an idyllic birthday of fun and horseback riding becomes a grueling test of survival.
Thirteen-year-old Anna, a diabetic, doesn’t plan on getting lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina without her insulin bottle. But that’s what happens, thanks to the carelessness of Claire, her best friend.
When Claire’s horse gets loose they leave the trail to find him. They find themselves lost with nighttime closing in. Wild animals, a storm, and devastating injuries won’t stop Anna from searching for a way down the mountain. Or will they?


#4 Amy – Grizzie Moon Does NOT Like Cats! (PB ages 3-6)

When Bob the cat accidentally ruins Grizzie Moon’s extraordinary ghoul stew, he must find a way to save the recipe and win the favor of this persnickety witch before her Stitch and Witch Club arrives.

Phew!  All that reading and trying to decide which of those amazing pitches is the MOST amazing and deserves your vote is hard work!  I think it’s time for Something Chocolate (though of course when do I ever NOT think that? 🙂 )  How about some No Bake Brownie Batter Cheesecake?!

I thought you’d like that!  How can you go wrong when the title includes the words “no bake”, “brownie batter” and cheesecake”?

I believe second helpings are in order… there were TWO pitch picks after all… 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Tina who says, “I am Tina  Shepardson , age 50, completing my 27 th year of teaching . Currently I teach grade 6, most of those years have been in the middle school level . My husband and I have a 13 year old daughter , Payton. Our other children are 2 furry Akitas , a breed we adore.  I am working on my next career as it would be a dream co e true to write and visit children and teach in a different way.”

Find her on the web at https://www.facebook.com/tinamshepardson

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Madeleine’s Crowning Moment

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

The Pitch: Madeleine, a dog living in a shelter is looking for a sense of belonging and desire to make a difference. She has always wanted to compete in a pageant and discovers and opportunity to compete . Her experience leads her to learn a great deal about others . Will she achieve her goals and make a difference?

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 Tina 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 have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Tina is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to getting my kitchen sink fixed!  The sprayer broke, so every time I turn the water on, the sprayer sprays wildly and no water whatsoever comes out of the faucet.  It’s like an April Fool prank every time 🙂  The plumber assures me he can come fix it Saturday (by which point I will probably have soaked every item of clothing I possess by turning the water on with my mind on whatever story I’m writing and forgetting about that sprayer 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


38 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday # 226 – Madeleine’s Crowning Moment (PB) PLUS The June And July Pitch Picks!!!

  1. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I would definitely read this, Tina. I can’t resist a good dog story after all. To tighten, you can start by saying, “Shelter dog, Madeline…” I’d really like to know more about the “pageant” that Madeline longs for and how it will make a difference. Is it a dog show? Screening for therapy work? A charity walk? Or something else. A few more details would help the reader commit to the goal as well. Good luck with it.

  2. Katie says:

    I might read this with some more specifics. Some carefully chosen hints about what it means for her to “make a difference” and what she learns about others (good things? Bad things?) would help us better understand what’s in store for the reader. Just enough details to hook us…. Good luck with your story!

  3. Wendy says:

    Two words for you, Susanna. Duct tape.
    I’m intrigued by the pitch, but not sure what the story is yet. Perhaps combine the first two sentences? Something like Shelter dog, Madeline has always wanted to compete in a pageant. Then tell us why (which should reveal if it is a people pageant or a doggie one, I wasn’t sure!). Good luck!

  4. kathalsey says:

    I agree with the comment above. I love shelter dog stories and have a rescue Corgi, myself. It’s said that question used in pitches are not likely to snag agents/editors, so rework your final sentence. I like the idea of a dog walk or a beauty pageant to raise money for other dogs as the way to make a difference. Also brainstorm a list of dog words to use in the pitch to give it a bit of oomph and spark. Good luck with this.

  5. ptnozell says:

    What a busy morning, Susanna! Two pitch picks AND a new one to critique. This may call for third breakfast.

    Like my dog-loving friends who already have commented, I would read this story, Tina, but would like more details about the crown in the title & making a difference. Also, most shelter dogs desire a family; how does being in a pageant relate to that desire?

  6. Lisa Riddiough says:

    Hi Tina, Yes, I think I would read this story. I like the idea of dog who really wants to be in a pageant. I can picture amazing illustrations of all the competitors. I am wondering if you can give us a hint about what obstacles she comes up against and where the tension would be, too. Is it the fact that she has to get out of the shelter first? Is it all the other contestants? I agree that we also might want a hint of what she learns as well. Good luck!!

  7. Gregory E Bray says:

    Most of my stories are about or involve animals. So I would read this. As mentioned above by others, a little more detail about the pageant, her experiences and goals will make this a winner. =) Good luck!

  8. Susan Schade says:

    Yes, I would read this. Dog stories are always a favorite at our house. I felt like “desire to make a difference” was too vague. What does Madeleine really want? I also wondered what kind of contest. (I was picturing something funny like “The Voice” for dogs.) What about something like, “Madeleine dreams of the upcoming ( what kind) pageant. A dream that seems beyond her reach from within the dog shelter that she lives. When the opportunity arises, she leaps at the chance to compete. She must (whatever she does) and finds or learns (sense of belonging, what she does to make a difference.)
    Just to give you an idea to format what you have a little differently. Good luck!

