Would You Read It Wednesday #310 – BYOB, Bring Your Own Bear (PB)

Howdy, Folks!

In case you were wondering, today is National Pie Day.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure there are a number of picture books in that!

– the biggest pie in the world
– the smallest pie in the world
– friendship pie
– magic pie
– a pie baked by pirates
– a pie that isn’t baked at all
– a pie that burns, ensuring burglars are brought to justice
– a pie with a secret
– a pie that is a trick
– a pie baked with love
– a pie baked for revenge
– a pie for every season
– a pie that goes for a motorcycle ride
– a pie that is sailed down an underground river
– a mystery pie
– a pie with very unusual filling…

I could go on, but I hope all you writers are hastily scribbling notes for the story you’re going to write as soon as you finish Would You Read It! 🙂  Think of me (and pie) as my contribution to Storystorm 🙂 (And if by some bizarre chance you haven’t heard of Storystorm well, by golly!, click that link!)

But enough about pie!  (As if…! 🙂 )

The Halloweensie and Holiday Contests wreaked havoc with my resolution to do a better job of keeping up with the Pitch Picks and Straight From The Editor.  I was trying to sort it all out Monday night, and realized I don’t think I ever announced that the winner of the September Pitch Pick was Sarah with her pitch for No Shoes Stanley!  Congratulations, Sarah! I have, in actual fact, sent your pitch to Erin and I’m sure you’ll hear from her as soon as she’s able!  I’m sorry if your win fell through the cracks of October!  But more fun for you now… 🙂 A surprise!  With confetti and balloons!!  And PIE!!! 🙂

The backlog of Straight From The Editors is extreme, due to them all showing up at once the week before Christmas when we were all distracted.  I think rather than try to fit about six of them into an already packed Would Your Read It Wednesday, I might just post a special Straight From The Editor Thursday or something.  What do you guys think about that?

While you’re thinking (and to help aid in your thinking) how about a little Something Chocolate?

I thought so.  Great minds think alike!

What with Valentine’s Day just around the bend, I thought we could all put a little love in our hearts… and a little cream filling in our chocolate 🙂

Ding Dong Valentines Chocolate Hearts


Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jennifer who is an aspiring picture book author, registered nurse and French fry fanatic living in the deep south. She is a woman of many hats but her favorites are the ones that say wife, mom, & writer. She spends some of her time auditing and educating for a regional hospice company and can also be found blogging at her personal site Magnolias & Manuscripts and as a regular contributor on Lafayette Mom’s Blog. She has a passion for creativity and whole heartedly believes Brene Brown when she says, “The magic is in the mess.”

You can also find her on FB and twitter:
Twitter: @jennygprevost
Facebook: @JenniferGPrevost

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: BYOB, Bring Your Own Bear

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: Of course, Jillian knew that Rex wasn’t a bear, it wasn’t something that had ever mattered to her before. But, on the day of the Teddy Bear Picnic, it suddenly mattered… a lot. Without a new bear to bring, Jillian decides do whatever it takes to fit in, even if it means keeping a secret from all of her friends.

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 Jennifer 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, 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!

Jennifer is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing a story about pie! :). I think I’ll start…

The Princess And The Pie
Once upon a time, there was a princess.
She didn’t look much like a princess because she had a passion for wading through swamps in search of bog turtles.
“You are not a princess,” said her swamp-wading companion, Wellsley.  “Princesses do not wear hip-waders and smell like pond scum and have brambles in their hair.”
“I’ll prove I’m a princess,” said the princess.  “I can feel a pea under twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds!”
Wellsley knew that only a true princess was that sensitive.  But where was the challenge if she knew there was going to be pea?
“I’ll put something under twenty mattresses and twenty featherbeds,” said Wellsley, “but you have to tell me what it is!”
“Game on!” said the princess.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


81 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #310 – BYOB, Bring Your Own Bear (PB)

  1. sarahheturadny says:

    1. Yes, I would read it. I might like to know, or have a little clue about how Jillian tries to make Rex Bear-Like. I might also like to know if Rex is a dinosaur or a dog or anything in-between. But I do want to read it because you caught my curiosity: “How will Jillian sneak a ____ to the picnic?” Also, why would kids care about ONLY bringing bears to a picnic? How old are they?

    2. Thank you all for voting my pitch, NO SHOES STANLEY, the October winner! I am so excited that Erin will be reviewing it!!! I never win anything!!!!! Seriously, this is making me waaaaay more excited than it should. Haha! Thank you! And thank you Susanna for these addicting, wonderful contests!!!

  2. eleanorannpeterson says:

    Yes, I would read it. I can imagine REX being a dinosaur and perhaps Jillian will dress him up to look like a teddy bear, I love the suspense. What secret? Is REX a real animal? Perhaps a pet lizard of some kind.

