Would You Read It Wednesday #309 – Mawbelina Ballerina (PB)

Bom Dia! Buenos Dias! Buongiorno!

You have now heard my entire vocabulary in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian 🙂
(and it’s possible I slightly cheated by looking up spelling…!)

But good morning!!! 🙂

I’m not sure about the regions you inhabit, but in my neck of the woods we’ve got these pesky critters called weather forecasters who seem to have a hankering for stirring up trouble!

They are currently making dire predictions about the the “FIRST BIG SNOW EVENT OF 2019!” which, if they can be believed, will descend on Saturday.

I ask you.

How bored do you have to be?

I know why they’re all hyped up though.  It has nothing to do with the actual weather systems.

It’s because it’s been winter for weeks and nothing interesting has happened weather-wise, so they’re casting about looking for something to jazz things up!

I will believe it when I see it!

But I will also prepare a Just-In-Case Plan by making sure I have a few handy ingredients lying about.  That way, if we DO get snowed in, I’ll be ready to practice Something Chocolate – Super Bowl Cupcakes!

It’s a couple weeks early, but practice makes perfect, right? We need to do warm-ups – a test run, if you will – of this line-backer-sized* treat.  Just look…!
(disclaimer: football is NOT my area of expertise! I’m only guessing line-backers are the extra large folks on the field???)

Super Bowl Cupcakes!


I DARE you not to drool! 🙂

Get right on it.  Whip up a batch and sample them so you can perfect your technique in time for Super Bowl Sunday!  If you need to do it more than once, who can blame you? You just want to achieve ultimate flawless deliciousness!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Dedra who says, “I am a late-in-life writer who just found her bravery. Five years ago, I started writing professionally after receiving a journalism degree twenty-six years earlier. Writing has always been in my heart. I wrote three children’s books almost thirty years ago, received a no, and filed them away. Because I now write regularly and have the confidence, I am writing more children’s manuscripts. And this time, I will continue until I get a yes!”

Find her on the web at:


Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Mawbelina Ballerina

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-8)

The Pitch: Mawbelina Ballerina is a young weenie dog desperate to go to dance school with her older siblings. Not long enough or tall enough to go, she whines and pouts until her mom teaches her patience, showing her being small is fun for now.

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 Dedra 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 February – not far off! – 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!

Dedra is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing exactly how wrong the weather people are.  My bet? A dusting.  We’ll just wait and see who’s right and who can’t predict weather!  (And no, Phyllis isn’t helping.  Even though this is fake winter, she’s currently asleep and will not be available to venture weather opinions until February 2!)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


54 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #309 – Mawbelina Ballerina (PB)

  1. hermanator33 says:

    Those cupcakes! Yum. (Not sure that’s what I should be thinking about on the way to my early morning exercise class.
    The image of a tiny weiner dog in a tutu is adorable. I would read this book, but I’m wondering if there is an even smaller dog that could teach patience instead of mom.
    Dedra, are you a member of SCBWI? If so you might be interested in the “Late Bloomer Grant” application for new writers 50 +. Our writing paths are similar, and I’m hoping to have something I’m brave enough to submit by the deadline.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you for reading and thank you for your kind words. Yes, I am a member! Thanks for that tip, I will check it out! Love to hear your writing path!

  2. Corine Timmer says:

    Yes, I would read it as I’m curious to find out how her mother will teach her patience. I like the idea of small being fun, and having a purpose. I don’t think you need both the words young and weenie, perhaps choose one. Im wondering what being long has to do with being able to dance ballet. Sausage dog jumps to mind. Does Mawbelina go to dance school in the end? If not, perhaps change her surname, omit it, or add something to it. An idea: Mawbelina wants to be a Ballerina. Will you be applying the rule of three to this story? What three FUN things will Mawbelina do to learn the value of being weenie? Another thing that jumped to my mind is that Mawbelina could be yearning to join her siblings at dog agility classes, instead of ballet, but that’s personal preference. Apologies if my feedback is disjointed. Not much time today. Good luck and good on you for following your dream! I too am a late bloomer. Susanna, I’m drooling 🤤

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you! I decided I will Fail Forward this time! Her mom teaches her that staying home with her can be fun. And there’s lots of time to come for dance school! Thanks again!

  3. Jennifer G Prevost says:

    I can’t even wrap my mind around those cupcakes! 😍😍

    Hi Dedra! I would definitely read this, in fact, my youngest (he’s 5) would lap up the lesson here. Being too small is a STRUGGLE when you’re the youngest, I would offer a suggestion that being ‘not tall enough or not old enough’ would really connect Mawbelina with readers because that’s a constant struggle when you’re young (not limited to when you’re the youngest child in a family either.) I think your pitch is great! I do agree with the others that few details would probably make it even tighter (and in the big picture leave more room for the illustrations).

