Would You Read It Wednesday #233 – Harry’s Magic (PB)


Hi Everyone!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday, and since every day is a good day to improve our vocabulary, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I have decided that the word of the day is snood.

Say it with me:


Fun, isn’t it?


Rolls right off the tongue! 🙂

And in case you’re wondering what the heck that has to do with Thanksgiving what a snood is, it’s that hangy thing on a turkey’s nose – kind of at the top of its beak.  (Not to be confused with the wattle which is the hangy thing under its chin 🙂 )

Ah, the majestic turkey!


Because majestic is the word that comes to mind when describing a creature who seems a little too large for its legs and is covered in bizarre hangy things 🙂

But seriously.  We have lots of wild turkeys in our neck of the woods and they’re pretty cool in real life.  Did you know that an adult wild turkey has about 5,500 feathers, including the 18 special ones that make up the male’s beautiful fan?  That a turkey’s field of vision is 270 degrees and they can see in color?  That turkeys can swim (although they don’t do it often!)?  And that a wild turkey can run up to 25 miles per hour when necessity dictates (like when Scout and Jemma are chasing them 🙂 ) and fly up to 55 miles per hour?  (And you thought they couldn’t get off the ground!  They can… but it’s pretty funny to watch 🙂 )

And they have snoods.

What could be better?

Alrighty, then!  Now that we’ve all learned a little something about the wonder that is turkey, I think it’s time for Something Chocolate!  (It probably should be a chocolate turkey, but why go with the predictable? 🙂 )

I invite you all to join me for a delicious breakfast of Peanut Butter Fudge Cake!

Health food, as you can see, since peanut butter is protein and chocolate (from the cocoa bean) is a vegetable, and there are clearly whole grains involved in anything with the word “cake” in it 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Anne who says, “My name is Anne Sawan. I am a writer and a member of SCBWI New England. My picture book, “What Can Your Grandmother Do?” won the International Picture Book Contest held by Inclusive Works in 2014, was recently released in Europe and will be published in the USA by Clavis Publishing this spring. I also have several ebooks on MeeGenius: When Santa Was Small, The Baseball Game, The Great Adventure Brothers and The Halloween Costume. Some of my other writing has been featured on Brain-Child, Adoptive Families, The Mid, Scary Mommy and Blunt Moms.”

Find her on the web at https://agsawan.wordpress.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:  Harry’s Magic

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

The Pitch: Eliza wakes up on the wrong side of the bed feeling quite grumpy, almost as if a monster has taken over her body. Her brother Harry says will cast a magical spell to drive out the angry beast and restore Eliza to her sweet, silly self.  This 560 word, rhyming picture book will have children ages 4-8 laughing as they watch Eliza running about gathering up all of the necessary and ridiculous ingredients for Harry’s magic potion, but will Harry be able to save his sister in time?

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?  (And for those of you whose mouths are stuck with peanut butter from the delicious breakfast above, you may be excused for a glass of milk so you can come back and tell Anne what you think 🙂 )

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 Anne 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 January, 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!

Anne is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to having a houseful of family – some of whom have already arrived, the rest of whom are coming – the people I love and for whom I am truly thankful!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

And Happy Thanksgiving!!! 🙂


16 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #233 – Harry’s Magic (PB)

  1. Norah says:

    Oh, Susanna, thank you for that delicious healthy breakfast! Yum! I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.
    Thank you for all the interesting turkey facts. We have some wild turkeys around here too. I wonder if they are similar. I’ll have to check it out.
    I enjoyed Anne’s pitch and think it’s a great premise for a book. I’m sure Eliza won’t have time to remain grumpy as she runs around collecting items on Harry’s list. Rhymes are always popular with young children, and I think the hidden message about choosing one’s feelings or distracting oneself is a good one.

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    Love your turkeyfacts, Susanna. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Great pitch that sounds a fun story. I would elaborate on the ticking time bomb. In time for what? Where is the urgency? Relying on a brother to save you is really funny.

  3. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Thanks for the turkey tidbits…they will make great dinner conversation as we gobble gobble! As for the pitch, yes! I would read it! It sounds fun ad has piqued my curiosity of what he will need for his concoction! As for changes, my only suggestions might be the character’s name in the title seems a bit too reminiscent of the Harry POtter books for me. Also, I wonder if the part about a monster overtaking her might be left to just having a bad case of the grumpies overtaken her. Sounds a little less demon possessed and scary for sensitive kids…but that’s just me,. I’m sure most people would be fine with the ‘monster’! Lastly, I wonder if you might find a way to indicate that the story hilarious without the phrase “will have kids laughing”….might be a little trite for the editors. Best of luck! I think you have a fantastic story idea and can’t wait to read it some day!😀

  4. Wendy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susanna!
    Good comments already for Anne. I too had a question about what the stakes were–“in time” for what? Maybe leave the word rhyming out also, and let an editor/agent discover this in reading because some say they don’t like rhymers and might not give it a chance. Unless Eliza literally wakes up on the wrong side of bed, saying she wakes up grumpy is probably enough and would tighten the pitch.

  5. ptnozell says:

    Thank you, Susanna, for sharing your wealth of turkey knowledge; I’m hoping the family will be so impressed with my new-found wisdom, they won’t notice if the dinner turns out less than picture perfect!

