Would You Read It Wednesday #252 – Princess Ickybelle (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!

Holy Anticipation, Batman!  I am on pins and needles!

Why? you may well ask.

Well, I’ll tell you!

I have just (yesterday afternoon) been informed that advance copies (one each) of WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES, and THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT are speeding toward Blueberry Hill as we speak!!!  They could get here today!!!  (OK.  Probably not.)  But maybe tomorrow!!! Or Friday!!!

Luckily I have a school visit today to keep me from setting up camp at the mailbox.  But tomorrow, if you need me, I’ll be out there in my tent just a-waitin’! 🙂

Meanwhile, let’s do the April Pitch Pick, shall we?  Our talented pitchers all revised their original pitches in response to your valuable input.  Read on to see their new and (hopefully!) improved pitches.  Decide which one you think is best and deserves a read and comments from editor Erin Molta and vote for it in the poll below!

#1 – Ana –  Working title: No More Cats
Genre: Picture Book. Ages: 3 to 6
Revised Pitch: When Lilly’s dad agrees to adopt a cat, he thinks one will suffice. But now Lilly seems to be on a mission to rescue every stray she encounters; a calico evading traffic, a kitten rummaging through trash, a tabby outrunning a dog. One by one the cat count rises while the number of potted plants and dad’s patience decreases. Together they must find new homes for their furry friends to make life sane again.

#2 – Joan –  Working Title: The New Girl or Cross-Stitch Crossbones
Genre/Age Range: MG
Revised Pitch:  Twelve-year old Jenna has been dealing with her FBI dad’s disappearance for over a year. When her mother is deployed to Afghanistan, Jenna must go to live with her grandparents in rural NC.

To help Jenna make new friends and handle the separation from her parents, grandma tries to interest Jenna in cross-stitch. At grandma’s cross-stitch group, Jenna makes her first friend of her own age—Colinda, who does cross stitch to spend time with her own grandma. Colinda is a student leader not afraid to make friends a new girl. Colinda introduces Jenna to other students but advises Jenna the best way to make new friends is to participate in activities. Jenna agrees to start a walking program to get in shape for the coming tryouts for the track team. On Jenna’s first walk, however, she discovers a skeleton! Colinda, some of Jenna’s other new friends, and the ladies of the stitchery group all prove helpful in uncrossing the jumbled bones of the mysterious skeleton.

#3 – Gabi – Working Title: A WORTHY CAPTAIN WAS SHE
Genre/Age Range: PB Fiction (ages 3 and up)
Revised Pitch:
Captain Sea Lion stuck firm to her rulebook. Rule number one: a worthy captain never turns back. 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.

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

#4 – Emmie –  Working Title:  JESSIE’S DREAM
Genre/Age Range: PB @5-8
Revised Pitch:  Jessie’s dream is to play baseball again with her team. Her reality is sitting out the season because of surgery requiring her to wear a halo cast.  Her friends pitch in to make her dream come true – a baseball field adapted just for Jessie!

Please vote for the one you like best in the poll below by Sunday May 14 at 5 PM Eastern!


Whew!  It is always such a tough choice, isn’t it?  I think all that brain-strain calls for a restorative.  And what could be more restorative than Something Chocolate?! 🙂  Grab a fork, pull up a stool, and join us at the table.  Today we’re having Oreo Chunk Cookie Pie!

Oreo Chunk Cookie Pie!

Just because it might not be the most obvious breakfast choice doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dig in.  It’s important to think outside the box.  Because after all, as writers, thinking outside the box is in our job description 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joanna.  A displaced Canadian and painfully slow runner, Joanna Biggs has been writing since childhood, when she kept her teachers’ in-trays busy with piles of new stories. Her head space is usually taken up with zany, colourful characters who stick around until their stories are put to paper. In between naps on her keyboard, Joanna is currently writing the next picture book in the Princess Ickybelle series. When not napping and writing, Joanna can be found traveling around Europe and Asia with her husband and children. She is currently based in rural England, where she writes and runs a popular book club.

Find her on the web at:

twitter: @joanna_biggs
facebook: www.facebook.com/joanna.biggs2
new website coming soon

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Princess Ickybelle

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

The Pitch: When messy and mucky Princess Ickybelle needs a bath, the fed-up Queen calls for help. Queen Granny arrives with some terrific tricks up her sleeve but Princess Ickybelle leads Granny on a wild goose chase around the castle, determined to foil Granny’s perfect plans. When the Princess finally succumbs to a scrubbing, she discovers that some Princesses aren’t meant to stay spotless for long.

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 Joanna 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!

Joanna is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to SEEING MY NEW BOOKS!!!!!  (I feel like Animal on Sesame Street – all wild hair and eyes and incoherent yelling! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

19 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #252 – Princess Ickybelle (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!

  1. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    Love the pitch pick choices. Tough as always. LOVE that the new books are on their way. Mind-blowingly thrilling as always. And love Ickybelle, of course. She reminds me of Cupcake who leads me on that same wild goose chase every bath day! I would definitely read it. The last sentence may need a tweak. I think Ickybelle knows full well that princesses aren’t always meant to stay spotless. It’s her mom and granny who learn that lesson. Good luck with it, Joanna!

  2. Nadine says:

    Susanna, snap a picture of you opening the boxes of books when they arrive. Very exciting!
    I would read Princess Ickybelle because any princess story where the princess is not-so-princess-like is fun for kiddos. My thought is that if the title is Princess Ickybelle, then she should be the one to undergo the change. How will she be different by the end of the story? Or perhaps she is persistent in staying who she is (not spotless) and others accept it (they change). Maybe the title could reflect that. Good luck. Sounds so silly!

