Would You Read It Wednesday #282 – Sylvia Swan & Cabot (PB)

Howdy, folks!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far!

Here on Blueberry Hill it has been the kind of week that motivates me to check in with my favorite laugh-out-loud videos for a little pick-me-up.  Really, doesn’t laughing just make everything seem better?! 🙂

In case any of you need a laugh, I’d like to share this week’s favorite:

SNL – Pro-Chiller Leggings

Please please please feel free to share your favorite laugh-out-loud video in the comment section!  We can all use a laugh 🙂

I think that video has set us up perfectly for a Something Chocolate that prepares itself in the freezer whilst we lie on the couch, catch up on missed episodes of The Voice and eat bonbons!  Check out this delicious no-churn Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream!


Recipe (including helpful video!) HERE at iwashyoudry.com

All the deliciousness and none of the energy expenditure of churned ice cream – the best of both worlds!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Amanda who says, “I am a wife, mom of 4, teacher, writer, aspiring children’s book author, runner, and triplet. Writing is my creative outlet and it makes me happy.”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter Handle-@jhkmom4

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sylvia Swan & Cabot

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-10)

The Pitch: When Sylvia Swan’s family is too busy to help her build a blanket fort…again, she takes matters into her own hands. She channels her frustrations into brainstorming, sketching, measuring, drafting and creating the perfect invention—C.A.Bot:Customized Assisting Robot. Will Cabot be the solution she has been waiting for? Will her favorite pastime become a reality? Sylvia Swan soon finds out that Cabot can help her build more than just a fort.

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

Amanda is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to some quality time with my Pro-Chiller Leggings and to any funny videos you guys choose to share! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


25 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #282 – Sylvia Swan & Cabot (PB)

  1. Nadine Poper says:

    Susanna, I have the BEST video clip to make everyone laugh. It is a SNL spoof of Most Haunted. For those who watch Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures, you will totally get this! Sorry about the 30 minute commercial at the beginning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whl7QMTlHm8

    Amanda, this story sounds adorable. A little girl engineer and problem solver. Good message. You can tighten it up maybe with changing “She channels her frustrations…” to say “When Sylvia Swan’s family is too busy to help her build a blanket fort, she takes matters into her own hands. She brainstorms, sketches, measures, and creates C.A.Bot:Customized Assisting Robot. ” I was often cautioned about having questions in my pitch. Perhaps you could reword the questions into statements. And I am not sure what Sylvia’s favorite past time is that you are referring to…is it her building a blanket fort? or is it that she likes to be taken away to imaginary places within the blanket fort?
    Good luck Amanda and hope you find laughter today in my video clip.

  2. Nancy Riley says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I absolutely would read this! My only comment is that Sylvia’s last name confused me and I first thought she was a real swan. So, l didn’t see why a swan wanted a blanket fort. I’m sure that the cover illustration would have easily removed that confusion. Good luck!

  3. Kathy Halsey says:

    Susanna, I’m ready for that chocolate and catching up w/The Voice. I, too, though that Sylvia might be an actual swan when I read the title. Great, marketable concept and has STEM elements that are so important in schools today. BRAVO. I would read this book. I like the wordplay w/the robot, too. Agree that you should turn the questions into statements. I’m not sure from this pitch that I know what her central conflict is – frustration from fort-building or what CABOT is up to. Change those and you have a perfect pitch.

  4. Corine Timmer says:

    Hi Susanna, it´s not such a great day for me. I have the sniffles. Your video helped though 🙂 I wear my leggings mainly for “couching”. Back to The Pitch: I like the fact that Sylvia takes matters into her own hands and gets creative. I can picture her sketching, measuring, drafting, and creating her new invention. It feels like a picture book for the slightly older ones so I would say age 4 is a little young. Amanda, will you be teaching the mechanics of building a robot? I like the science elements and am curious to find out how Sylvia builds the robot and how Cabot can help Sylvia build more than just a fort. Yes, I would read it.

  5. Katie Engen says:

    I’m curious to see how this latest take on STEM (or STEAM) plays out. Seems like a lot of action – creating CABot and resolving the other issues at hand – all in one story. Yet I like layered plots, so YES, I want to know more.

  6. ptnozell says:

    Just watching the weather flit between winter & spring has brought loads of laughs & a few frozen tears here, Susanna. Hoping ice cream weather arrives soon!

    Amanda, I love the STEAM tie-ins & definitely would read your story. I agree with the comments above that the pitch can be tightened, especially by rephrasing the questions as statements. And I, for one, am hopeful that Sylvia is a swan – birds build lovely nests; I’ve got to believe that they can build blanket forts & robots, too.

  7. rosecappelli says:

    Yes! I would definitely want to read this book. I also agree that the questions in the pitch should be reworded. I’m thinking the pitch could be tightened to about three sentences.

  8. Rachel Tomlinson says:

    Some really constructive feedback for you Amanda!!! Such a great community! And from seeing Amanda’s work as her Critique Partner I can say for sure that her book is wonderful! I wish I had written it myself!

  9. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning Amanda.

    I will admit that when I read the title, it already made me question the story because of the name “Cabot” which is not a common namet and I could not see how it went with the alliterated “Sylvia Swan”. However, once I read the pitch, I like it! (not the title, the story. I would add in the periods to make C.A.Bot or CABot, something to emphasis the BOT.)

    I agree with the previous comments regarding questions in a pitch so I won’t go over that. The only other thing that I would really say is your first sentence should strongly introduce your character and problem. Your sentence discusses the problem first, then you get a little bit about the character…..”When Sylvia Swan’s family”. Your emphasis is on her family.
    It is an easy fix and it starts with the first word. “When” is a set up word. It sets up the problem in this case. So simply start with your character and her problem.
    “Sylvia Swan loves to make blanket forts with her family, but they are too busy to help her. They are always too busy. So Sylvia takes matters in her own hands…”

    I noticed a couple of comments about the name Sylvia Swan. Is she not a swan? Why can’t she be a swan?
    If you don’t want her to be a swan, that alliteration is cute, but pointless. It also would make the title flow better simply as “Sylvia and CaBot”.

  10. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    Hi Amanda. I would definitely read this story! I agree with some of the earlier comments. I love the female engineer MC and the whole robot plot! Rather than the questions, I wanted to know what problem or obstacle occurred in the story and is Cabot part of that problem or part of the solution or both?
    Not a big deal but I was a bit thrown off by the name Swan…but quickly figured out it was a little girl. Maybe spelling it with two “n’s”…Swann? 🙂

  11. Stephanie L says:

    It sounds like a book I would pick up. I thought Sylvia was a swan, but the illustrations will clear that up. (Is there a reason for her name?) I think you could tighten up the pitch by removing the questions. Easy fix.

  12. authorlaurablog says:

    I’m not reading the previous comments so apologies if I’m being redundant. I love the premise of Sylvia building a robot to help her build a blanket fort because building a robot is clearly more difficult than building a fort so it speaks to her creativity and tenacity. I have a daughter who is a mechanical engineer who was always taking things apart and building things so this is close to home. I’m not sure if you were going for alliteration with the MC’s name but it’s hard to say when I read it aloud so I might pick something else. Also, Cabot is clever because it’s a hybrid type of robot. If your MC name has alliteration, maybe the Robot should too.
    To answer the question: YES, I would definitely read this. Best of luck.

  13. Amanda Kirkham says:

    A special thank you to Susanna for featuring my pitch today! The feedback is valuable to me. Thank you to all that offered suggestions, compliments, and advice. I feel energized to get back to my pitch and ms to make appropriate changes. I’m grateful for the wonderful people in the kidlit community who take the time to support, encourage, and help one another.

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