Would You Read It Wednesday #263 – The Puffin That Couldn’t Fly (PB)

Would you look at that?

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday again already!

I apologize in advance for horn-tooting, but there is great excitement in the Land of Hill because look what happened yesterday!

WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH made the Parents Magazine Best Children’s Books of 2017 List!!!


Such an honor and a thrill!!!

Okay.  Thank you for indulging me!  Horn-tooting over 🙂

Onto today’s REAL business.  First, I’m happy to announce the winner of the June/July Pitch Pick, and that is Jenny with her PB pitch for Little Medusa’s Hair Do-Lemma!

Woo hoo!  Congratulations, Jenny!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her comments!

And congratulations to our other brave pitchers who stepped up and put their work out for everyone to see and comment on!  It’s not easy!  All of us recognize that and applaud you for doing all you can to hone your craft and letting us learn with you!  I hope it was helpful to you even if you didn’t get Erin to read and comment!

Due to the above-mentioned celebratory announcement, I think we need Something Chocolate that is very decadent!  How about this delightful-looking chocolate mousse cake?  Look ma, no eggs!

Eggless Chocolate Mousse Cake

eggless chocolate mousse cake

Recipe HERE at OhSweetDay

Yum Yum Yummy Yum Yum if I do say so! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Corine.  Corine loves to write stories and haiku poetry. When she is not writing she may be found adopting another street dog, tending to her farm animals, or walking with friends. She studied Business and Interior Design (in a previous life) and is now exploring her passion for writing.

Find her on the web at http://www.bicadeideias.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Puffin That Couldn’t Fly

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)

The Pitch: When Paolo the penguin adopts a friendly puffin colony he doesn’t understand why he can´t fly like his friends—until he follows his gut into the deep sea where his flippers lead him to his family and true identity.

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 Corine 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 November, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Corine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Warwick Children’s Book Festival this weekend where I will be on Saturday along with my friends and fellow children’s authors Iza Trapani, Nancy Furstinger, Karen Orloff, and many others!  Please come join us!  We’d LOVE to see you!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂



26 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #263 – The Puffin That Couldn’t Fly (PB)

  1. swugar2 says:

    My opinion it that an editor would see this as a story told often. Though I do love the Puffin as an animal, I would like to know more details.

  2. Judy Sobanski says:

    Congrats again, Susanna on your books selection by Parents Magazine!!
    Corine – I would definitely read your story.However, I think you need to put a little more information in your pitch. Is Paolo lost from his own family? Does he encounter any danger in the sea? A whale or shark? Is the main issue that he can’t fly or is it that he is separated from his own family? I think if you narrow down the main obstacle/problem for Paolo, you can focus the pitch on it and really make it shine! Good luck!

    • Corine Timmer says:

      Judy, thank you for your feedback. Paulo gets lost due to a storm during his first solo journey at sea and lands on an island far away. But there are only puffins and he wants to belong. Bit by bit he realises he is (too) different from the rest. His will to belong leads him to the sea once again where he follows his instincts and braves the deep. It is deep down In the sea where he finds squid and his parents. And now, in fewer words . . .

  3. Katie Frawley says:

    Susanna, congratulations on WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH! How exciting!

    As far as Corine’s pitch goes, I’m a “maybe,” but I think she could easily tweak this pitch up to a “yes.” I was a little confused by her phrasing when she said “Paolo adopts a puffin colony.” Wouldn’t the colony adopt him? Did he think he actually WAS a puffin? That point wasn’t clear. I like how Paolo is led to the ocean, “by his gut.” I thought that phrase was very intriguing. But after that I wondered what became of his puffin family. Does he abandon them because they aren’t part of his “true identity”? I think the pitch just needs to express a little more clearly the tone and heart of the story.

    Good luck, Corine! Keep up the good work!

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    The story is reminiscent of The Ugly Duckling which is nice and also teaches about two animals (penguins and puffins) that children may not know much about. I’d probably read it and hope for back matter teaching about each.

    Congratulations Susanna on the attention your book received! Happy for you.

  5. ptnozell says:

    Congratulations, Susanna! What wonderful news for you and bathing lions everywhere!

    Corine, I love the pairing of penguins & puffins; while there are several penguin books on the market, I can’t recall any with puffins. I confess that I was a bit confused with your choice of “adopt” – it almost sounds as if Paolo visited an animal shelter & chose the puffins. Maybe “joins” would work better here. I also agree that we need more details – what problems does Paolo encounter and overcome, other than being hungry, and does he remain friendly with the puffins after his return to his fellow penguins.

    I look forward to learning more about Paolo and the puffins.

    • Corine Timmer says:

      I am glad you like my story idea and grateful for your comments. He does not remain close friends with the puffins but I am sure they would meet and greet if their paths crossed again. Animals can be kind to lost babies/ juveniles that belong to species other than their own.

  6. marsue77 says:

    A big Congrats to you Susanna. That’s great news for you.

    Corine: Yes I would read it. I like the penguin with the puffins. Can you add what happened at the very beginning? Did Paolo get lost from his penguin family? That would be an immediate grabber. Maybe you can start with that if he did indeed get lost and the puffins took him in. (It seems like they would take him in rather than he adopted them.) I think raise the stakes on the problem in the query, besides that he can’t fly. What’s the jeopardy and what does he have to overcome? You have the age range as 5-8, but the query to me sounds like it would be for a little younger audience. Good luck with this. I think all it needs is some tweaking to get it to the next level.

    • Corine Timmer says:

      Thanks for making me think harder 🙂 Yes, Paolo is a lost and naive penguin that wants to belong. Apart from not being able to fly, he has to overcome his fear of the deep sea where he finds his true identity. The language (choice of words) may make it unsuitable for the younger age range.