  3. Ashley Congdon says:

    Yes, I would read it. I agree with Sarah, give a little more detail. Maybe in reference to how she tries to get Rex to fit in. This popped in my head after reading your pitch. Does she convince them in the end to have a Plush Party instead of a Teddy Bear Picnic to include all plush toys?

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    Yes. Hi Jennifer, you’re set up an interesting story here with a MC who is going to face obstacles that will be fun to see in illustrations to solve her problem. I am assuming Rex is a T-Rex which is clever because you didn’t need to waste valuable real estate in your pitch describing him. I’m not sure if keeping a secret is her true fear or not fitting in. A few more details but not giving away the ending might make this pitch even better.

    Susanna, mmmm pie! I thought pie day was 3/14. So you’re telling me there are two? That gives me a Storystorm idea for sure! I love the start of yours.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you for your helpful thoughts for Jennifer, Laura! And 3/14 is Pi day! Not at all as delicious! 🙂 But I’m glad it gave you an idea! And I’m glad you like the beginning of my silly story which truthfully I just wrote on the spur of the moment off the top of my head to finish the post with because it suddenly occurred to me that The Princess And The Pie sounded a lot like the title of another story we all know and love 🙂

  5. Katie Engen says:

    As a former Teddy Bear Picnic co-hostess (w/my Big Sis), this hooked me. I am curious about needing a ‘new’ bear – is newness required? The rest of the pitch makes it seem bear-ness is key (so the phrase maybe should be ‘any’ bear). I’d also like a bit more of a hint about what Jillian does. For example, is she changing herself, Rex, or both? Also wondering if Rex has any sort of sentience/contribution for the story or if he’s more of a (beloved) prop for Jillian. Not sure all of that needs to be in the pitch (but it’s clear evidence I want to read the story).

  6. Lynn says:

    YES, Jennifer, I would read this book. I like that your pitch keeps me guessing, not giving too much information, and making it enticing to read your story. Great for a curious mind like mine.

  7. Kathy Halsey says:

    Susanna, you have been ‘snowed under” with life. One post on a Thursday for Straight from the Editor would be fine along with…pie. Great brainstorming for Storystorm. I had a breakthrough regarding soup and a new story! Can you guess what’s in my soup? Ha.
    Jennifer, I think your pitch is enticing, and yes, I’d read it. But like the others have said here, I want to know what the real conflict is. I think Rex fitting is really her fitting in. Define better for your audience her true fear. Or is this just a fun story meant to make the reader laugh? I like the title – very clever- however, considering the audience age, would some object to the adult connotation of BYOB? (I know it’s just a working title.) Good luck.

    • Jennifer G Prevost says:

      I have had some pushback from critique partners on the title… I love what Marci Colleen did with Love, Triangle in taking a super adult concept and making it adorably kid friendly (the story is also precious). That’s where the chain of inspiration started but I’m not married to the title because of the potential pushback. Thanks for your help and kind words!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments for Jennifer, Kathy! And a soup breakthrough? That sounds VERY interesting…! Hmm…. what could be in your soup? I kind of hope it ISN’T pie, because that would be very soggy 🙂 Thank you for weighing in on the Straight From The Editor question – you are the first person to do so and I appreciate your input! 🙂

  8. ptnozell says:

    Jennifer, I’m a yes, too, as I have very fond memories of Teddy Bear picnics with my kids & their stuffed animals, & I think you’re presenting a very kid-relatable scene & problem. I agree with the others, though, that it’s unclear whether Rex isn’t a bear, isn’t new, or if there is some other issue involved. I’d love to know more about the problem & Jillian’s potential response. I hope these comments help.

    Susanna, I hope that Laura is correct & that there are 2 pie days – that would be so sweet! Thanks for the StoryStorm prompts!

  9. Mary A Zychowicz says:

    Yes. I would totally read it! I want to know what Rex is and how she keeps it a secret from her friends. You have my curiosity up and I can almost imagine the illustrations.

  10. Writer on the run says:

    Yes I would read it. I think you have the beginnings of a story that might have all kinds of humorous twists and turns as Jillian tries to keep her non-Teddy Bear a secret. I don’t know if you really need to clarify what Rex is in the pitch- maybe the illustrator does the reveal, or Rex’s identity is made obvious through story details. I assumed it was a dinosaur.
    I would tighten up the pitch a little: Jillian never cared that (her favorite ________,) Rex, was not a bear, but on the day of the Teddy Bear picnic, she suddenly cared a lot. Jillian decides she must do whatever it takes to be part of the picnic, even it means keeping secrets from her friends.
    (Hope I did not veer off in the wrong direction).
    Great job and good luck!

