Spring has sprung, peeps! It’s official!
I am ignoring the fact that we have 2 feet of snow on the ground and the low temp tonight is supposed to be 7 (I don’t know who is in charge around here, but I’d like to suggest a change of personnel! 🙂 ) Pshaw! I say to the snow and the cold! (Because actually I have never said Pshaw! but people in books do it all the time when they want to snort at something so I thought it would be fun to try it out.) I refuse to pay heed to snow and cold and shall instead revel in thoughts of green grass, luxuriant blossoms, and cute baby animals 🙂
Now that we are all feeling suitably spring-y, I’m thrilled to be able to share Straight From The Editor with you today for the winner of the November/December 2016 Pitch Pick – Nadine with her PB pitch for Armadillo Pillow Fight. You will recall her pitch:
Nadine – Armadillo Pillow Fight (PB ages 4-8)
It is Willow Armadillo’s birthday and she wants a pillow fight party. She asks her friend to help spread the word of this nocturnal affair. Her animal friends mess up the message spreading details by accident. Did Willow say to meet at the peat moss or where the streams cross? Poor Willow. Hopefully she will have someone show up to her burrow tonight.
Here are editor Erin Molta’s thoughts:
This sounds like it could be cute. Though I’d add a hint of more substance because otherwise the story is about a poor armadillo whose party invitations got messed up—which is humorous but pretty slight because if nobody comes to the party then story is over. Or if only some come, it’s still a matter not much more story. It could be as simple as working up to the party, sway, Willow Armadillo had everything ready for her party—perfect pillows, soft mattresses, twinking fairy lights and the most delicious birthday cake ever! But her friends got the details confused…
Something like that implies more of a story.
Best of luck…
Thanks so much to Erin! As always, I find her thoughts enlightening and I hope you do too!
I don’t know about you, but I’m starving! Something Chocolate would sure hit the spot right about now! Fudge-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars sound good to you?
YUM! Me too! 🙂
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lisa. Lisa Katzenberger is an active member of SCBWI where she serves as the Social Media Co-Coordinator for the Illinois Region. She wrote short stories and novels for many years before her kids helped her discover the world of children’s literature. When she’s not taking care of her six-year-old twins, writing, or lingering on twitter for too long, she works as a freelance writer to fund the writing classes and conferences she is addicted to taking. Lisa is thrilled to be a part of the fun and supportive KidLit community.
Find her on the web at:
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: I Am…
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-6)
The Pitch: Giraffe gets scared by a spider and climbs a tree to hide. When his friend Zebra finds him, he listens to Giraffe and helps him work through his irrational fears, pointing out Giraffe’s strengths. But there’s one last problem Giraffe is facing, and he’s not sure he has the courage to admit it so he can get the help he needs.
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 Lisa 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 May, 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!
Lisa is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to wearing shorts and a tee shirt outside and not being cold. I know… I’ve got a little bit of a wait yet… but I’m still looking forward to it! 🙂
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
21 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #245 – I Am… (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor Nov/Dec”
I’m very interested in a giraffe up in a tree, so yes, I would read this for sure. – I’m very curious about Giraffe’s last, special problem – maybe a hint…? Does Zebra help Giraffe WHILE he is up in the tree? Does the dreaded spider follow him up there? I’m pretty sure spiders climb trees. *shiver* Good luck with this. Lots of fun stuff to work with.
Thank you again to Erin for her valuable critique of my pitch. We are truly blessed to have industry professionals here who are eager to help us succeed. Quick question…is a slightly longer pitch (longer than what I have) okay to include in a query? I am usually concerned about how long a pitch can be. Thanks so much!
Lisa, a giraffe up in a tree is adorable! I picture giraffe’s special problem to be so quirky and unusual for a giraffe. Something to take readers by surprise. Yep, I’d definitely read it. Good luck!
Spring! At least the calendar say so, Susanna. Here in OH, it’s 50+ one day and 25 degrees the next.Poor daffodils! Can’t wait to see you @ NESCBWI.
Yes, I can see the visual of the giraffe in the tree, Lisa! Enticing. Like Erin said re: the Nov/Dec. story, I feel a bit more plot is needed in your ms, more action, perhaps in the story itself that can be reflected in the pitch. What I see as plot so far is a giraffe in a tree, scared of a spider and friend Zebra talking him down. I want more. So great premise. I AM interested, but more, please.
Spring? I’m thinking more like a warning that April Fool’s day is not in the too distant future. Here we’ve got more snow falling out of the sky – but as they say in upstate NY, sunshine is over-rated.
So: spiders, giraffes, zebras. A story about fear, and a friend helping? yes – definitely can see that. Like Kathy, I want to see more action: what does Zebra do? does he try throwing a rope? a ladder? a hot-air balloon?
Susanna, I try to ignore the fact that it’s 30 degrees and there is still significant snow on the ground as well, but as I walk through the streets of New York City and the wind burns my face, it proves quite difficult! Chocolate would sure make it better!
Lisa, I am really liking the premise of your story. A giraffe, a zebra, a sweet little message- what could be better? Perhaps the only thing that could, here with the pitch, is giving us a little more as to what his other problem is. I like that you did not give away the ending, and you have us intrigued-that’s a great sign-but perhaps just a clue or a little more as to what the problem is, because that helps us know more what the book/message/goal is ultimately about.
