Would You Read It Wednesday #227 -Grandmother’s Parrots (PB) PLUS The May, June And July Pitch Pick Winners And Straight From The Editor!!!

Happy Wednesday to you, folks!

You know, I don’t when the world got so busy!  But it surely did!  Everyone but everyone seems to have more to manage than they can keep up with.  We all muddle along as best we can, but sometimes Straight From The Editors have to wait awhile until the editor in question has time to read and comment on the pitch!

I usually announce the pitch pick winners and tell them that their pitch is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her read and comments and they will hear from her shortly.  But THIS time, I sent the winning pitches to Erin and she replied before I got the post up, so today you get the whole shebang – pitch winners AND Straight From The Editor!

But, in our busy busy world, this time we’re AHEAD of schedule!  (Please take note and enjoy it… it’s not likely to ever happen again 🙂 )

So first off, the June Pitch Pick was won by Susan with her PB pitch for Bossy Bird.  Congratulations, Susan!!!  *confetti*  *multi-colored balloons*  *cheering from all sides!*

The July Pitch Pick was won by Robyn with her MG pitch for Fear On The Mountain.  Congratulations, Robyn!!!  *more confetti* *celebratory double-decker chocolate cupcakes*  *thunderous applause*

I’d also like to congratulate and thank all the other June and July pitchers who wrote strong pitches for amazing-sounding stories and then worked to revise their pitches based on your wonderful feedback.  It takes courage to share a pitch here!  And Would You Read It wouldn’t be what it is without all the  writers who put their work on the line, braving constructive criticism for the sake of their craft – so they can make their pitches stronger – and so all of us can learn.  Great job all of you!  Really!  And while I’m at it, I’d like to thank all of you for being so generous with your time and expertise, sharing your reactions, comments, advice and help each week to aid our pitchers on their quest for pitch perfection!  You are all lovely!!!

Moving right along, we’ve now got Straight From The Editor for May, June AND July!


May – Melissa – Walking With Memphis

You will recall Melissa’s winning pitch:

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.

Here are editor Erin Molta’s thoughts:

This sounds like a great story. However, if you’re calling it nonfiction then you can’t have the story from Memphis’s point of view. It needs to be an omniscient narrator. If it is “inspired” by a true story then it can be just a picture book and not nonfiction. Then you can keep it in the dog’s POV. Besides that, I have a slight tweak to suggest

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 journey to discover all that he was capable of and what it meant to be a lucky dog.

June – Susan – Bossy Bird (PB)

Here is Susan’s winning pitch:

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.

And here are Erin’s thoughts:

This is nice! I just have one tweak and that’s to add in that he’s been forced out, rather than he “leaves” the safety of the group because that makes it more clear that they didn’t want him, so him saving them from the creature has more resonance.

 Bossy Bird is the largest, loudest and bossiest bird of the bunch.  Then the fed up flock ruffles HIS feathers and forced him out.  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.

July – Robyn – Fear On The Mountain (MG)

Here is Robyn’s winning pitch:

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?

And here are Erin’s thoughts:

Sounds like it could be exciting. It might work better if you trim the extra info. and stick to the highlights. Also, no need to end on a question because that doesn’t actually make people want to read to find out the answer—since it’s pretty much a given, anyway.

 Best of luck!

What was supposed to be an idyllic birthday of fun and horseback riding turns into a nightmare.

Thirteen-year-old Anna, a diabetic, ends up lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina without her insulin bottle, thanks to the carelessness of Claire, her best friend.

When they must search for Claire’s horse, they find themselves lost with nighttime closing in. Wild animals, a storm, and (be specific about the injury) become a grueling test of survival that Anna and Claire must pass in order to get home.

As always, I find Erin’s perspective so helpful and enlightening, and I hope you all do too!

Wow!  That was A LOT of pitch winning and Straight-From-The-Editoring!  (It’s feast or famine around here in that department!)  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for Something Chocolate!  (aren’t I always? 🙂 )  How about some fresh, cinnamon-scented cider donuts?  Okay.  Technically not chocolate.  But I found them on a blog called Chocolate Chocolate And More, and it’s fall… and you all know my weakness for cider donuts…  So here are some – warm, cinnamon-sugary, and delicious to dunk into your coffee while you help today’s pitcher with her pitch – and I’ll give you some chocolate hot fudge sauce to go along with them 🙂


Recipe HERE at ChocolateChocolateAndMore (do not be fooled that the url mentions white chocolate caramel gingerbread cookie cups – which also sound delicious – the url is correct and has the donut recipe!)

Now go ahead!  Dip in hot fudge sauce to your chocolatey little heart’s content! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Patricia whom you may remember from her previous pitch for Bird And The Baker in March.  Patricia is a pre-published author and long-time 12×12 and PiBoIdMo participant. She primarily writes picture books, which she loved reading with her three children when they were young and hopes to read with grandchildren sometime in the future (the first wedding looms!). Patricia lives with her husband, an orange and white Toller pup, and more than 400 high school students at a New England boarding school. She loves travel and gardening.