  11. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I’m – for sure – intrigued. I’m thinking Rex is a bunny, but alas – it’s not meant for me to know… unless you revise the pitch to TELL US!! Please! This sounds like SO much fun. Good luck with it.

  12. jimchaize (@jchaize1) says:

    Yes, I would read it. It sound like it could be a very fun story. I think children could easily relate to this since they don’t always have the right thing to fit in with others. I wonder if not including the word “new” would make it a stronger pitch. Best wishes with your work on this.

  13. matthewlasley says:

    I am a yes on this. I think the pitch is short, raises intrigue, and makes me want to know more. The worry I have is with the title, an editor or agent might think, “another teddy bear book.”
    Without reading the story, I get the premise of identity, fitting in, and the struggle to be you, which is an important topic to kids that they don’t understand how to voice.

    One other thing is this line “Jillian decides do whatever”. I believe it should read “Jillian decides TO do whatever…” It may be minor, but editors do look for writing errors to determine how much revision or ability is needed.

    Good luck with this idea.

  14. Rene` Diane Aube says:

    I would absolutely read this! What fun!! I especially love that you are leaving what Rex is up to the illustrator (per your response above that you wish you knew what he was, too). I’ve always been far too controlling about my characters. Kudos to you!

    I do agree that you may be able to re-word it to tighten it up a little as Writer on the Run stated. As far as intriguing, I think it’s great!

    Susanna…was just thinking I needed to make a blueberry pie today! Only problem is I’ll eat it…almost all of it before hubby gets home from work like I did the last time. And I love the story you began. I’m surprised Princess didn’t buy a pie and discover Prince Charming was hidden inside, though! 😀

    • Jennifer G Prevost says:

      Thanks, Rene! I appreciate your enthusiasm and support…

      Ps- in my corner of the world, if the Princess finds a Prince in the pie… then it isn’t a pie at all but a King Cake! (which usually has a baby hidden inside)… now I’m hungry!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you for your helpful comments for Jennifer, Rene! And YUM! Blueberry Pie! A favorite here on Blueberry Hill… you can guess why 🙂 I think you should bake a pie even if you eat most of it because after all, it is nothing but your daily healthy servings of fruit! 🙂 I’m not sure about Princess finding Prince Charming in a pie… but it might be a good hiding place for a ring…! 🙂

      • Rene` Diane Aube says:

        You ARE talking me right into picking up some blueberries after the my barn chores today 🙂 Maybe if I eat nothing BUT pie I can still get back into my smaller clothes?? 🙂 I guess I was thinking of how some folks have girls pop out of cakes, why not a prince in a pie?? But your thoughts of a ring in the pie is far better!! 🙂

  15. bababloggayaga says:

    Arr, I be liking it too. I wanted to know what Rex was – mayhaps he be a dinosaur, but Rex it also be a dog’s name – or he could be a froggy with a crown – but I digresses. I don’t think you needs to say it didn’t matter, then it matters. You shows that by saying she’ll do whatever it takes. But I be wondering if you needs to hint at the ending. Yer pitch it feels a little unfinished to me.

  16. Katie Williams says:

    Those Valentine’s heart are killing me! I want them NOW! So much yumminess. Ok, back to focusing.

    I am a maybe leaning toward yes on this pitch. There is a lot going on there and it gets a bit confusing. If Rex isn’t a bear, who (or what?) is he? Why does it matter so much that he’s NOT a bear (will Jillian be shunned if she doesn’t have an actual bear? Will be she not be allowed to go to the picnic? Will they make fun of her or kick her out of the teddy bear picnic club?)? More specifics here would be helpful. And the secret part is intriguing–I really like that, but it adds quite a twist and a lot more plot right at the end. If you can elaborate a tiny bit, I think it would make the pitch a lot stronger. What will happen if her friends find out about her secret? Can you give a hint as to what the secret is? Is it just that she’s trying to disguise her dog (or whatever Rex is) as a bear? I think the story sounds cute and I’m dying to know what the secret is and how she handles it, the pitch just needs a few more specifics and a smoother flow. Hope that helps!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comments for Jennifer, Katie! (And if you’re desperate for those chocolate hearts, you could always cheat by buying a pack of Ring Dings on your way home from work and using a heart-shaped cookie cutter 🙂 )

  17. Diana Murray says:

    Yes! I would definitely read it! I love the way you build suspense. Only thing that put me off at first was the title. I don’t think making a beer pun is a good idea. Maybe something along the lines of “Only Bears” or “Teddy Rex”? I’m not sure. Also, if at all possible, it would be great if you could sneak in a little more of your voice. Maybe toss in a fun phrase you use in the text or something? But it’s definitely intriguing as is.

    • Jennifer G Prevost says:

      Oh, I’m flattered that you took a break from your WWTS applications to offer feedback!! Thanks for the suggestion about adding more voice, you have my wheels spinning now. And I appreciate the comments about the title too… I was hoping this would be a good litmus year for it and it has!