    Best of luck!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. The “not long enough” is a play on the weenie dog. But yes, being home with mom, while others get to go do “big” stuff can seem unfair. Mawbelina learns it can be fun, too. Thanks AGAIN!

  4. kaleegwarjanski says:

    Yes I would read it. I love the image of a weaner dog in a tutu. I dont think you need to say her mom teaches her… instead maybe until she learns patience and that small is fun for now. I believe you want to focus on the main character and how they solve their problems. Also, I am not a fan of the name. Does it have to be that for a reason? I think it would be cumbersome to say over and over again as a reader.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thanks for reading! The name came from my weenie dog, Martha. I sometimes call her Mawbelina (not sure why?) and one day, I rhymed it with ballerina. The story came rushing to my mind. Thank you for your kind words!

  5. Ashley Congdon says:

    Yes, I would read it. I think this topic resonates so much with kids. My five year old says he wants to go to UF, move to NYC (He’s never been. He says because there’s always something open.) and have a son a 17. He also told me the other day he’s a teenager. And he’s also said he’s old enough to drive. I think he needs to read your book lol. Good luck with your writing.

  6. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, we’re also promised some white stuff for this weekend, but who knows, maybe it will fly south, like the last storm, and land in Washington.

    Dedra, I’m a maybe on this, in part because it’s so tough to sell dog stories (despite the fact that they always are front & center in bookstores, libraries & people’s hearts). I think I’d lean toward yes if you could add some details of what she does, other than whining & pouting, and how she learns, rather than Mom teaching her, that small is fun for now.

    Hope this helps & kudos for hanging on to the dream!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you for your honest words. Yes, my motto is to Fail forward, rather than quit. Mawbelina’s mom shows her that being home with her, for now, is special. Special, because it is time for them to be together. And there is time. in the future, for school. Thank you again, for the helpful advice.

  7. Katie Engen says:

    Mawbelina is unique – and a mouthful. Does it connect to anything, plot- or character arc-wise? The phrase about Maw being ‘not long enough’ distracted me, I guess since I never think of any dachshund being un-long on any scale. In such a compact, zippy pitch maybe smoothing over that potential distraction is worth a try. ‘Whine’ and ‘pout’ are rather similar. What about at least one alternate verb to show something unique about Maw’s reactions? The keep trying & be patient/enjoy the now message is clear. There seem to be a zillion weenie dog fans so the market should like this.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you for your honesty and for your kind words. The ‘not long enough’ is a play on the weenie dog. They actually do grow…longer. Haha Mawbelina is a nick name I call my weenie dog, Martha. I called her Mawbelina Ballerina one day and the story idea came to me. I will use different verbs in the future. Thank you again!

  8. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    Hi Dedra – I love the premise of your story. I can just picture the fun illustrations! “Not long enough or tall enough” is an interesting line but could you “show” how that is a problem? Maybe “Her tutu dragged on the floor and she couldn’t reach the bar…” or something like that. Make sure that Mawbellina is solving her own problem and not Mom. Maybe “after learning to be patient, Maw discovers”… so all the responsibility of changing and/or solving the problem falls on your main character! Good luck with this. It sounds like an enchanting story!

  9. Wendy says:

    Hi Dedra–fun visuals of these weenie dogs en pointe! One item I’m wondering about which the other commenters didn’t mention are the words “for now” at the end of the pitch. Do you need them? Does the MC learn that she’s okay the way she is–or just okay “for now”? Something to think about! I wasn’t sure if it was a story about being patient–because she would be longer etc. some day, or about being comfortable with the way she is. (Pitches are hard!) Good luck! I’m a dog-story lover and would read this. 🙂

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Oh, yes. I can see how that might be confusing. And I agree, pitches are hard. Thank you for your help. And your kind words! This is about patience. Maw wants to grow up now, but she realizes being home with mom is special, and there is time for school later.

  10. jeanjames926 says:

    Susanna that cupcake is a mountain of deliciousness….and calories…yum! Dedra I love your spirit pursuing your dream, and not giving up until you get your YES. I love your story idea, however I agree with some of the other comments about having little Maw solve her own problems, and not mom. My little 3 year old niece is just dying to go to dance class with her older sister, so I can definitely relate. However my niece must be potty trained first lol, so that’s been an incentive to learn. Perhaps Maw can also have some incentives to learn patience along the way. Best of luck to you!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you! Incentives are always good! I appreciate that and your kind words. I will definitely be changing the wording and I will tweek the story to show Mawbelina learns the lesson on her own.

