Would You Read It Wednesday #240 -The Troll Kingdom And Penelope Pickles (MG) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!!!

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

You’ve probably all noticed that today is February 1!  So exciting, isn’t it?  Not only is tomorrow GROUNDHOG  DAY, when Phyllis shall inform us all whether or not we can expect an early spring, but the days are getting steadily longer, each one a little lighter than the one before.  In my neck of the woods there are just about 9 hours of daylight on the shortest day of the year, but we are now happily up to 10 hours and 4 minutes!  I call that progress 🙂

In a shocking display of organization (mostly thanks to Julia sending me her pitch revision without prompting and thus reminding me to contact everyone else – thank you, Julia 🙂 ) I have the January Pitch Pick all ready to go today!

I know!

Unheard of! 🙂

But perfect, because most of this short month is going to be dedicated to the Valentiny Writing Contest so it’s just as well to get the Pitch Pick done now. (Haven’t checked out the contest yet? Click the link!  Awesome prizes!!!)

Here are the revised pitches for your thoughtful evaluation:

#1 – Julia – Tooth Fairy In Training (PB ages 4-7)

Flossie is determined to be the best Tooth Fairy at Molar Academy, but she has a serious case of odontophobia-the fear of teeth. Through perseverance, creativity and a little engineering she learns to work around her fear.

#2 – Robin – No More Turnips! (PB ages 4-8)

A new generation of wolves and pigs live in harmony around the turnip patch until Frank, the youngest grandwolf, determines to get a pork chop dinner. His plans are hog tied by the Three Little Grandpiglets who have just the cure for ham hock hankering.

Suffering Swine Snouts! Frank Wolf wants bacon on the table!

#3 – Michelle – The Stalking Seagulls (PB ages 5-8)

One boy. One sandwich. A flock of sneaky seagulls who have one mission. Alec must  foil their plan or be left with nothing toeat for lunch. Armed with his beastly beach balls, bucket and big enchilada Alec’s lunch should be out of harm’s way. It’s a day neither expect at the beach.

#4 – Costantia – Understanding George (PB ages 2+)

George has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and doesn’t behave or react like the other children in his class. When he is unable to play with them, the children are left upset, and struggle to understand what makes George so different. Seeing the world from his perspective helps them to empathize with the challenges that ASD children face daily, and to accept that everyone is unique.

Please vote in the poll below for the pitch you think is best and most deserving of a read and critique by editor Erin Molta by Sunday February 5 at 5PM EST.  Many thanks!!!

Phew!  That was a tough decision, I know!  All the pitches were so good, and so thoughtfully revised!  We should probably restore ourselves with Something Chocolate before tackling today’s pitch!  You know.  Just to bolster our mental faculties 🙂  How about some German Chocolate Cheesecake?  This recipe comes from a site called Life, Love and Sugar and its tagline is “Life’s better with cake”  Now that’s a sentiment I can get behind! 🙂

Mmmmm-hmmmm!  Scrumptious!  I’m not even going to pretend to find any health benefits in this one 🙂  Just enjoy, and by all means help yourselves to seconds… etc… 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Kathryn who says, “Hi there! I’m Kathryn: master of the chocolate chip cookie, soon-to-be mother of two, and daily dance party enthusiast. Find me on Instagram @kathrynslibrary or at my blog kathrynrammell.blogspot.com”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Troll Kingdom And Penelope Pickles

Age/Genre: MG Fantasy

The Pitch: Toadstool is a grumpy troll who is tasked with starting a plague to control the human population, but his plan goes amiss when he meets Penny, an 11 year-old with a contagious imagination.

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 Kathryn 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 March, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Kathryn is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to my Groundhog Day School Visit tomorrow!  Phyllis is so excited she can’t sit still! 🙂


illustration copyright Jeffrey Ebbeler 2005

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


29 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #240 -The Troll Kingdom And Penelope Pickles (MG) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!!!

  1. Nancy Tandon says:

    Hi Kathryn — I must say first off that I just love the word “Pickles.” So, you had me there. 😉 This is a great premise and a very succinct pitch, which is hard to do. One suggestion is that perhaps you have room for even a bit more about the relationship between Toadstool and Penny, which I’m sure is contentious!
    Also, your title and pitch and genre leave me with an overall question: is this a ‘funny’ story (Penny Pickles) or more serious one (fantasy/plague to control human population)? It feels of two minds right now, and I think adding a bit more to the pitch will help the reader know what kind of story they should expect.

  2. kathalsey says:

    Happy Groundhog’s Day, Susanna! And it’s your day, Phyllis. Make us all happy and decree spring.This pitch is very short and I feel yo have much more room to give us more info re: plot, characters, stakes. Since it is an MG, I feel you can flesh out the pitch just as you would the story. (It’s not a Pb.) Also wonder if you need to give the age of the MC. By determining the age, you are also determining your readership. The usual com net is that readers will not read about those younger than them but will read about characters a bit older. Maybe place the MC in a school – intermediate or middle school, if that fits for your story. Trolls are hot right now and this sounds fun.

  3. Erik says:

    First off, good job to everyone on the pitch rewrites! The voting was harder than usual this week. 🙂

    On to this week’s pitch – what you have here is quite good (I really like the plague/contagious wordplay 🙂 ), but I agree with the others that even one more sentence giving the flavor of the characters’ relationship would really bring it to life. (Also – and I hope this is not out of the bounds of what we’re supposed to comment on – in my entirely humble opinion. the title would flow better if you reversed it (Penelope Pickles and the Troll Kingdom).

    • Kathryn Rammell says:

      Hi Erik! Thank you for your input! I agree that the title flows better reversed. It’s how I originally had written it but second guessed it. Would it still work even though Penny is a main character but not THE main character?