  18. Susan Schade says:

    Yes, I would read this. Very engaging pitch and leaves the reader wanting to get their hands on that story. Creative idea. Nice job!

  19. Patricia Finnegan says:

    Hi, Jenny! After reading your pitch, I wouldn’t be able to resist reading your story. The idea of setting the problem around a teddy bear picnic grabbed me right away. I don’t feel that I need to know what type of animal Rex is; for that matter, I don’t know for sure whether Jillian is a human or a bear (or some other living thing).

    I did have a little trouble reading the first sentence, but nobody else has mentioned that problem, so maybe it is just me. For me, it would have read more smoothly if the word “but” was after the comma:
    Of course, Jillian knew that Rex wasn’t a bear, but it wasn’t something that had ever mattered to her before.

  20. yangmommy says:

    I’d definitely read the manuscript, Patricia. However, I wouldn’t start a pitch with a phrase such as “of course,” which takes things for granted. Rather, omit that & start with something like, “It didn’t matter to Jillian that Rex was not a bear, until the day of the Teddy Bear Picnic.” Just a thought!
    And Susanna…OMG, dingdong V-day hearts, and right before my dinner time–ack!! Or, yum, actually 🙂

  21. Lynn Baldwin says:

    I would say “maybe.” I scanned others’ comments but didn’t have time to read them all, so I apologize if this is redundant. While I’m intrigued to find out what/who Rex is, I’m not that hooked by the first sentence. I find it confusing and think it could be stronger to engage agents/editors more.

    Without really knowing what your story is about, it seems to me that the first sentence could be something like…Unlike her friends, Jillian doesn’t have a bear to bring to the Teddy Bear Picnic. She just has Rex. (I guess that’s two sentences:-)) I’m definitely intrigued by how your story touches on the universal childhood theme of wanting to fit in. Good luck!

  22. Sue Heavenrich says:

    I would definitely read this – and love the idea of a BYOB picnic (having done a few in my day, but not with teddy bears). I can’t wait to see what she decides. Will she include Rex? and if so, how?
    Maybe include in pitch that Rex is her best stuffed buddy, but definitely not a bear.

  23. Ellen Warach Leventhal says:

    I would read this too. I agree that perhaps the first sentence needs to set up the idea that Jillian needs a bear to bring to the picnic. I feel like Jillian really loves Rex, and thus, feels conflicted. What will she do? I want to know! (Get this book out there! 🙂 )My grandson’s first birthday party was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic. Everyone brought a Teddy Bear to be donated instead of presents for my grandson. Most brought Teddy Bears, but a few brought other plush toys. Of course, it was fine, but one of the older siblings of a guest said, “You can’t bring an alligator to a bear party!” I’m wondering if you can bring “A Rex” to a bear party. Good luck. Sound adorable!

  24. Stephanie Williams says:

    Nice, pitch, Jen! My thought is that you could cut the “Of course” at the beginning and the word “new” when describing the bear. Looks like you got lots of great feedback here. 🙂

    • Jennifer G Prevost says:

      Yayyy!! Thanks for clicking over my friend! Might I recommend you taking a turn when you have a pitch ready about a certain playground time share… 😜. I appreciate you and all that you’re doing to make Jillian & Rex come to life.

  25. https://katiewalsh.blog/ says:

    Yes, I would read it! This sounds like a sweet story. Thoughts: Maybe you could give a hint as to what kind of animal Rex is? Your pitch makes me wonder what the secret could be. Does she dress up Rex to look like a Bear? Those are of course my thoughts as I’m very intrigued by reading your pitch. Nice work and best of luck!

  26. Sarah Tobias says:

    WOW! so much valuable feedback. I am a yes especially as you make changes to your pitch as noted by the other commentors. My first thought was about the title, and I was not comfortable with the beer reference either. I did think that Rex was probably a dinosaur and knew he wasn’t a bear, so that didn’t really bother me. I love that it is a Teddy Bear Picnic. We need more picnics in life. If the story is about inclusion, which it sounds like from the comments that it is, I would like a little hint about the secret being exposed. I keep thinking of the book “Strictly No Elephants.” A wonderful book and if you don’t already have it as a comparable take a look at it. Good luck with your pitch and your story!

    The feedback given on this post is fantastic. I am learning so much from reading the comments.

  27. Ciara O'Neal says:

    Hi Jennifer! I love this story already! I want to read it…like now! I am really hoping that Rex is a dino. I carried, ahem…till first grade…ahem, a dino in my backpack to school. I made sure to leave his head out so he could see everything from my hook in the classroom. 🙂 Although, that didn’t really help me fit in. I probably could have used your book, love the theme!

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