  11. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning Dedra.

    I like the cuteness of this little dog who wants to do ballet, but I think as a pitch, I would be a no.
    This is not to say that this story does not have merit or potential, but I am not sold on it.

    Many people have hit the main issue on the head. It comes off as didactic. The story needs to be the main driver; being able to use it as a means to teach something is a bonus to be discovered.

    You can have an adult assist, but the MC has to be able to make the break through on their own. In this case, mom can provide things for her to do that she can then discover is fun for her to do.

    One other suggestion, drop the ballerina from the title. Is she a ballerina if she can’t go to school? Also, it does not flow well with a soft second syllable in the first word and a hard second syllable in the second word.

    I commend you on taking back up writing. I did not start writing seriously until I turned 41 (and some would argue I am still not serious). Picture books are difficult because the market is very competitive. Publishers make little money on them, so they are looking for very specific things.

    Good luck on your writing career.

  12. ciaraoneal says:

    Hi Dedra!

    Okay, I admit it! I would read it… because I have!!!! It is a great story. In the story, the siblings and Mawbelina’s own realizations are really the ones that change her mind. But, I do agree with the comments. In your pitch, it gives the agency to the mom. I wonder if you might change it her “her misadventures and her family help her learn being small is fun for now.” (But maybe with a few more poochie words.)

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you, Ciara, and as always, you are so helpful. I like your advice and I will definitely be changing the words in the pitch. I agree, it is misleading!

  13. bababloggayaga says:

    Arr matey, I be a maybe in this, but leaning towards no. I loves me they concept of a wiener dog ballerina. But I be thinking this teaches kiddies to whine and pout and have somebody else solve their problems. That not be a good lesson. Mayhaps that not be how it goes. But that be what I gets from the summary.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      I appreciate your honesty and will definitely be changing the pitch. This has been very enlightening today. Thank you.

  14. Gregory E Bray says:

    I think i’ll be making those cupcakes way before the superbowl.

    I would read this. I don’t have much to add that others haven’t already sadi. Except that the title reminded me of Vampirina Ballerina.

    Good luck!

  15. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Yum! I need some CHOCOLATE!!!

    Now, would I read this story? I’m worried about the dreaded “parent knows best” aspect of the pitch. I think if it’s flipped to Mawbellina figuring it out for herself, it would be a winner. The illustrations could be hilarious. Cheers!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you. Not sure how I never saw this, but yes, I will be changing the words in the pitch so that it is obvious Mawbelina learns the lesson on her own. This has been a teaching moment for me and I appreciate everyone’s comments. Thank you for your kind words.

  16. Anna Kat Napier says:

    Those cupcakes!

    Dedra, I would definitely read this book even though I don’t have children. I would read it for myself! I can relate to being too small to accomplish things, even as an adult! LOL. The story sounds interesting and I’m curious to know how the mom will teach patience. Good luck!

  17. Katie Williams says:

    Ok, first things first–that dessert, oh.my.goodness. Yum, get in my tummy now.

    Secondly, I’m a maybe with this pitch. I have to agree with some of the others that it sounds a bit too didactic and the fact that it sounds like the mom saves the day by teaching patience probably wouldn’t go over well with children OR agents. But the weiner dog idea sounds SUPER cute (my kids love weiner dogs!) and the idea of one trying to do ballet is even better.

    I think you could easily change it to another character who teaches patience, though ideally it would be the MC herself who realizes that all good things comes with time : )

    Thanks for sharing and good luck!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Thank you so much for your advice and your kind words. I agree, and I am thankful it is pointed out to me. And, I will be changing the wording to show Maw learns the lesson on her own. Thank you again, this is helping me so much!

  18. ingridboydston says:

    I have nothing new to add as far as advice goes, it looks like you are already on top of anything I noticed. I do think the concept is adorable. Having said that, every few years there’s a new “ interesting animal…blobfish, narwhal, llama (right Susanna?). We aren’t supposed to predict fads ( because who can ever tell when they will begin or end) but would your story work with a pug? Pugs are everywhere and the pug people I know are fanatic. Just a thought. Best wishes on writing your way to YES! 😃

  19. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    Hi Dedra and Susanna!

    Those cupcakes are beyond words of scrumptiousness! Carmel corn, chocolate syrup, chocolate…chocolate…chocolate…yuuuummmm!