  7. Lynne Marie says:

    I would definitely read because I LOVE puffins and actually went on an excursion to the Bird Islands near Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to see them in the wild! However, I do agree with the comments the others made. And the pitch raised a question as to why he had to adopt a new colony, which doesn’t seem to be addressed. I am wondering why he can’t fly — does he have a short wing? Puffins fly AND swim, so I don’t know why he isn’t seeing the others dive into the water and it is just his own idea, kwim? OHHHHH….I just looked again and I realize he is a Penguin. So sorry. Well the thing is that penguins and puffins don’t necessarily share the same habitat so I am a bit more confused now. I feel like the story is why Paolo isn’t with his parents since Penguins are very devoted parents. And why is he so far off? Perhaps start there? Hope this helps.

    • Corine Timmer says:

      Lynne, thank you for thinking with me. This is a story about a lost and naive penguin that wants to belong. Paolo got lost due to a storm during his first solo journey at sea ( at the end of my story he finds his parents (who looked for him)). You are absolutely correct about penguins and puffins not sharing the same habitat— but on occasion one gets lost. As children at times confuse penguins and puffins the idea for this story jumped to mind. I have been to the Shetland Islands ( Scotland) where I walked among thousands of puffins ( they nest in rabbit holes) An amazing experience! They were smaller than I expected.

  8. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    Oh, Susanna! How very exciting to hear about “When Your Lion Needs A Bath.” Now we need a book about “When Your Author’s Over the Moon!” *and her friends, of course. Love the yummy looking Mousse cake, too. Mmmm…

    Corine, I, too, would read your story because I love the idea. I do have to say that I wondered how Paolo came to the Puffin colony, too. I have the same questions that some of the others have expressed. I also wonder if your title adequately reflects your story. Might be something to ponder as I thought your pitch was going to be about a puffin struggling to fly, not a penguin.

    I hope this helps you continue with your story. I look forward to seeing it on the shelves, someday! 🙂 Happy Wednesday, everyone!

  9. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Susanna, congrats & thanks for another wonderful chocolate treat!

    Corine, I am curious and would probably read this. There is not, to my knowledge another penguin/puffin book out there. I too hope you add back material! 🙂
    Here are a few questions that I hope by answering you will strengthen the pitch & the story:
    *WHAT does Paolo want/need? To fly? to belong? to have a family? To find out “what” he is?*
    If you stick with the title – then perhaps it is the puffins who find and egg & hatch/adopt Paolo? Does he grow grow up thinking he’s a puffin? (Thus the title) Are they friends or family? If friends, why doesn’t he know he is a penguin and not a puffin?

    What makes him dive into the ocean? Food, friend in danger, escape predator? These are details you need in the pitch, just a snippet, but something about either why he’s with the puffins, thinks he’s a puffin, and why he dives in the ocean & discovers he’s a penguin.
    Then we’re curious to know how it all unfolds & what happens to the poor (abandoned/lost/confused penguin).
    Good Luck

    • Corine Timmer says:

      Maria, thank you for your detailed feedback. Paolo ( who is actually a penguin) got lost during his first solo journey and a storm carried him far away and outside of his usual territory ( the illustrations in the end pages could show this as an introduction). The written story starts with him teaming up with a friendly puffin colony. He is lost, naive, but positive. He actually (still) fears the deep sea so he is quite happy to be on land again .He wants to belong but realises bit by bit that he is different from his adoptive family. He cant fly! That means he can’t Join in with most of the daily activities. His will to belong leads him to the sea once again where through play he braves the deep and follows his instincts. His confidence grows. It is in the deep sea where he finds tasty squid and two other penguins ( his parents) and accepts that his wings are made for swimming and for diving. I like the idea of back matter but this is not usual in fiction I hear.

  10. viviankirkfield says:

    So excited for you and LION, Susanna! That is fabulous!
    Your chocolate delight looks amazing…so glad there are no calories in virtual desserts!
    And Corine, I would definitely read your story. Puffins and Penguins in one book? That is a great combination. I think the others have given you some great advice. We need to know a bit more about the dangers encountered and what he does to solve the challenges he faces. Best of luck with your story!

  11. ingridboydston says:

    Congratulations Susanna! If your lion is a cute as your trucks are, it’s no wonder! I will definitely add that one to my collection! Katie Frawley voiced my thoughts very well. I usually think of the one doing the adopting a being in charge. Is seems maybe Paolo was adopted by the Puffins? The premise soilnds fun, a great story for introducing comparison/contrast, and I’m guessing an Ugly Duckling theme? In other words, sounds like you are on the right track. With a few more clarifying details I would absolutely read this. Thanks for sharing! It’s not easy to put yourself out there, good for you!

    • Corine Timmer says:

      Thank you, Ingrid. In a previous draft Paolo was adopted by the puffins but I changed it to Paolo being the one in charge (The puffins of course have to allow it and in this case they do). It says something about Paolo’s character. However, as most of you are suggesting that Paolo being adopted by the puffins works better I will consider changing it. It is wonderful to get constructive feedback!

  12. Corine Timmer says:

    Susanna, congratulations! Thanks for hosting WOULD YOU READ IT WEDNESDAY. I am happy with the feedback and thank all those who took the time to think about my story and reply.

  13. Traci Bold says:

    Susanna, Congratulations on your book being selected for Parents Magazine! That is a huge honor! Thank you for the delectable recipe too!
    Corine, Your pitch intrigued me enough to read the story because of my curiosity of the differences between the penguins and puffins since they are similar in many ways. To make your pitch stronger, I feel you need to add the conflict to show readers why this would be a good story. Also, did Paolo seek out the puffins so he could adopt them as his family? If so, then why? If this is the real heart of the story, that should be your pitch.
    Good luck with revisions! You have a keeper storyline. 🙂

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