Would You Read It Wednesday #249 – A Worthy Captain Was She (PB)

Good morning, dearies!

I hope you are all having a lovely week so far!

I have aged this week.  I’m a whole year older!  Funny how that happens in the space of one day!

I was at a school visit on Monday and the kids asked me how old I was.  I said, “Guess!”  They guessed 99!  I think I look pretty well-preserved for 99.  I don’t even dye my hair! 🙂

So now, I am unexpectedly off on an unplanned whirlwind trip to Boston.  That is how things are when you have 5 kids.  So I’m leaving you unsupervised to play Would You Read It.  I will bribe you into managing yourselves with Something Chocolate 🙂  How does Hot Fudge Sundae Cake sound?


Mmmmmmm!!!!!!  It sounds pretty good to me!  Looks pretty good too!

So here is today’s pitch which comes to us from Gabi who says, “I currently live in Oregon with my husband, two kids, one dog, and one dog-like cat. I am a member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 picture book challenge. You can check out my blog about writing for children at https://writingtoconnect.wordpress.com/.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: A Worthy Captain Was She

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

The Pitch:  Fans of Crankenstein and The Princess and the Pony will appreciate A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE—a quirky celebration of friendship and reconsidering rules, as needed.

Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. Danger befalls hearties who do! But when a stubborn pelican challenges Captain’s number one rule, she must face her own stubbornness and choose empathy over fear.

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 Gabi 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 June, 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!

Gabi is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing #4 – the reason for the Boston trip – and then to getting home because that is a lot of driving in one day!  Luckily, I have Audible.  Has anyone read Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch?  I’m thinking of trying it for the drive….

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂  And be good to each other in my absence – share the Hot Fudge Sundae Cake nicely 🙂


25 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #249 – A Worthy Captain Was She (PB)

  1. Rebekah Hoeft says:

    I would read it! Why: The combination of the end line: “choose empathy over fear” and the captain’s rule. As a rule, I like books that give kids rules as to when it’s okay and good to break the rules!

  2. David McMullin says:

    Drive safely, Susanna!

    Gabi, this sounds terrific. I love pirates. It’s short and clear. Good comps. I get what the story is about. I think the first half of the plot (Captain … hearties who do!) gives a good idea of the voice of the book, while the second half feels more technical. Try to get some of your playful language into the second half. I don’t know if “as needed” is needed. And since pitches are usually in present tense, should the word “stuck” be changed? Great work.

    • Gabi Snyder says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, David. I’ll see if I can tweak the language in the second half to bring out the playful voice more. I’d also been wondering if “as needed” is needed. I’ve been going back and forth on that one.

  3. Lynne Marie says:

    I would definitely read it. There are so many hooks in it for me However, I felt it got a bit preachy and seemed to veer away from the playful spirit with “empathy over fear.” So that gives me pause. I think if you can take the above recommendations you can make this pitch a winner!

  4. ptnozell says:

    Gabi, I love the title & plot premise & I would read this tale of a female captain. I do, however, have a few suggestions. While I understand the desire to include “comp’s”, I’d focus on showing how your story is similar to or a mash up of these, rather than concluding that folks who like those books will enjoy your story.

    I also agree with David that the voice of the Captain rings out in the first part of the second paragraph, but that voice is less apparent in the last sentence. I’d also like to know a bit more about the pelican – is s/he a crew member, perhaps, and a clue to why fear plays a role in the story (is Captain afraid to break rules or is she afraid of something else that happens when she does so?).

    I look forward to learning more about your spunky Captain!

    Susanna, safe travels! I look forward to seeing you at the SCBWI New England conference this weekend!

  5. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    Hi Gabi and Susanna! I would read “A Worthy Captain Was She”! Your story sounds like it has some great conflict for Captain. I agree that the first two lines do a good job of showing your playfulness. I’m concerned, however, that you might be giving away too much about the ending. Is there another way to tantalize the editor/agent into that “can’t-wait-have-to-read-it” feeling? Kind of like Susanna tantalizes our taste buds every week with the delicious chocolate desserts? MMMMM…gotta download that recipe!