    And your story sounds adorable, Dedra! I would read it. For your pitch, I will only add that I wonder if you can add to the playfulness of the language. For instance, instead of siblings, what about “litter?” Is Mawbellina the “runt?” Or does she just happen to be built differently? You already have heard lots regarding the realization she comes to having to be her own. Also, I’m thinking that since your title is Mawbellina Ballerina, I don’t think you need to repeat the word “ballerina” in your pitch since it’s already clear that this story entails ballet. I also wonder if you can, as you re-word the pitch, work in something fun yet mysterious that tempts others more thoroughly.

    All in all, I think it has wonderfully fun potential and I look forward to the day I can add it to my library. Keep hanging in there, we late bloomers have to keep plugging away!! 🙂

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Rene, Thank you so much for your encouragement and your ideas. I agree with all of them. I appreciate your kindness, also, and yes—hope you can read it one day! I am also glad to know I am not alone in this late-in-life writing world!

  20. authorlaurablog says:

    Better late than never, I hope. I mean my comment, but I suppose it also applies to you finding your bravery to share your writing. It’s been a rough day here. I read this pitch first thing this morning but didn’t have time to comment.

    My answer is Yes. I am a bit unsure of the title – what does Mawbellina mean? I understand the back half of the word is based on ballerina but I didn’t know if Maw meant something. Since your MC is a dog, I actually wondered if it was supposed to be Pawbellina.

    I relate to being short and the youngest and not able to do things that others did. I still can’t reach things in my own house. One bit of advice: it’s usually a good idea for the MC to have agency to solve their own problem. Can you reword it so that while he spends the day with mom, he learns to find patience and embrace being small instead of implying that mom solved the problem. Best of luck with your writing!

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Yes, in the manuscript, Mawbelina figures it out on her own, and I will be sure and reword the pitch so that is obvious. Mawbelina is a nick name I call my weenie dog, Martha. I do like Pawbelina—that is curte. Thank you for your advice and kind words.

  21. M.A. Cortez says:

    Oh my goodness those cupcakes! Sweet and salty is my weakness.
    The story? My answer is Yes. The reason; I love weenie dogs. Do people still call them that? I liked the plot. Someone wanting to do something he/she may not be ready for but finding a sense of peace in where they are now.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      Yes! Kinda like ,e! I am dying to get my manuscripts published, but as you can see—I have some learning to do first! Thank you for your kind words. I have two weenie dogs (and yes, I say that rather than dachshund!). They are the sweetest dogs.

  22. Lynn Baldwin says:

    Those cupcakes look amazing! I’m not much of a baker, but may have to try that recipe:-)

    I’m a “maybe” on the pitch. I think a lot of my feedback has already been given: the name is a bit of a mouthful, the “for now” stuck out at me and the dog should solve her own problem. I do think the idea has a lot of funny potential and would also suggest “amping up” the query a bit. For example, instead of “wanting to go to dance school,” could you make it more specific, “wants to pirouette and plie (spelling?) in dance class with her siblings” or something along those lines.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      I like your last suggestion and she definitely comes to her own conclusion, and I will be changing the pitch to show that. Thank you for your honesty and your advice.

  23. authoraileenstewart says:

    I would read this because a weenie dog who wants to learn ballet is original. But just as we are to show and not tell in our story, I believe we should show and not tell in our hook as well. By using a strong verb instead of “is” I believe you would create more impact. Something like: Mawbelina (Curious as to the name) Ballerina, a desperate young weenie dog, yearns to attend to dance school with her older siblings. Not long enough or tall enough, she whines and pouts until a lesson in patience shows her that being small can be fun.

    In addition, you have the age range as 3 – 8. Generally a pb is 3 – 5 or 5 – 8 and not the whole spread.

    • dedradavis03 says:

      I love your suggestions! Thank you so much. Mawbelina is a nick name I call my weenie dog, Martha. (Don’t ask how that came about! Haha) I am definitely going to use some of your advice here. Thanks!

  24. awritersdream41 says:

    Dedra, yes I would read it. I believe the story would resonate with kids. I like the idea of using an animal, specifically a dog, to present the message of having patience. I struggled a little with saying the title “Mawballeina”. I like that you have Ballerina in the title. Even if she is not a ballerina yet, this is what she wants to be.
    Good luck

  25. dedradavis03 says:

    Thank you so much. I appreciate your honesty and with all the help I received here, hopefully one day you will be able to read this story! Thanks again for you advice and your kind words!

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