      • Erik says:

        I take it Toadstool is the MC? If Penny is the main human character, that might still work, particularly for younger readers.

  4. Wendy Greenley says:

    I love starting my morning with virtual cake. Virtual cake, audible YUM.

    I agree with what Nancy said about tone. What I’d like to know more about in the pitch is the precise conflict. You say Toadstool’s plan goes “amiss” and I’m wondering if this means that Penelope affects the plan in some way, or if his relationship with Penelope means that he doesn’t want to destroy the human race anymore? Because her name is in the title, I’m thinking this is a friendship story and perhaps part of the pitch would read something like “but his developing friendship with 11-year old Penelope Pickles makes him question his orders” ?
    Good luck with the story!

  5. Susan Schade says:

    I was a bit thrown off by the word “tasked.” Is Toadstool following orders from someone or is he in charge? I like the idea that a new friendship could make him question what he is doing. I would like a sentence that gives more details about PP’s imagination. Sounds like an interesting story. Best of luck!

  6. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, Happy Groundhog Day’s eve to you & Phyllis! I looked for Phyllis in our local library yesterday. When I didn’t find her with the other groundhogs, I asked the librarian & discovered that Phyllis is her personal favorite & she was already packed for a school visit – yeah! I also alerted the librarian to PPBF & your upcoming books.

    Great pitch revisions, January pitchers! It was a very difficult choice this month.

    Kathryn, I love the premise of your story, but agree with the comments above about adding a bit more: who “tasks” Toadstool, what does his grumpiness have to do to the story, and a bit more about Penelope’s imagination – I especially love the clue that it’s contagious, but I’d love to know what makes it contagious & a clue to how that affects Toadstool’s plans.

    I look forward to reading your revised pitch soon.

  7. David McMullin says:

    I’m heading over to my library in a couple of hours, and one of my goals is to seek out Phyllis. I’m hoping she’s on the shelf (Although I’d be happy if she were checked out to someone too).

    I always love to see the revised pitches – which suggestions they incorporated, which elements the stood firm on – always interesting.

    Katherine, This looks very interesting. The pitch makes it feel like it’s a mix between dark and light-hearted. If this is true, then great, if not, adjust the tone to be consistent with the story. I think this is an ideal elevator pitch. I get what the story is about in one sentence – Fantastic. For a query pitch You might want to expand it a bit in ways that people have suggested above. I, also, like the sound of the title better when reversed. Best of luck.

  8. Judy Sobanski says:

    Susanna, hoping Phyllis tells us tomorrow that Spring is just around the corner! Loved the pitch revisions – hard to pick a favorite!

    Katherine, I love the premise of this story! I’m not sure if the troll is the MC or Penny, or maybe they are both MC’s. I agree with some of the other comments that the tone (light or serious) is not clear. I think a little more information about Toadstool and Penny’s relationship will help clarify. David’s suggestion about reversing the title also makes sense to me as well! Best of luck!

  9. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Oh Susanna, what a tempting desert! Great way to cure a very chilly day!

    Katherine, I am very curious about this book. Trolls, contagions, and cures using imagination – what a great combination. I would definitely read this. 🙂
    I agree with Erik that the title is catchier reversed. I also agree that “tasked” would indicate a ‘higher’ power. Is this “person” important to the story? If not, then maybe a different word here? Does Toadstool “develop/incubate/create” the plague himself? I think, as I insert below, that you need to offer us at least one (maybe two) examples of Penny’s disruption. Then maybe a little more of a hint as to the ending of the book – w/o giving it away.

    The Pitch: Toadstool is a grumpy troll who is tasked [by??] with starting a plague to control the human population, but his plan goes amiss when he meets Penny. [How? can you give us an example or two of how Penny disrupts the plan??] , an 11 year-old [cut] with a contagious imagination. [How does she cure the plague with her “imagination”?]

    One question – who changes? Penny, Toadstool, or both? That should be a part of the ending of this query. I would suggest that you go read jacket covers & the book summaries on Amazon (for example) of Fantasy MG and see what they have in their “hooks.” What have they done to entice you to buy the book? Good Luck with this story, it really sounds fun.

  10. viviankirkfield says:

    Wow…what a fabulous post, Susanna…the pitch pick was difficult…all the writers need to move forward with their stories…they all sound like they would make awesome picture books.

    And the chocolate delight…oh my!!! Words fail me!
    And good luck with the school visit! I’ll be looking out for Phyllis. 😉

    Regarding your pitch, Kathryn…I love the whole story concept…and I think the comments above pointed out a couple of places where the pitch could be improved. I LOVE the contagious imagination…that is so clever.;) Best of luck with the story…I would definitely read it.

  11. Karen LaSalvia says:

    Yes, I’d read it! What I liked in your pitch was the troll’s name, describing him as grumpy and listing his mission. I get the impression there will be a lot of humor. I think you could improve the part about Penny because I wasn’t sure what the contagious imagination meant. I’m guessing there is something you are trying not to give away, but I think we need a little bit more to get it. Overall though I think it sounds fun and interesting and I would certainly want to read it. Great job!

  12. ingridboydston says:

    First- my K’s get to meet Phyllis tomorrow! Second- ooh! Great pitches! Finally- The title grabbed me! The bit about controlling the population gave me pause. It looks a like others have provided some useful suggestions. I look forward to seeing where this one goes! Thanks for sharing!

  13. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Wow! What smart people we have on here.. .looks like you have a lot of great feedback to work with! Sounds like the kind of intriguing book kids would enjoy, in my opinion.
    I really could have voted on any of those pitch picks! They were all so good!

  14. Pingback: Kathryn Rammell

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