Would You Read It Wednesday #288 – The Tooth Fairy Conference (PB)

You know it’s June when suddenly there are fiercely protective does everywhere and, if you’re lucky, you get to see tiny new fawns wobbling along behind them.

A doe with a new fawn has taken up residence on the wooded outskirts of my yard.  I have yet to see the baby, but I know it’s there because the doe is terrorizing my dogs!  (Not that they don’t deserve it – they’re entirely too interested in the proceedings, and even though I know they’d never hurt the fawn – if only because they’d have no idea what to do with it! – they make the doe nervous with their investigations.  And as someone who is a mother, I understand 🙂 )

Since I haven’t seen the fawn yet, I’ll entertain your with baby horse antics instead 🙂


You will recall that we had a barn baby back in April… whose mother, coincidentally, is named April 🙂  At the moment, this little dickens is referred to as Sassy… when she isn’t being called something less polite 🙂  She is quite a handful 🙂

Anyone feel a picture book coming on? 🙂

Alrighty, then!

Since today’s pitcher is a self-professed Ice Cream Lover, and since summer is coming, and since what could be better for breakfast than ice cream, let’s have Something Chocolate Ice Cream for today’s snack!

Brownie Cup Ice Cream Sundae

brownie cup sundae

Recipe HERE (with helpful video!) at delish.com

Obviously either chocolate or coffee is the best flavor of ice cream to use, along with hot fudge and/or caramel topping, but since it’s breakfast time, if you feel compelled to have some fruit, you can go strawberry ice cream 🙂

Delish! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katie who says, “I’m an educator, Word Nerd, and Ice Cream-Loving Optimist. Faith, family, and fitness are my motivators. My #1 writing goal is picture books featuring Big Ideas for Young Minds (also the name of my main blog). My side gig is creating teaching resources (my own and for hire).   Additionally, you may want to know:

        1. “Goodnight, Moon” is my least-favorite classic, but “Runaway Bunny” is tied for first with “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and “The Lorax.” Also, I have too many modern favorites to pick even the Top 10.
        2. I want to know why zillions of the facing-out picture books (e.g. hot sellers) in stores rhyme when verse is supposed to be verboten.
        3. Age ranges on picture book queries make me wince since I think picture books are perfect for any age. The little plus sign I put after the age range (e.g. 4-8+) makes me feel better.”


Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Tooth Fairy Conference

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-9)

The Pitch: Tooth Fairy Gwyneth rallies brainy and brawny conference attendees to extract Plaque Man, a rot-minded foe, and save the fairy economy. Gwyneth must convince skeptical speakers presenting key economic and tooth collecting knowledge to form a posse with tough tooth fairies from all over the world. Now if only they can combine their dental and mental derring-do and wash skunky, gunky Plaque Man down the drain.

·        ~1250 words, PB ages 5-9+  It’s dreadfully long as a fiction PB, but it has nonfiction elements integral to plot and character development. I’m open to input on if it should be a chapter book instead.

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 Katie 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 July, so you have time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Katie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing that little fawn one of these days soon 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


15 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #288 – The Tooth Fairy Conference (PB)

  1. ptnozell says:

    Hi Susanna, I hope you get a glimpse of that darling fawn soon.

    Katie, I’d give this a maybe. I love the idea of a gathering of tooth fairies, a picture book that incorporates dental hygiene & working together against a common foe. Plaque Man has a wonderful ring to it, too, and you use some lovely, lyrical language. There’s a lot going on in the pitch, though, and from your indicated word count, I gather the same may be true of the story. I’d suggest simplifying the pitch to state the problem, getting rid of Plaque Man, to show us why Gwyneth is the only one who can solve the problem, and then to give some idea of what she does to convince the others to “combine their dental and mental derring-do.”

    I hope my comments help – this sounds like a unique picture book with loads of potential. I look forward to reading your revised pitch.

  2. Jen Bagan says:

    I hope you get to see the fawn soon, Susanna!

    Katie – I’m honestly not sure if I’d read this. The premise sounds cute but I found the pitch to be a bit long and confusing. And, even with NF elements thrown in, I do think 1250 is much too long for a PB. It’s always hard to tell without reading it but it seems if there is that much you want to do with this topic then yes – perhaps it’s best suited for a chapter book.

    I do think you can condense the pitch and simplify the language. The title suggests this will be a book about a tooth fairy conference, but the pitch suggests it’s really about Gwyneth and her friends defeating Plaque Man. Perhaps try to align the two. I don’t think you need all of the details about the speakers and what they’re presenting. Your last line is good. So maybe something like …

    When Plaque Man crashes the tooth fairy conference, Gwyneth and her friends must combine their dental and mental derring-do (maybe find another word here?) and wash skunky, gunky Plaque Man down the drain.