    Have a safe trip, Susanna! Happy belated birthday, too! 🙂

  6. Geoffrey Hyatt says:

    This is great. I’ve been reading and responding to this WYRIW since February and this is the first one that I just say ‘Yes’, without anything constructive to add. This is just solid, well written, a really nice pitch.

    But OK, I’ll try to add something that might be helpful for you – maybe you could add to the pitch some reason why Sea Lion has rule #1. There isn’t much room in picture books (and even less in pitches) to develop characters, but if you could sneak it in there, it would deepen the character. maybe Sea Lion had a demanding parent or had once missed out on treasure or left her dear sister to die on at the hands of the murdering Kraken (OK, not that last one). Anyway, it is of course fine to simply state the rules, but that was my only thought – it makes the climax decision of breaking the rule even more powerful if we know why she has it in the first place….

    Best of luck – I sense this will make it to print.

  7. Gabi Snyder says:

    A belated happy birthday, Susanna! I hope you have a great Boston visit.

    Thanks for featuring my pitch this week. The feedback thus far is super thoughtful and helpful! 🙂

  8. Heather Kinser says:

    Gabi, how exciting to see Captain Sea Lion pop up here! I think you’re getting good feedback on your pitch. I would agree with not giving away the ending (in your last line), and with omitting “as needed” (in the thematic statement). There are some other great suggestions as well. I would only add that my feeling is, it’s good to lead with the thematic statement, but not with the comp titles. I would put the comp titles last in your pitch, below the plot summary. I hope you continue to get lots of helpful opinions here!

  9. viviankirkfield says:

    Love the sundae surprise, Susanna! And I’m so looking forward to seeing you this weekend at NESCBWI!

    Gabi…what a great pitch for a pb that I would definitely read. I think you’ve gotten lots of helpful advice. Maybe the last sentence could be tweaked a bit so you don’t give it all away.

    Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. Danger befalls hearties who do! But when a stubborn pelican challenges her number one rule, the Captain must face her own stubbornness and choose between empathy and fear.

  10. Gabi Snyder says:

    Question for readers: Do you like the current title, A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE?

    Other ideas:

    I do like that the current title lets the reader know that the captain is female so I’ve been resistant to changing it.

  11. Gabi Snyder says:

    How about this revision? 🙂

    Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. Sharp-toothed danger befalls hearties who do! But when stubborn Pelican squawks “sail back” like a broken distress call, Captain must face her own stubbornness and choose between empathy and fear.

  12. Butterfly Kisses and Silly Wishes says:

    Oh my I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Boston…I spent a good part of this morning convincing myself it is TUESDAY only to come across your Would You Read it WEDNESDAY…For a very long few minutes I thought You had sent it a day early because of your trip! Oh my😜



  13. celticsea says:

    So, are you looking for grammatical corrections? I like the pitch, but am unfamiliar with the books mentioned in the first paragraph (probably an issue on my end!! I would also reword this phrase: “a quirky celebration of friendship and reconsidering rules, as needed.” Traditionally with the conjunction “and” you want to have parallel construction – using the same part of speech on either side of the “and.”

    Then I would put a semi-colon in between “turns back. Danger ” It makes the two better connected. Lastly, I would mention the fact the stubborn pelican is the best friend, if indeed he is.

    I do love the idea of the story!!

  14. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    I am a full week late on giving feedback, so I won’t repeat any of the others’ suggestions. I agree about revising the second half so the voice remains active and salty. I like the premise of the book, so I would read this. But I would prefer to see the info about the comps after the synopsis of the book. Otherwise, I’m distracted with the ideas of the other books while I’m trying to absorb the info about the book you’re written. This could just be me and my ADD, but it seems like all of the sample queries I’ve read put the comps in a paragraph after the pitch for the book. Hope you have success with this! Good luck!

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