    Anne, I would read this, as I think the premise of a brother actually helping a sister is funny & will resonate with kids. I was a bit thrown, though, that the pitch starts with Eliza, when the title includes Harry, not Eliza (I also agree with the comment above about being too close to the Potter magic). I’d suggest starting: When Harry discovers that Eliza has…

    I also think you can leave the word count out of the pitch, but I’d leave in “rhyming”, as agents/editors want to know that, even though they raise the bar for rhyming PBs so high.

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

  6. Elaine Kiely Kearns says:

    Oh, Susanna! If they had this at McKinney and Doyle’s we would live there! Seriously considering making this for dessert tomorrow! Thanks!

    As for the pitch, I would be interested in reading this but like Wendy, I am confused as to the stakes. She doesn’t mention “time” until the end of the pitch so unless there is an element of time in the ms, I would drop it. I also agree with Wendy (Hi, Wendy! :D) that she should drop the rhyme in the description and let an agent discover it for themselves.

    Good luck with this, Anne!

  7. Linda Evans Hofke says:

    I would read it. The story concept is interesting and especially the ” running about gathering up all of the necessary and ridiculous ingredients”. Action + silliness = fun to read.

    As for improvements, I would end the first sentence after grumpy. (“almost as if a monster has taken over her body” isn’t really needed, in my opinion.)

    The one question I am asking myself is… if Harry is making the potion why does Eliza have to run around gathering the ingredients. Doesn’t he help?

  8. katmaz2012 says:

    Maybe, I like the concept of magic and siblings, but wonder if there is a set up for Eliza being grumpy. Usually kids aren’t aware that they are grumpy and aren’t inclined to do anything about it.

  9. viviankirkfield says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susanna! Have fun with your family! And thanks for the peanut butter treat. 🙂

    I would definitely read your story, Anne..I love the idea of a brother trying to help his sister with a magic spell…but is the story about Harry or about Eliza…I agree with the others that the title might need tweaking…and yes, Harry doing magic did make me think of Harry Potter. I think the pitch could use a bit of tightening…maybe something like this:

    Eliza wakes up on the wrong side of the bed feeling nothing like her sweet silly self. When her bother suggests a magic spell to bring her back to normal, Eliza gathers (what ingredients and what adventures does she have as she collects the stuff).

  10. writersideup says:

    Such a yummy treat, Susanna! When I’m trying to diet properly, I have to avoid your blog ’cause you put the most tantalizing chocolate goodies up! lol

    I just read quickly through everyone’s comments and they pretty much said things I was thinking, along with liking the idea of the brother’s “magic” being able to get rid of her grumpy “monster”:

    – title instantly made me think it was related to Harry Potter. I agree with changing the
    brother’s name.
    – in time for what? Don’t know what the urgency is.
    – as far as the “monster” part, if it’s supposed to be a “real” monster, I agree it should be
    a metaphor–just descriptive–or not used at all and just make her grumpy “like” a
    – I’m a bit confused as to why it’s Eliza who’s gathering all the “magic” supplies.
    – on the rhyming thing—if you mention it, be sure it’s an agent or editor who actually likes
    rhyme. Very often they state it when they don’t.

    I think if it’s better fleshed out, it can be a great story 🙂 Perhaps it already is and the pitch just needs to be clarified! 😀

    Good luck, Anne!

  11. Johnell DeWitt says:

    It’s too late at night for me to be looking at that chocolate–although maybe I’ll have some sweet, yum, dreams tonight. The title makes me think the story is about Harry, but the pitch starts with Eliza, so maybe:
    Harry’s sister Eliza wakes up feeling quite grumpy, almost as if a monster has taken over her body. Harry knows a way to fix her, but he needs Eliza’s help in her own cure–and a long list of magical ingredients. As Eliza runs about looking for ??? can you name some of them, Harry suspects that his magic is already working. (this is not giving away the ending, btw, it’s enticing us to see how he did it)

    Then put the dry part about the book after:
    Similar to (comp title), but with the humor of (comp title 2), my 560-word picture book, Harry’s Magic, explores a sibling relationship yada yada, but don’t say anything about it being laugh-out-loud, etc., that just makes too many editors/agents want to prove you wrong. 🙂

    I’m not even sure I’d put that it rhymes. I would also avoid a question at the end. It’s overused in queries so much so that some agents have expressed their grand disdain for that tactic :).

    Sounds like a cute story. Good luck with it.

  12. Judy Sobanski says:

    That cake looks yummy, Susanna. It will have to wait until I’ve finished my pie tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving to all! Anne – I would read your book. I have to agree with almost everything Johnell Dewitt said earlier. We need to know what would happen if Harry didn’t help Eliza “in time.”
    Also, someone mentioned that stating that Eliza “felt as though a monster had taken her over” seemed a bit scary and I tend to agree, although it depends on how the text reads…it could also be a very interesting story arc that would lend itself to fun illustrations! Good luck!

  13. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I would definitely read this. I can’t resist a good magic potion story and look forward to seeing the ingredients they need to pull it off. I think the last sentence needs some trimming. You can add the word count to the first sentence and put less focus on kids laughing and more on what happens as the siblings search out the items hey need to cast the spell. Fun!

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