Would You Read It Wednesday #313 – School-Berry Muffins (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!

Howdy folks!

After what seems like a long hiatus due to the Valentiny Contest, we’re back to our regularly scheduled Would You Read It Wednesday!

Apparently we’re in a voting mode this week, because if it’s not noon yet there is still time for you to read Valentiny Writing Contest Finalists and vote for your favorite (and also please spread the word to everyone you know who might want to read and vote because we need all the votes we can get!) AND today we have the January Pitch Pick, so you can vote for your favorite of those!

So let’s start with the Pitch Pick.  Here are the January pitches, revised by their authors on the basis of all your wonderful and helpful feedback! Please read through them and choose the one you feel is best and most deserving of a read and comments from editor Erin Molta! Please vote for your favorite in the poll below by Sunday March 3 at 5 PM Eastern.

#1 – Aileen – Professor Hound and the Elusive Thieves (CB)

John B. Hound, Professor at the Collarsville Academy and secret agent working for Breeds Over National Emergencies or B.O.N.E. for short, is on a mission to sniff out thieves and recover stolen goods. His job_ to determine why recent burglaries only occur in the homes of wealthy Hound Academy students, if any of the Hound Academy staff are involved, and who sent the perfumed note containing a clue. Will Professor Hound decipher the note and other clues in time or will the sneaky culprits outsmart him and get away with the valuables?

#2 – Dedra – Mawbellina Ballerina (PB ages 3-8)

Mawbelina Ballerina is a young weenie dog desperate to go to dance school with her older siblings. Being the youngest of the family frustrates Mawbelina. Not long enough or tall enough to go, she pirouettes and pliés, whines and pouts until she realizes there is time for dance school later. She understands being home with her mom is special. See how she learns a lesson in patience and decides being small can be fun.

#3 – Jennifer – BYOB, Bring Your Own Bear (PB ages 4-8)

Jillian knew that Rex wasn’t a bear, it wasn’t something that had ever mattered before. But, on the day of the Teddy Bear Picnic, it suddenly mattered… a lot. Realizing she might be the only one without a bear, Jillian decides do whatever it takes for she and Rex to fit in, even if it means keeping a secret from her friends.

#4 – Fanny – Hazel Lee’s Place In The Sky (NF PB ages 6-9)

Hazel Lee is not the stereotypical Chinese-American young woman. She is loud, stubborn, and athletic. Against the expectations of her Chinese community, she earns a pilot’s license, when women in the 1930s are thought to be too emotional to be a pilot. Her high-spirited personality gains friendship and acceptance among fellow WASPs (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) who had never met a Chinese before. Hazel proves she can fly fighter planes as well as any man.



Always such a hard choice, isn’t it? Clearly we need Something Chocolate after that! Since it’s breakfast, I’m incorporating fruit for your health! 🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake


Recipe (including helpful video) HERE at Life, Love, & Sugar

YUM! Delicious AND nutritious! (from a certain point of view 🙂 ) Please feel free to help yourselves to seconds.  There’s plenty for all! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will recognize from several previous pitches.  Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: School-Berry Muffins

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

The Pitch: Alien Blob hi-jacks my school bus one morning.  He tells us that he wants us to help him gather the ingredients to make school-berry muffins, and we’re supposed to be the school-berries!  Blob is not exactly familiar with the ways and the words of Earth, so I try to fool him.  He is smart enough to see right through my attempts, though.  I must plan something really clever.

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 Sarah 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 May, 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!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Valentiny Contest!  We will find out tomorrow!!!  I can’t wait!!! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


22 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #313 – School-Berry Muffins (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Pick!

  1. ptnozell says:

    Such a busy week, Susanna. Voting on the Valentiny winner and the January pitch pick in one week – we’ll need every bite of that chocolaty cheesecake to power up our brains!

    Sarah, I’m a maybe on the pitch, as I’m confused as to who, or what, Alien Blob is & how the children could be both helpers & ingredients for muffins. And while I like that you’ve written the pitch from the perspective of the story’s narrator, I’d like to know more about him or her and some clues to what s/he does to thwart Blob’s plans. I hope these comments help as you revise the pitch – it’s clear that you’ve cooked up a humorous story that I’m sure kids will eat up.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      This IS a busy week, Patricia! I’m thinking I might skip PPBF since by Friday I will have posted about 4 days in a row already! Thanks so much for your thoughts for Sarah – I know she will find them helpful!

