Would You Read It Wednesday #292 – The Boys Who Brushed Teeth Too Much (PB)

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

Due to all our work/life schedules, I’d love to share what my daughter shared on FB yesterday, but it was a SomeCards meme  that used an impolite word, and as this blog is family-friendly and g-rated I will have to summarize by saying that it showed Thomas Jefferson on July 3, 1776 realizing he had a serious and as yet unmet work deadline coming up 🙂

I think we can all relate 🙂

Since it’s July 4th, I suppose we should be celebrating with a snack in patriotic colors.  But chocolate brown is not one of them, and what kind of celebration would it be without chocolate???!!!  (And I’m sorry – white chocolate and red velvet just don’t cut it! 🙂  And even if they did, what the heck chocolate would qualify as blue?!)

So let’s just throw caution to the wind and make brownies out of candy!

Ferrero Rocher Fudge Brownies

I think we can all agree they have a firecracker-y celebratory look about them! 🙂

Hip hip hooray for the 4th of July and Something Fabulously Chocolate!!! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katie whom you will remember from her recent pitch for The Tooth Fairy Conference and 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).

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Boys Who Brushed Teeth Too Much (and almost destroyed the world)

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

The Pitch:  In this modern nod to Panchatantra fables, Advik’s addiction to a toothbrushing game app accidentally launches a gum abrasion pandemic that threatens global shut-down. When his tech-avoidant brother, Barun, realizes he’s part of the problem, too, the boys must unite to restore dental and mental balance to the world before it’s too late.

·        ~775 words, PB ages 5-9+

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 September, which will be here before you know it, so polish up your pitch and submit 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 whenever this insane heatwave ends!  Meanwhile, if you need me, the dogs and I plan to tie cool wet cloths around our heads (a look I’m sure will set a new trend 🙂 ) and lie on the floor in front of the fan 🙂  Come on over and hang out with us!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


10 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #292 – The Boys Who Brushed Teeth Too Much (PB)

  1. Lynne Marie says:

    Maybe. I must mention that am always reading for my jobs (Author, Critiquer/Mentor and Travel Agent), so my free reading time is valuable. My first concern is the target age. Picture books are generally 4-8. Because children nowadays learn to read earlier and better, they actually are skewing younger. The main characters, while generally older than the 4 year old part of the spectrum, are not usually 9. This MC sounds older, as does the language (addiction, abrasion, pandemic, global shut-down, tech-avoidant, mental balance), so those raise some flags. I am not saying to write down to little ones, but these are pretty stacked without a lot of context to assist the slower reader or listener from following easily and understanding (just what is mental balance to a 4-8 year old?). So while I am intrigued about this story being a modern nod to Panchatantra fables which intrigues me although I’ve studied fables and never heard of them, I am not sure this is targeted correctly. Likewise, the 775 word count feels high in a day and age when generally picture books come in at 300 – 500 top. I am also wondering about relatability because I think kids avoid brushing their teeth rather than brushing too much. That said, definitely an intriguing concept and I hope the food for thought is helpful in making the book more kid friendly for the target age group or writing it as a chapter book. Good luck! Lynne Marie (www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com)

  2. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, what a sparkly surprise to celebrate the 4th! The thought of these bonbons bursting in mouths has me set to race to the nearest grocery for ingredients. And then, perhaps, to the dentist.

    Speaking of which, I’d say “maybe,” too, Katie. I’m intrigued as to how a story of boys brushing teeth with an app relates to ancient Hindi stories, but I agree with Lynne Marie that the language sounds old for a picture book. I actually thought graphic novel when I read the pitch. I’m also confused how a brushing app, which I thought was a personalized brushing aid, could set off a pandemic. Also, if your story is based on a particular old fable, you may want to reference that one, and not the entire group of stories.

    I hope these comments help – I think this is an interesting concept & young boys, in particular, will find it humorous.

  3. Angela Brown says:

    Chocolate works well for me on the 4th of July 🙂

    This pitch intrigues me. The language in the pitch leads me to believe the audience for this story may be a little older, yet I can’t help wondering if this is a possible nod to the growing truth of younger and younger children being rather tech savvy and maybe up to the word-challenge?

  4. sarahatobias says:

    Happy 4th.

    Katie, I had to do a bit of research before responding. I read the article on Panchatantra fables, and looked up tooth bushings apps. I had no idea there were so many to choose from.

