Would You Read It Wednesday #298 – Garden Bed (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick PLUS The March Pitch Pick Winner!

Are any of you guys Calvin and Hobbes fans?

There’s a Calvin and Hobbes collection called The Days Are Just Packed, and that title just says it all!  Really, doesn’t it seem like every day is just packed?  How is it Wednesday again already?! 🙂

Given the packed-ness of everyone’s days, let’s get right down to business, shall we?

First up, I’m happy to announce the winner of the March Pitch Pick! It is Jean with her picture book pitch for A Little Witchy!  Congratulations on a strong (and popular!) pitch, Jean!  It is on its way to editor Erin Molta for her expert review!

Congratulations to all our other pitchers as well for excellent pitches and wonderful story ideas!  I hope the WYRI experience has helped you strengthen your pitches so that all those stories pique the interest of agents and editors and result in multi-house bidding wars!

Now, let’s move on to the ARPIL Pitch Pick!  (I apologize again for getting so far behind with the pitch picks that we’re having to do one a week for eternity here – you guys are very patient with me!)

Please read through our WYRI contestants’ revised pitches below.  Choose the one you like best and think is most deserving of a read and comments by Erin Molta and vote by Sunday September 23 at 9PM Eastern.  Rachel, Candace, Amanda, Corine, and I all thank you and send virtual Snickers bars your way! 🙂

#1 – Rachel – The Littlest Astronaut – PB Ages 4-10

All Seren has ever wanted is to become an astronaut…but training at the academy is hard work and she cant keep up! If Seren doesn’t improve her grades she won’t be selected for an upcoming space mission. A crisis hits the International Space Station and only a pint sized hero can save the day. Seren has to step up in order to save a team of astronauts and to achieve her dream of going in to space.

#2 – Candace – Curious Cassandra – PB Ages 2-6

The pitch:  Cassandra overhears her mother talking about the plants their neighbor, Mrs Fulton, is growing in her garden – turtle’s heads, fox’s gloves, and lamb’s ears.  She wants to see these mysterious plants for herself but, Mrs Fulton is on vacation. There must be a way to spy over, under, or through the garden fence and Cassandra intends figure it out.


#3 – Amanda – Sylvia Swan And Cabot – PB Ages 4-10

Matilda + Big Hero 6 + Walle + Frankenstein

When Sylvia’s family is too busy to help her build a blanket fort, she takes matters into her own hands. She utilizes her pint-sized engineering skills: brainstorming, sketching, measuring, and drafting to create the perfect invention! She brings CABot, her Customized Assisting Robot, to life. CABot becomes her fort building solution—making her favorite pastime a reality. But Sylvia soon finds out that CABot can help her build more than just a fort when inspiration strikes again—solving her problem of eating eggplant parmesan for dinner.

#4 – Corine – Willamina the Wolf Spider – PB Ages 6-9

Willamina the wolf spider wants more than anything to keep her spiderlings safe, but when her tummy starts grumbling, she knows it’s time to hunt. Not an easy task with three hundred spiderlings on her back! To make matters worse, it is full moon, and she is not the only one who is hungry. Willamina has to outsmart an owl, a shrew, and, in the end, a woman with a broom—an incident that forces her to release her spiderlings, but not before telling them they are going on a flying adventure.


Now then!  I think we’ve all earned Something Chocolate, don’t you?  What should we have today…?  How about some chocolate pound cake with chocolate ganache? That sounds like breakfast, doesn’t it? 🙂

Chocolate Pound Cake

Mmm!  Delish!  Goes great with coffee, tea or milk, and is guaranteed to either pep us up or put us down for a nap 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lily.  Lily Erlic is a member of the SCBWI. She has authored many books included Finger Rhymes for Manners and Glaciers: Landscape Carvers. She is a preschool and daycare teacher (ECE) with a BA degree from the University of Victoria.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Garden Bed

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 2-5)

The Pitch: Garden Bed is a lyrical rhyming book that takes place in the garden. Each plant is put to sleep gently. Tomato, cucumber, parsley, eggplant, kale, purple potato, lettuce, carrots and peas are lulled to sleep. At the end, a young child is placed in a “garden bed” and gently lulled to sleep as well. An early picture book for children five and under, this book will find an audience in preschool and daycares across the country. This book will resonate with parents especially for nap time or before bed. I can provide back matter for each type of vegetable.

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 Lily 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 October, 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!

Lily is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Princeton Children’s Book Festival this Saturday!!!  Will any of you be there?  I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


21 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #298 – Garden Bed (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick PLUS The March Pitch Pick Winner!

  1. ptnozell says:

    So happy for the chocolate pound cake, Susanna – pitch-picking makes me hungry!

    Lily, I’m a maybe on the story. I love the idea of evening in a garden, but I’m not getting a sense of who is putting the plants to bed. Most of the sentences are in passive voice, which, in my humble opinion, makes a quiet book seem even less active. I’d suggest starting as follows, “In Garden Bed, a rhyming picture book targeted to ages 2-5, a parent and child tuck each plant in for the night, causing the child to become sleepy, too.” I also would delete the sentences about the potential audiences, as this is a conclusion that an editor or agent would want to make on her or his own.

