Would You Read It Wednesday #317 – Will Bear Come Through? (PB)

Good Morning, Everyone!

I hope you’re all feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today!

I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but on Friday March 29 – in just 2 days! – the first all-female spacewalk ever is set to take place!

How cool is that?

(And how is it possible that there hasn’t been one before?!)

I confess, I’ve been paying a little more attention than usual to news from space because I have a book coming out June 4 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and another space-oriented book in the works for next year, and I am fascinated by how amazing all space/NASA-related endeavors are.

Of course, now that she’s heard about an all-female spacewalk, my friend and yours, Punxsutawney Phyllis, wants to try an all-female groundhog spacewalk.  I’m not sure she’s going to be able to pull that off, but she says she at least wants a book in which she gets launched somewhere in a rocket!

That’s Phyllis 🙂

I guess I’ll have to put my thinking cap on!

The perfect thing for thinking is Something Chocolate, and the perfect choice for today, given Phyllis’s nutty plan, is clearly  Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake!!! 🙂

If you happen not to be a peanut butter fan, it would be as easy as pie (er, I guess easy as cake? 🙂 ) to make the frosting with almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter.  Either of those would go well with chocolate cake.  What doesn’t?! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Joyce.  After decades as an educator and principal, Joyce Uglow has a passion for literacy that lives in stories about acceptance, friendship, and family. A graduate of Children’s Book Academy, she spends time honing her craft via SCBWI, the 12×12 Challenge, the Complete Picture Book Submission System, reading books for children. Find her at the keyboard, in her vineyard or flower gardens, or @jpuglow on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Will Bear Come Through?

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

The Pitch: It’s time to enter this year’s Amazing Baking Contest. But, last year Bear devoured their entry. Can the Bakersville animals pull together and bring the trophy back – without Bear? Will Bear Come Through? is a 447-word alphabet picture book complete with recipes for children 4-8 to bake with their family.

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 Joyce 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 could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Joyce is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to this weekend when the local weatherfolk and Phyllis are predicting temperatures near 60 degrees!!! 🙂  If that doesn’t make you smile… have some more cake! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


42 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #317 – Will Bear Come Through? (PB)

  1. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Ooh…I actually love your pitch idea! I’ve always wanted to write a narrative alphabet book (we have one that is a favorite) and I think you came up with a super concept for one! The fact that it was an alphabet book (mentioned at the end) surprised me, and I wondered if you might make that more clear in your synopsis by perhaps making the ABC letter words bold? In other words, in your first sentence , somehow make first letters of the words that begin with ABCD stand out. (Not sure that Is good advice, though—see what others think.). Just thought you might be able to show how you are incorporating the alphabet as you tell your tale, rather than just, A is for amazing, B is for Baking, etc. I would definitely read this…great idea! Best of luck!

  2. Sandra Sutter says:

    Yes, I would read the book. I did want to know a little more about the relationship between the Bakersville animals and Bear, or more particularly what is expected of him to pull through other than not eating it. But otherwise, I LOVE this idea and to put it all together in an ABC book sounds very clever. 🙂

  3. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, yes, please, to more Phyllis books. I can see her journeying through jungles, exploring oceans, launching into space!

    Joyce, I love your concept for a concept book, complete with recipes. I was thrown when I got to the 3rd sentence, though, and you mentioned the Bakersville Animals. I’d suggest introducing them in the first sentence, perhaps something like, “The Bakersville animals are set to enter this year’s Amazing Baking Contest, an A to Z of tasty treats. But, last year Bear devoured their entry. Can the other animals pull together and bring the trophy back – without Bear?…”

    I hope this helps as you revise your pitch.

  4. rosecappelli says:

    Hi Joyce! Yes, I would definitely want to read this book. I love the concept of an alphabet book complete with recipes. I thought the same thing as the commenter above that mention of the Bakersville animals should come in the first sentence. It seems from the title that you are setting it up that Bear will need to be included, so maybe you might give more of a hint to that in the pitch. Right now the title doesn’t seem to match that Bear will not be included. Good luck with this!

  5. Kathy Halsey says:

    Hi Susanna and Joyce, I want to see Phyllis in space! I like the pitch, would read the story, and feel that PTNozell named a better beginning for you. I have heard tha tABC concept books are a harder sell, but w/the narrative arc and baking element, I think you’ve managed to distinguish the bigger hook in the book. Also, consider perhaps giving more of a hint of the story in your title.

  6. Kathy Halsey says:

    Argh, the title does make the reader wonder but maybe add the baking element into it? Or the ABCs in the title? (believe someone else suggested this. Sorry for so many pots.