    I like the idea that a child can go overboard with with in real life after getting too caught up in a game. I also like the Hindi connection with the fable. There has been a lot of chatter lately about picture books for older kids. As a school librarian, I love them. Most recent ones are non-fiction, but I think the door is opening again. They are great for read-alouds, ELL, and gateways to longer reading. You find the right editor, and you can be on a new trend. I think the pitch was too techno-lingo heavy. Most of the grade school kids I worked with were tech savvy minus the lingo. There is always the one or two kids who know everything about everything, but your story must appeal to the masses to be marketable. So, I am a maybe based on the pitch. I want to know more about the problem. How will this app set off a pandemic? Is it pulling kids into the game? Why is the non-techy brother part of the problem? What’s the one true thing about this story? Is the relationship to a Panchatantra fable really important?

    Good luck. You’re on to something unique.

  5. matthewlasley says:

    Happy Fourth all!

    I love seeing a well written, concise pitch. I think it flows well and the rhythm is nice. It gives the feeling of some action/hero type story.
    I agree that the characters sound a bit older with the language used, but I think we often get stuck on a rule(s) when we write. If the book fits a market, the age is not a deal breaker. After all, picture books are not only meant to be read by kids, but read to kids. There are also picture books coming out for adults. Also, 775 words is not bad. Many agents and publishers I have listened to agreed that they only get concerned when the story is 1000+
    My two biggest complaints about your pitch are the title and the second brother. The title does not read well. I get it, but it just feels off. I think it has to do with the beginning of the title and “brushed teeth”. They do not mesh. The past tense makes me want to add “their” to it.
    As for the second brother, I am not sure why or how he is a part of the problem if he is not a techie?

    When I first saw the tooth brushing apps, I was certain they were put out by evil dentist who added too much time to make you over brush so you would have to visit them more often! LOL
    I think you can have an interesting, fun story here that can not only express good dental hygiene, but moderation as well.

  6. Maria Marshall (@MariaMarshall_) says:

    Susanna, love the chocolate!
    Katie, I am a maybe too. I am not sure how a brushing app can threaten a global shut down or how his brother is part of the problem (if he isn’t using the tech) – so for that I am curious. I like Matthew’s comment of health and moderation. I was trying to envision the illustrations and have to agree that this could be an awesome crossover book. A graphic PB, aimed at kids 8-12. I have seen 1 or 2 graphic style PBs. It is an interesting thought at least. I would try for a catchier title. Good Luck!

  7. Rachel Tomlinson says:


    Oh my gosh those brownies look so delicious!!! Why do I do this? I should scroll past the goodies lol.

    I’m a maybe… I love the idea of a story that encourages teeth brushing! I am intrigued about how it could possibly impact on a global shut down which makes me a maybe (I would read to find out how!!). But there were a few confusing elements… the interplay of technology use and the two siblings (why is this an issue or how is it connected to the plot?) and the term global shut down (shut down of what?). I also agree about some of the language… I don’t think we should talk down to kids… but the worlds we create in writing need to be genuine and so the language used by the MCs needs to be cohesive/ believable. I think that in the pitch the language is fine… but I’m just thinking about the impact If the same language might be used by the MC in the book… and I’m not sure how that would connect for children reading it. But with that being said… we shouldn’t talk down to kids… so I think it’s a tricky balancing act with some of the more technical elements of some stories. I am keen to see more and I absolutely love the premise of your book!!!


  8. viviankirkfield says:

    Love the calorie fresh goodies I always find on your website, Susanna…you are most considerate. 😉

    Katie…I love that you are incorporating a tooth brushing app into your story…how current you are! And I think kids will relate to any story that features an app. I think you’ve gotten some great advice here…the vocabulary is mature, and if you mention characters in the pitch, you want to make sure they are important to the story.

  9. sherry alexander says:

    Susanna, I just gained 5 pounds looking at those brownies (I’m trying to lose so I can wear something other than long dresses–hehehe)

    Katie, I would be a maybe if this was for the 4-6 year old group who hate brushing their teeth. An app might just work, but I am not sure how it will set off a pandemic unless it is like the challenges that are rampant today. The language is a bit mature for the age group I am suggesting, but I can’t see my 8 year old grandson reading it unless it was filled with 8 year old humor. The title needs work so that it will grab a child’s attention. Best of luck.

  10. Katie Engen says:

    Thanks for all the helpful comments, all! I do appreciate that I’m on the edge of the age ‘limits’ and will strongly consider if my pitch vocab should be toned down a bit. Similarly, I’ve pondered if it might be good as a graphic novel and so thanks for that input, as well. I’m glad the mash-up of various cultural & tech aspects seemed to convey sufficiently well. Ditto that nobody said the ‘moderation’ lesson was too heavy-handed. Oh, and for the record…I actually changed the clunky title shortly after submitting to this LOVELY platform (I hope I didn’t bend a rule, Susanna). Again, thanks everyone.

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