  3. JoannaBiggs (@joanna_biggs) says:

    Thank you Nadine! Perhaps I was a naughty child (can neither confirm nor deny!), I have always loved characters (for example Horrid Henry – so brilliantly written), who don’t change and conform to others’ expectations. 🙂

  4. Norah says:

    Congratulations on the imminent arrival of your new books. How exciting!
    I voted – with difficulty. I avoided your Oreo pie, but only just. Thanks for sharing. I think Ickybelle sounds delightful but agree with Genevieve and Nadine that the last sentence needs some tweaking. It doesn’t seem right that she should come to the realisation as stated. I would love to read it!

  5. Geoffrey Hyatt says:

    Good pitch. Not-princessy-princesses are definitely a hot trend right now, so it is a good fit. I’d try a different ending, instead of getting dirty again, end with the bath as the high point and fun surprise, like “She realizes that bathtime can be a wild messy fun time too” (I can just picture the illustration of that big castle bathroom with the big claw foot tub in the middle and the water splashing everywhere, Ickbelle full of bliss and joy and the Queen and Granny looking wide-eyed with shock.)
    Fun story Joanna – we look forward to reading it!

  6. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, I hope the mail is speedy & the new books reach you soon. How exciting! Picking an April pitch was difficult – I may need a break to recover.

    Joanna, Princess Ickybelle sounds like a spunky, delightful character – sure to delight and bring smiles to kids everywhere. I agree about the last phrase of the pitch – if getting dirty again is the twist at the end of the story, you may want to end with the thought, and the lesson learned, that there are advantages to being clean, too (if only for a minute!).

  7. Wendy says:

    YAY, Susanna! Waiting for something like this is fun!

    Joanna, one of my favorite stories is Harry The Dirty Dog, and this sounds like a human version! I wonder if your pitch can be tightened?
    When messy, mucky Princess Ickybelle needs a bath, Granny comes to the Queen’s rescue with some terrific tricks up her sleeve. Leading Granny on a wild chase around the castle, the Princess finally succumbs to a scrubbing, and discovers [that some Princesses aren’t meant to stay spotless for long.] I put the final words in brackets because I’d like to NOT know the exact plot ending in the pitch. Whet our appetite to figure out what Princess discovers. She discovers something about herself? Discovers something surprising?
    Hope this helps!

  8. Gabi Snyder says:

    Susanna, how exciting that three new books are heading your way!

    Joanna, I’m a fan of not-so-princess-y princess stories and yours sounds super fun. I love the name Princess Ickybelle! I agree with what others have said about your last line and, like Geoffrey, I wonder if you might play with messy bath-time fun. I wonder if Grandma is congratulating herself on finally getting the princess into the bath and then discovers that Princess Ickybelle has managed to make an even bigger mess there. Good luck with this fun story!

  9. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Your excitement is so contagious! Now I feel like I’m waiting for your books to arrive, too!! Like a kid at Christmas time! What fun to be an author!! But, doubtful it will happen to me,so hopefully you won’t mind if I live through you😀!
    The pitch picks were awesome!! Great job..,they all sound like winners to me!
    Ickybelle sounds wonderful as well!!!!
    Can’t think of any suggestions other than, it might be a fun twist if the mom and granny secretly like playing in mud as well!! Maybe that’s where she gets it from! A granny playing in mud could be pretty funny😀! Good luck!

  10. viviankirkfield says:

    I love your Wednesday posts, Susanna…as much for the chocolate delights as for the awesome pitches.
    Joanna…I love your character…what a fabulous name! And the story premise makes me want to read this book! I think you’ve gotten some great tips in the comments above. 😉

  11. celticsea says:

    Joanna I would read it. I am just wondering if it would be helpful to name a few of the tricks Granny has up her sleeve and a few of the events in the wild goose chase, to provide more specificity to the pitch.

  12. Rene` Diane Aube (@WriterReneDiane) says:

    Oh Susanna! Congratulations! I am so very happy for you! *Does this mean we will soon see our pre-ordered books in the mail, too?* If you don’t want to sleep in a tent, you can borrow Daisy ~ I’m sure she would be very happy to keep you cozy and comfortable while sharing your exciting moment. She loves parties!!

    Now that I’m full of Oreo Chunk Cookie Pie, I’m finding it difficult to think! YUM! But it was worth it, because I would definitely read your book, Joanna. It sounds like it’s right up my moat. I agree about tweaking the last sentence in order to not reveal quite so much. I also wonder if it would be helpful to tighten the second sentence. We already know Queen Granny has arrived, so perhaps as you squeeze the words some of that muck will ooze tantalizing tidbits to make your reader devour the book.

    Speaking of devour…any pie left?? Hmmmm…?

  13. Tracey Brown says:

    Congratulations on the books speeding your way, Susanna! You may even have them by now.
    Joanna, I love your non-conformist character, Princess Ickybelle . Would definitely read it! Great advice on perfecting your pitch

  14. Debbie Sexton Lee says:

    So exciting to have books coming your way Susanna!

    Joanna, I absolutely LOVE stories about princesses, and would definitely read this one. I love the idea that not every princess needs to be perfect and in fact can be MORE fun if they are a little messy. Best of luck to you!

  15. Lauri Meyers says:

    I’m torn on the last sentence in the pitch. It seems to give away a surprise ending, but I also really like it. Good pitch!
    Susanna, I hope you are bringing those book babies this weekend!

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