Lisa – I think this is an interesting idea (and the illustrations of a giraffe up a tree would certainly be cute!) I think the pitch can be streamlined some after the first sentence. Maybe something like,
“His friend, Zebra, finds him and helps Giraffe work through his fears. But there’s still one problem Giraffe hasn’t shared with anyone – not even Zebra.”
Also – I’d leave out the word “irrational” because that makes it seem like these fears are silly and unjustified. As we all know, fears can be very real no matter what other people think.
Good luck with this!
Thanks Jen for your feedback. I absolutely agree with your suggestion to remove the word irrational, that is a really great point. I don’t want kids to think their fears are not valid! I also appreciate your wording suggestions, much cleaner!
A book about fears is a great topic – as many kids (and adults) have fears of one kind or another. Using animals is timeless, of course, and always popular. So the basic pitch is good. But it feels like you are hiding the best part – you only hint at the thing that makes this story special and unique. I’m new around here, and maybe doing a tease is considered the right thing to do, but as for me, if I’m going to choose this book over 10 other pitches, I’d like to know that the special part is really special – because there are lots of books with cute animals, right?
Great feedback Geoffrey, thanks for sharing. I struggled with if I should reveal the “big problem” or not in the pitch. Good point that it could help differentiate this book from others. Thanks!
Hi Lisa! I think the visual of a giraffe in a tree is SO funny! I would read it. But as I was imagining the story, I wondered if there would be enough “scene changes” for illustration potential? Since the solution to the initial problem involves just listening and talking? But, maybe the action leading up to the giraffe in a tree, and the next fear he faces would bring in some more cool visuals? Just some questions that crossed my mind when reading. Best of luck! Cute, cute story idea!!!😀
This is a really good point. Thinking I might be focused too much on dialogue. Giving me something to think about, thanks!
YES, I would read I AM. I love the incongruous image of a giraffe in a tree. I like HEAVENLYHASHFORMOMS’ idea for introducing new elements that make giraffe’s fears grow. This is often the case with fears. Once you start worrying about one thing, everything else seems to go “down the rabbit hole”, or “up the giraffe tree” as the case may be.
Yes, I would read Lisa’s story. Just visualizing the giraffe in the tree talking to a zebra has all kinds of illustration possibilities. I agree with previous comments. I also wonder if the pitch is a little too long. Do you need to say that Zebra points out Giraffe’s strengths? Does Giraffe even know all his fears and does he want to get help with them? Good luck!
Hi Lisa — I love the image of Giraffe up the tree! I would definitely read this. I also admire the clarity of the pitch. Like others, I’d love to see a few more specific actions and I’d also like to get a sense of the voice. Maybe you could even borrow a bit of the wording/dialogue from the manuscript to spice up the pitch? Good luck with this super fun story!
Yes, I would read it. It’s a really cute story idea, Lisa. A giraffe hiding in a tree has great illustration potential! 🙂
The only suggestion I have is to tighten up your pitch a little.
“Giraffe gets scared by a spider and climbs a tree to hide. Zebra tries to help by pointing out Giraffe’s strengths, but Giraffe is facing an even bigger problem and he’s not sure he has the courage to admit it.”
Great re-write Tracey, it really tightens things up! So grateful for your help!!
Your pitch needs a little punch but I am really intrigued by it and want to read the book.
To help you out, answer these questions to yourself. In your story, how does Zebra try to help? Does Zebra use clever tactics that point out Giraffe’s unique strengths? What tactics does he use? Can illustrations convey these tactics? This would help carry out scenery changes to move the story forward with page turns.
How about, “Scared by a spider, Giraffe climbs a tree. When Zebra happens upon him, he uses creative tactics to reassure Giraffe fears are nothing to be ashamed of but Giraffe has a bigger problem and either has to face it or be stuck with it.’
This is just a suggestion of adding to the tension in the pitch.
I agree with taking our irrational to describe fears for the same reasons mentioned in a comment above.
Hi Traci! Thanks for the honest feedback and push to dig deeper. I agree it could use some punch! I will try and add more details as I revise.
I would definitely read your book. Like everyone else, the idea of a giraffe up a tree is so humorous. I’m a little confused because you say Zebra helps him, but then at the end of the pitch you say Giraffe has an even bigger problem and he’s not sure he can admit it in order to get help. So, is the other problem something that is beyond Zebra’s capability to help? Does someone else end up helping Giraffe or does he come to terms with his fears by himself? I think clarifying this will help your pitch. Great premise. I hope to read this story one day!
Yes, I’d read this. Someone in our house is afraid of spiders.
When Giraffe climbs a tree to hide from a spider, his friend, Zebra, wants to help, but there may be one last problem. Will Giraffe admit he’s afraid? (or that his fears are irrational)?
Not knowing your complete story, you may need one or both endings for the pitch. What a great story idea.
Snow on the ground? True, but we’ve got Susanna in the house, chocolate delights on the table, and Lisa K with a great story!
Lisa, I love your premise…a giraffe stuck in a tree is a priceless illustration. And you’ve got the friendship hook with Zebra, the fear hook with Spider…and something else, unrevealed. I agree with the others…let us have a hint of what the special problem is. Several great pitch fixes in the above comments…so go for it, Lisa. 😉