Find her on twitter @ptntweets, or reviewing Perfect Picture Books at  Wander, Ponder, Write.  

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Grandmother’s Parrots

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 6-9)

The Pitch: Charlotte isn’t happy about her first solo overnight at Grandmother’s house. Grandmother is so old, and her house is so creepy! But when Charlotte discovers the joys of birdwatching and uncovers a secret from Grandmother’s past, Charlotte wishes she could stay much longer.

Grandmother’s Parrots explores the London Blitz from a child’s perspective and the origin of London’s parrot population.


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!  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!

Patricia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to enjoying the Season Of Cider Donuts (yes, I think it should be capitalized and celebrated as its own Season! 🙂 ) to the fullest possible extent!!!

Have a wonderful cider donut-filled Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


43 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #227 -Grandmother’s Parrots (PB) PLUS The May, June And July Pitch Pick Winners And Straight From The Editor!!!

  1. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I like it, and I would definitely read this. Is it historical fiction? Does her grandma teach her about bird watching? I think it would be tough to “discover” on her own. Also besides wanting to “stay,” Charlotte might want to come back soon/often. Good luck with it!

  2. David McMullin says:

    Yes I would read this. It appeals to my inner bird nerd, it has the element of history which is uncommon in PBs, and I see a great grandmother bonding story. Since historic is uncommon, I would move that information to the beginning for context. I also think your words could be tightened up a bit. “first solo overnight” feels wordy – so just “overnight,” or “first visit.” You could combine your first two sentences. Last, instead of saying “Charlotte isn’t …” say “Charlotte is … (scared, tentative, angry – I bet you could find a more exciting word than those three boring suggestions). I hope to read this some day.

  3. Jen Bagan says:

    Hmmmm … cider donuts, please!
    This sounds really unique and I would read it. I love the idea of the grandchild thinking she’ll have a horrible time and learning that sometimes what we think isn’t always true. The one thing I’d suggest is to bring the grandmother into it more … right now it seems like Charlotte is doing all of this on her own – the bird watching and discovering secrets. I think it would have more meaning if it was clear that her grandmother taught her about bird watching and maybe shared her secret willingly – rather than Charlotte discovering it. Good luck with this!

    • ptnozell says:

      Thank you, Jen. I struggled with the balance of Charlotte being the primary actor and Grandmother sharing her love of birdwatching and the secret she’s been concealing since childhood. I think you’re right – I swung the pendulum too far and minimize Grandmother’s role in the story.

  4. kathalsey says:

    I agree, Patricia, that you need Charlotte to be the primary actor, so it’s a hard balancing act. Maybe add a phrase like this somewhere in the pitch, “Together Charlotte and her grandmother…” I like the reordering of info, the Blitz is a very unusual subject and that deserves prominence. I am assuming the parrot population is connected to the war. I’d like to see that connection come out more. Not sure you need the old and scary part. If the setting is during the Blitz, wouldn’t that be scary enough for Charlotte? All the best on this, I’d read.

    • ptnozell says:

      Thanks, Kathy. I like your suggestion of adding “Together” as a ways of keeping Charlotte in the action while acknowledging Grandmother’s role, too.

      There are several theories about the origin of the London parrot population, with the WWII/Blitz timing one of the more popular. The Blitz scene in my story is a memory shared by Grandmother, so Charlotte doesn’t experience it firsthand. I may need to clarify that further.

  5. Gabi Snyder says:

    This sounds fascinating and I would definitely read it. I agree with others that mention of the London Blitz and the origin of London’s parrot population should come earlier. Also, while discovering the joys of bird watching and uncovering a secret from her grandmother’s past COULD happen on one overnight, I feel like it’d be more believable and moving if it happened over the course of a longer visit. Or am I misreading this and “overnight” here means more than one night?

    Good luck with this intriguing pitch!

  6. Judy Sobanski says:

    Cider donuts would hit the spot today!…
    Patricia – Your story sounds interesting. I would definitely read it! Your pitch is on the right path. Perhaps you could leave out “solo” as it sounds as if Charlotte has stayed overnight before with a cousin or sibling. I agree with others that bringing the grandmother in more and suggesting that the grandmother and Charlotte develop a relationship through the birdwatching would be better. If the WWII/Blitz angle is important to the story then I agree that maybe those elements should be introduced into the pitch sooner. Good luck!