  2. sarahheturadny says:

    Ptnozell, thank you so much for the comments! I was hesitant to write the pitch in first person and I know it’s not how the pitch is going to end up. I am really looking forward to lots of constructive criticism (thank you Susanna for letting me pitch on your blog!) as I openly admit this pitch needs a lot of work! so thank you!

  3. Katie Engen says:

    Clever premise, for sure. Quirky voice is attention-getting, yet it seems a bit middle grade-to-middle school (vs. PB). If I’m getting the gist correctly, I wonder if ‘student-berries’ is more accurate than school-berries. Hijacking the bus and baking with children conveys Blob is quite nasty. Other phrases indicate he’s just a bit confused. Which is it? Remove ‘He tells us’ to both eliminate passive voice and heighten the immediacy of the problem. In that same vein, perhaps replace some of the droll tone with a bit more stridency or at least surprise.

  4. Wendy says:

    I love the idea that an alien is going to bake muffins with kids in them (what that says about me, I’m not sure!). I’m wondering whose story it’s going to be–the alien’s? The kids’? or a friendship story following both? I want to know who to follow and root for. If the alien’s name IS Blob, use the extra words to say “an alien named Blob” perhaps? I’m thinking try the pitch in third person? (you don’t have to change the story POV!) I’m also wondering about the scale of all this. The alien must be enormous if the kiddos are berry-sized.Perhaps start with a “When a school bus-sized alien named Blob hijacks etc. Then make it clear if it’s the alien’s story, or one of the kids on the bus. Good luck with it, Sarah!

  5. authorlaurablog says:

    There’s so much voting this week. I’ve cast my ballots and good luck to all.
    Regarding the pitch, I’m not sure it works in first person even though I’ll bet the story works well in that POV. I love the stakes your story has and your MC has agency. Both of those are great. I had trouble with the grammar in your pitch. Would I read the book? Yes. Does the pitch need a little reworking? Also yes. Good luck.

  6. matthewlasley says:

    I am a maybe today. I like the premise, but I think the story (pitch) comes off a bit scary for kids. Someone hijacks their bus? Then wants to make them into muffins?
    It reminds me of a Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors episode in which Aliens kidnap the Simpsons and Lisa discovers a cookbook called “Cooking Humans.” Then the alien wipes dust off of the cover and reveals the book is called “Cooking for Humans.”
    I think your story has promise with the idea of how communication can be difficult between people, especially when they don’t speak the same language well.
    I agree that writing the pitch in first person is difficult. It is important that you let your character “speak” and I don’t hear his/her voice. If you choose to continue in first person, focus on your character and not Alien Bob. How does your character feel?

    Good luck with your story idea.

  7. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    I would say a maybe just because of clarification. Who is your MC? What are the stakes? I’m no expert, but just from reading articles about pitches. Maybe this can help you plug in your information. https://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/how-to-write-one-sentence-pitch

    If the MC happens to learn a lesson along the way, can add that in there too.
    I think with an adjustment we can see what the story is about. I know my oldest son would enjoy reading about an alien. Good luck!

  8. Judy Sobanski says:

    Hi Sarah – I’m a maybe on this one. I love the premise, but it’s a little confusing as to who is the MC and what is the goal. I would try writing it in third person to see if it brings some clarification to the pitch.
    Maybe something like:
    Blob the alien hi-jacks a school bus full of kids in order to look for the ingredients to make his school-berry muffins. With limited knowledge of earthly customs and language, Blob urges the kids to help him on his quest. When (MC name) realizes Blob intends for the kids to be the school-berries, he/she comes up with a plan using _____________ to outsmart this muffin-making alien.

  9. Corine Timmer says:

    Sarah, I’m a maybe but could easily become a yes after some revisions. I like the idea of a muffin-making alien who intends to use the kids as a primary ingredient. I think it could be fun and interesting. How will they solve the problem and remain friends? I can picture the illustrations already! I agree with most of the comments above. Good luck!

  10. bababloggayaga says:

    Arr matey, I be a maybe too, for many of they reasons yer clever readers sez above. I be thinking especially the last sentence it needs more immediacy. Saying “I must plan…” sounds like yer MC can go home, have a glass of milk, and think on it. By then he/she might could be the first muffin in the tin!

  11. dedradavis03 says:

    I’m confused a bit by the alien? Is he a berry? A blob? Other than that, it sounds like a cute story. And now, I want muffins. And cheesecake!

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