    You have lots to work with here! Good luck!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Me, too, Jen! Although with the amount of time my dogs spend barking in the general direction of the woods I wouldn’t come out if I were a tiny fawn! 🙂 Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Katie!

  3. authorlaurablog says:

    This doesn’t sound like a picture book to me. The length alone is a red flag. My first picture book MS was way too long and an expert suggested I was trying to have 3 books in 1 and I needed decide which book I wanted to write. It was hard to hear, but ultimately, I got rid of major storylines and trimmed it down to one idea and around 500 words and it’s so much better. My suggestion for you, would be to do this or make it an early chapter book. When you mentioned economics, I’m not sure about how that fits in with a picture book audience. I do think this might have potential with 2nd graders as a chapter book.

  4. fspoesy says:

    I’m going to have to go with a no for this pitch. Of course the length is a problem but my major concern is the content. I’m not sure where I read it or if I heard it at an SCBWI conference, but the Tooth Fairy is one of the most common subjects in picture book manuscripts (along with wanting a pet, and first day of school). My fear would be that as soon as an editor or agent read “Tooth Fairy” they would shut down and stop reading. Also, the situation of a “conference” with “speakers” and “economics” seem very grown up and of little story interest to young readers. That said, with it’s arch-villain character and the the strong tooth fairies from around the world (super hero tooth fairies! I’m in!) it seems like it may be a candidate for a fun graphic novel for kids in which the stuffy business-like conference situation could be played for humor. Best of luck with your pitch and your story, Katie!

  5. Jennifer G Prevost says:

    Katie, I’m definitely leaning towards yes, with a few tweaks… for starters, I agree that your pitch was a little confusing. I LOVE what Jen did with it above.

    My kids are right in the PB sweet spot at ages 4, 6 & 8, but my oldest really loves chapter books. I think she and my middle son would love a chapter book or early reader with your story… it might even have series potential! Here’s the kicker, you have to make sure your tooth fairy story is different than the rest, and you should be well versed at setting it apart from the crowd. Another thought as you revise, if you go the route of early reader/early MG you’ll need to make sure your words are simple and easy to digest. You can probably get away with more complicated topics/verbiage in a picture book that will be read by an adult, as opposed to a chapter book read by a young reader.

    Best of luck! Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂

  6. viviankirkfield says:

    Well, Susanna, after that yummy chocolate delight, my brain is probably foggy, but it was worth it! And good luck with all the young creatures who are inhabiting your little corner of the world.

    Katie, I LOVE the arch enemy and I think kids will love the idea of super hero tooth fairies. So it’s a yes for me for the story concept. But I agree with all the advice you’ve gotten…the pitch meandered…Jen gave you an awesome pitch fix. And the length (even if it has nonfiction elements in it) and the content says chapter book. Which isn’t to say it can’t be a picture book, but perhaps you will have to make some choices about the direction the story will take.For me, a pb pitch should be a one sentence (albeit long) that tells me what the story is really about and what the goal of the mc is. You are a wordsmith, for sure, but sometimes less is more. All good wishes with the story.

  7. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning!

    Katie, I think I would go with a maybe on this one. As a first grade teacher, I probably wouldn’t have this is in my classroom, but would expect to see it in my health teacher’s class. From a marketing viewpoint, the topic seems somewhat didactic and narrowed to a dentist office making the market specific and small. This would need to be pitched to an agent or editor who deals specifically in this kind of market.

    I would argue that 1250 words is not out of the realm for a creative nonfiction story. It is a bit lengthy, but I think an editor can help you work it to the essentials. We hear a lot about minimalism in picture books, but the strict adherence to 500 words is slowly going away. They want a well written book, within reason. Several 900-1100 word picture books have been published lately.

    I too like Jen’s shortened pitch. Stick to one problem. I want to hear your voice or your character’s voice come through. Use a couple of adjectives to propel your main character’s voice. I know you use “skunky gunky” but it is clunky because it is partially made up, which makes it unrelateable, and does not read well. (I am not saying not to use in your book, just not your pitch).

    I know this is a lot and hopefully it helps!

  8. Katie Engen says:

    Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone! I’ve worked this idea through the PB and early chapter book options several times and decided though it’s ‘under-ripe’ to get more feedback on which way to go. I appreciate the thorough responses and will write/edit/restructure accordingly.

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