  9. Pj McIlvaine says:

    Maybe, but the pitch needs work. When you think of dogs in a show, I think of a dog show like Westminster, so to say “pageant” throws me off. As the pitch reads now, there’s not enough details for me to “see” the PB in my head. Also, I don’t get a sense of what the takeaway would be for the reader. Again, details.

  10. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I love dog stories… but I’m inclined to agree with PJ – I got thrown by “pageant”. I’m thinking “Miss America?” when maybe it should be a dog fashion show or some other kind of show. Having said that – I would read on.

  11. Keila Dawson says:

    Madeleine, a dog living in a shelter is looking for a sense of belonging and desire to make a difference. She has always wanted to compete in a pageant and discovers and opportunity to compete . Her experience leads her to learn a great deal about others . Will she achieve her goals and make a difference?

    Double dessert? Guilty!

    I have a soft spot for shelter dogs. Is her belonging, the pageant, her experience connected to her goal of making a difference? Maybe a hint at something more specific can show where you are going with this. A couple details would help clarify. I think the ”belonging” throws me off. Perhaps a hint at the conflict will help. “Madeleine is a shelter dog with a desire to win a pageant that (benefits the shelter?) but…..

    Good luck!

  12. Janet R Webb says:

    I am a maybe. We all need to learn from others. I think the following needs to be answered in the pitch:

    Madeleine is a shelter Dog who wants more than anything to _____________but can’t because_________ until_________________happens.

  13. Angela Brown says:

    My vote has been cast and enjoyed that slice of chocolate heaven. As for today’s pitch, it sounds so heartfelt that I would read it. From reviewing the comments, there’s no more that I would recommend to improve on the pitch.

  14. Robyn Campbell says:

    WOW, your blog loaded. Mine won’t load now. 😦 Turns out it isn’t your blog. It’s my internet. UGH. So I have been having pity me party. I love that cheesecake as a celebration for my party.
    The entire cheesecake.

    Hello, Tina, I think I would read it. But I am stumped as to the pageant and where it fits in. Shelter dogs want to be adopted more than anything. We are a rescue family. So I’m not sure I understand. Maybe Madeleine learns to care about others and that is the takeaway PJ was talking about? You say Madeleine learns about others. Did you mean she learns to CARE? I think you could add a little to the pitch. Details, details, details. 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Don’t even get me started about internet, Rob! I can totally sympathize! I have to go down to the library now when there’s anything at all busy I need to do, like schedule the month of classes for MPBM or post my blog. I love living in the boondocks… but I wish it came with reliable lightning fast internet! 🙂 I’m glad the cake helped you out though! Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Tina!

  15. shannonstocker says:

    Hi Tina! I might read it, but there are a few things I’m not understanding. Why does the dog live in a shelter, for example? Is that relevant? Perhaps all that matters would be to say that she is a stray. Without knowing the complete story, though, I can only guess. I think it would be helpful to outline your story in a way that highlights the climax, too. What are the stakes? That was the piece that I felt was really missing. Best of luck to you!

  16. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Well, it’s good to be back! And coming back to sooo much!! Wow! It was tough, but I voted.

    I’m not sure I would get past the pitch for the dog story. To me, a pageant evokes the word “beauty,” and not in a good way. It gives me the feeling of something passive happening to the person/animal who take part in the pageant and are judged whether they will make the cut by others. Also, the “what’s it about” ideas seem a little muddled to me. The dog wants to make a difference AND wants to belong. But the focus then turns to learning a lot about others before coming back around to achieving those first two goals. I would like to see more specifics about what actually happens (and maybe a name change) for the “pageant.” What actions does the dog take? How does the dog try and fail? What is the dogs definition of “making a difference”? Can you turn “making a difference” into a concrete action? Hope this helps! Cheers!

  17. Yvette Elrod says:

    I have nothing to add other than thanks for the opportunity to learn so much through all the comments. Now I’m gonna sneak a snack pack pudding I’ve been hiding for just such an occasion. Living vicariously through chocolate!

  18. viviankirkfield says:

    Oh dear….I am late to the WYRIW party…it is the wee hours of Friday morning already!
    But I voted! And enjoyed the lovely chocolate treat you provided, Susanna.
    And now for Tina’s pitch…YES, I would definitely read this story…I mean, you’ve got a pooch who wants to compete in a pageant…the illustrations would be really cute.
    But I think you need to tell us a bit more in your pitch…using specifics, Tina:There seems to be a lot going on…what is the main thrust of the story? I think Janet gave you a great template to us for your pitch.

  19. David McMullin says:

    As soon as I can get myself to a store, I am making that cheese cake! (I’ll actually make it at home.) I don’t have many original thoughts after all of the great comments above, but here goes. When I see ‘shelter dog’ I immediately wonder about her getting out, and there is no indication if this will or will not happen. You use the word ‘compete’ twice in your second sentence, but I think that could be fixed if you combine your first two sentences – that would leave you a little more room to get more specific on the action. This story would be of interest to me. The MC seems super cute.

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