    I hope this helps you revise the pitch to change my maybe to a yes.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      The thought of chocolate pound cake makes me hungry, Patricia :). I had to laugh because I was talking to my daughter late Wednesday after posting this and though she had not read the post, she said, oh guess what? I found a bakery that has the MOST delicious chocolate pound cake! Apparently like mother like daughter :). Thank you for your helpful comments for Lily!

  2. Katie Engen says:

    Maybe (mostly because you’ve been published, so your idea probably has more heft than the pitch suggests). The pitch lacks a specific plot or problem to solve (it is fiction, yes?). I don’t have a sense of if the main characters are the veggies, the child, or some sort of off-page gardener. A lot of words are dedicated to market potential. It seems you could shorten/eliminate this to free up more space to add more plot and character detail. If you want to keep the long (long) list of veggies, maybe do so in a way that also serves as an example of the rhyme/meter. I love educational tie-ins, but the last sentence doesn’t compel me to read/buy now; maybe it can be shortened & moved elsewhere (or deleted). Finally, as a science education expert (esp. in plant biology), I’m always intrigued by plant-centric plots that engage and accurately portray plant life (perhaps especially in fiction). I wonder if by careful word choice you can avoid promulgating any misconceptions (e.g. plants don’t really sleep, but they are heliotropic and have other cycles) without overwhelming the intended audience.

    • lilyerlic says:

      The book is a fiction piece but also a creative nonfiction piece. It’s on the verge of fantasy as the plants are personified. The main characters are the readers of the book, mainly a parent and child. It’s a simple concept book to introduce children to the garden. To make it fun for the child, each vegetable is a character. The market potential part was included because I was inspired by a pitch I read on Susanna’s blog previously.
      I am an early childhood educator that wants this book to be a simple book to appeal to young children and children with special needs. I work as an educational assistant and there is a need for books that entertain and educate in a simple and fun way.
      Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your comments.

  3. authorlaurablog says:

    Writing a book and writing a pitch are different skills. I think the book sounds good but the pitch is not grabbing me.
    The name of the book is Garden Bed. You don’t need to tell me it takes place in the garden. You’re using important real estate in your pitch telling me something I already know from the title.
    Also, I don’t think a pitch is supposed to tell the end of the book.
    My advice is reword the pitch because the book sounds interesting but the pitch doesn’t demonstrate the lyrical writing skills you have.
    I hope this is helpful and not harsh.

  4. matthewlasley says:

    Hi Lily. I am a maybe as well. Putting children to bed is an evergreen topic and I like the idea of preparing a kid to go to sleep. I like the tying together a garden bed and a child’s bed; clever and cute.
    Like the others, I am struggling to understand the who and the how. Who is putting the plants to bed? How are they doing it?
    Your pitch seems to be a bit long. There is a lot of information, but it is lacking on details. Or is it the other way around? There is a long list of vegetables that get lulled to sleep, but I don’t know anything about them. Do they have personalities? How do I know they are asleep? I feel like it would read just as well as “One by one, the Gardner lulls the plants to sleep with…?..”
    The ending part about who the audience is should be its own paragraph, but in reality can be cut. It is already stated it is for young children and the idea is napping so it gives you an idea that it is for early children.
    The good news is that I want to know more. I want to know the “how” of the story. I think this story will be driven by the illustrations. Most concept books, especially quiet ones, are pitched as dummies with illustration ideas and thumbnails, even if you are not planning to be the illustrator.
    Good luck with the story.

    • lilyerlic says:

      Yes, you are right. I am hoping it is driven by the illustrations. Children at this young age need visual stimulation. Few words and more pictures is a good recipe for children ages 2-31/2 in my opinion. I am hoping that this book will convey “it’s time to sleep” message which is a simple but perhaps an effective book for the wee ones.

  5. Erik Dutton says:

    It’s not usually this hard to settle on which pitch stands out as my pick – but this month I want to read them all! (IOW: great job, all of you!)

    Lily: Your story sounds sweet, but in the pitch I’d like a little clarity over exactly what’s going on and who’s putting the plants to bed: the child, one of its parents, Mother Nature? (Also, what’s the child’s name??) It sounds like this might be the child’s bedtime ritual, or at least the child going to bed is the narrative frame? If so, then the child definitely needs a name! Just a little more info would probably move me from Maybe to Yes.

    • lilyerlic says:

      I was not planning to give the child a name as I wanted the child reading it to feel like they were putting the vegetables to sleep. This book is about the child reading the book, going to sleep. This is a bedtime story. The child sees the vegetables going to sleep so the idea is for the child to go to sleep. It’s a simple concept for the younger audience. I have read many books to children over the last 30 years in an early childhood setting which do not hold their attention if a book is too complicated. (Mostly ages 2-3 1/2) So my plan was to write a simple book that could capture their imagination.

  6. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I would definitely read this. It sounds like an outdoor play on Goodnight Moon. I agree that you can take out the recommended audience for the book. I’d also like to know what the Garden Bed is for the child. Good luck with it!

    • lilyerlic says:

      Hi Genevieve,
      Yes, you are absolutely right! Garden Bed is the metaphor for the whole book. It’s poetic and inspired by the greats such as Margaret Wiseman and many others. Garden Bed is about lulling vegetables to sleep, a bedtime book for the very young. Hopefully, it will be funny given that the illustrations will drive the story.

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