  7. viviankirkfield says:

    First off, congrats to al of the pitch winners…the stories in each of the contests were fabulous…and I hope all of the writers pursue the journey to publication with them. And thanks to editor Erin for the wonderful feedback and pitch tixes…so helpful to see how just a word or two can make a pitch so much stronger. 🙂

    And no worries about the lack of chocolate on the donuts, Susanna…I’ll be having mine with hot chocolate anyway. 😉

    Patricia…I LOVE your story…I actually can’t wait to read this…is it nonfiction? Or historical fiction? I’d LOVE to hear how London’s parrot population started. And the setting of the London blitz sounds fascinating. I do think you might be able to combine the first part of your pitch with the second part to make it one cohesive thought: I made up some of the ideas because I don’t know what your story is really about, but you can substitute the correct info.

    Charlotte wants to be brave, but she is spending her first solo overnight at Grandmother’s creepy old house, in the middle of the London Blitz. When Charlotte climbs the attic stairs, she discovers a secret from Grandmother’s past, the joys of birdwatching, and a courage she never knew she had.

    Of course,I don’t know if she climbed the attic stairs…or if she discovered a courage she never knew she had…but I’m assuming she was scared to be in the creepy old house during the blitz..and perhaps that is how Charlotte changes by the end of the story. If she wasn’t scared, perhaps you can substitute whatever emotion she was feeling. Hope my thoughts are helpful, Patricia…I totally think this needs to be a book.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Now, see Vivian? I always forget about hot chocolate! I’m such a coffee drinker. And you’re right! Hot chocolate would be perfect with cider donuts! Now I have a plan for Saturday morning breakfast… 🙂 Thank you so much for you thorough and thoughtful comments for Patricia including your pitch suggestion!

  8. ptnozell says:

    Thank you, Vivian, for your positive reaction & comments. This story is fiction and actually takes place in the present day, but Grandmother was a little girl, living in the same house, during the Blitz. Charlotte’s growing interest in the birds, and in particular the parrots, leads Grandmother to divulge a secret from her past that she hadn’t shared with anyone since the Blitz. I’m trying to use the granddaughter/grandmother relationship and the birds as ways to broach the topic of the Blitz and explore emotions such as fear. And the parrots really are in London now, so this is partly an origin myth, too.

  9. Noel Csermak says:

    Hello Patricia, What wonderful feedback you have received. I think you have a solid premise and an enticing pitch I would definitely read it and I can only imagine how great the illustrations will be.
    My only area for tightening that has yet to be mentioned is: But when Charlotte discovers the joys of birdwatching – it seems to me that there are very few children that will “discover” the joys of birdwatching on their own. It is a quiet and often solitary activity, but also one that is introduced to novices through experienced birders or perhaps through finding antique binoculars.
    Wishing you great success with this original story idea.

    • ptnozell says:

      Thank you, Noel, for liking the premise and pitch. So true about birdwatching, and so true, too, that “discover” implies that Charlotte starts watching birds on her own. In the story, it’s Grandmother who is the avid birdwatcher/lover, who seeks to share her love with Charlotte. I think I need to make that clearer in my pitch.

      • Noel Csermak says:

        It feels like an opportunity to introduce the sharing/caring relationship between Charlotte and her grandmother. By the end of all the feedback you will have a great pitch that will align with your vision of the story and will provide the opportunity to captivate an agent or publisher. Looking forward to hearing about your future success.

  10. Angela Brown says:

    Thanks so much to Erin for the great advice on the pitches. Gives me some things to think about.

    Today’s pitch would capture my attention and I’d be interested in reading it. Great comments have already touched on how to improve so no “parroting” needed (cue the pun drum and cymbal lol!)

  11. Susan Schade says:

    Yes, I would read it. Your pitch is good, with just enough info to make me want to read on. I have one suggestion, Instead of pointing out that Grandmother is so “old” what about “old fashioned.” I suspect your MC’s discovers will have more to do with what they have in common, instead of age. Nice job!

  12. Lisa Riddiough says:

    Hi Patricia! Yes, I would definitely read this. I really think you did a great job with this pitch. The notion of the story being set against the backdrop of the London Blitz is very interesting. Good job!!

  13. Robyn Campbell says:

    Thanks, Sus. The information Erin gave me was crucial as I query that story. She is FANTABULOUS! But then again, so are you. I wanted to let you know that. I am very thankful that the writers voted for my pitch. I needed help on that.

    DONUTS. Me and Erik. YEAH. I would definitely read this, Patricia. It sounds fantastic. One thing confuses me. Is it just an overnight visit? It seems like a lot is going on in the story for one night? The pitch is tight. Love it. Great job.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Congratulations, Rob! You deserved it! That story sounds so good – I totally want to read it! – so hopefully Erin’s feedback will help you get it published!! 🙂 I don’t need to tell you to help yourself to as many donuts as you like – mi casa es su casa and all that 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts for Patricia!

  14. ptnozell says:

    Thanks, Robyn, and congratulations again on being a pitch-pick winner! While the pitch envisions just an overnight, I’ve had several comments indicating that the timeline is too condensed. The story started out as a several-days visit, & I think I cut too much time out.

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