  7. Wendy says:

    Susanna -I think the all female spacewalk is off!! Not enough women-sized spacesuits they’re saying (which don’t you think they would have known??) Funny memes now.

    Joyce – I think the ABC recipe combo is a fun one! The title reminds me of Z IS FOR MOOSE, and ABC with an interfering character. I did wonder about the title – if they’re baking without bear, why would he/she come through? Are you giving away the ending – that Bear is needed after all? Perhaps do away with the first sentence entirely and start with “Last year Bear ate the Bakersville animals’ entry for the Amazing Baking Contest.” Then add a sentence about the a-z of tasty entries? Just a thought! Good luck with this!

  8. Ginny Edwards Neil says:

    Love the idea of a narrative alphabet book and this one sounds funny. Yes, I would definitely read it. Do wonder, if bear is the main character, is the book about her efforts to be re-included or are the animals the main characters and it’s about the animal’s working to stop her? I think the opening line could clarify which is the main issue. Good luck with this.

    • jpuglow says:

      Hi Ginny,
      Bear is the main character and needs to be included. We don’t want him to devour the desserts. And we certainly don’t want Bear to desert his animal friends. 🙂

  9. sarahheturadny says:

    Hello! First of all, I love the idea of almond butter chocolate cake… or cashew butter… my mouth is watering! (Wish I could eat PB but my body decided this year to become allergic!)

    I would read it, simply because it sounds very similar to my CAKE, BY CAT AND BEAR manuscript.

    Aside from that purely selfish reason, I would read it, and I want some clarification: Is the alphabet part the story arc, or are the recipes included in the story arc. I also wonder how you build the tension in the story… Is Bear really struggling with each step in the baking process or “presenting” process to not eat the cake? (I imagine him shuffling in the corner, holding his belly and eyeing the delectable treat greedily.) I want some hint of tension aside from just: does he eat the treat or doesn’t he.

    But that’s just me, take it or leave it, and good luck!

    • jpuglow says:

      Great points! The conflict needs to be shown in the pitch. I’m on it!
      The alphabet is part of the arc and the recipes additions. Bear wants desperately to be forgiven and works to prove himself worthy of being their baker.

  10. Katie Engen says:

    I’m curious & would like to read more. I’d like the pitch to tell me about or show me another line of how the ABCs are used. It’s evident in the title; so… does the first sentence use DEF, etc. words? Plot question: How are the animals ‘pull together’ if their starting point is leaving out Bear? Maybe another verb phrase (e.g. muddle through, have a chance to win, enter an unchomped dessert) would make more sense. It’d be nice if at least one recipe were classroom-friendly, too.

    • jpuglow says:

      The story uses all 26 letters. The idea of a classroom friendly recipe could be a great bonus. Thanks for the suggestions.

  11. authorlaurablog says:

    I don’t usually read other comments before leaving a reply but I was confused by your pitch and the title so I decided to see what others thought. Patricia has rewritten it beautifully. I agree an alphabet book with a narrative and recipes sounds delicious.

    Susanna, I’m also very interested in the anniversary of the first moon landing and so many other space related things. Unfortunately, all of the women for this planned space walk needed medium sized space suits and they only had one in that size. Seriously? They’re just realizing this now?

  12. Angie says:

    I would definitely read this! Love the idea of trying to have a bake-off and not have Bear eat the entries. I would add more info about the ABC portion. I was a little confused by the punctuation ?. Not that it wasn’t used correctly, but I had a difficult time understanding the two sentences, where one ended and one began. Great pitch!

  13. matthewlasley says:

    I love the concept, but I do not love the title. I realize it is a working title, but it made the pitch confusing. Is bear the main character? Is bear the antagonist? Is bear just a character?

    With a concept book, ABC fits in a 32 page format. I am curious if this is a true ABC book and a picture book at the same time? How do the page breaks work and include recipes?

    Since I am confused, even though I like the concept, I would be a no.

    That being said, I think the story has potential, but the pitch doesn’t work for me.

    Without knowing your story, here are a few suggestions:
    1. Set your hook. Think about what makes this story readable. What engages the reader? Tell me what we are going to discover. If it is the ABCs or recipes, it is a concept book because it is not really about the characters.
    2. Why should I care? I want to know why it is so important to win, who bear is (especially if he is in the title, even if he is the antagonist), and can we solve the problem.
    3. Your last line is your best line, but it is not necessary. That is part of a query. Imagine it like this; you have 30 seconds to describe your amazing cake recipe, do you A) tell me how amazing it is B) Why I should eat it C) a list of ingredients? (BTW the answer is B.) The last line is a list of ingredients that a picture book should be.

    I hope this is helpful as I would like to know more about this book.

    • jpuglow says:

      Matthew, I appreciate your honesty and guidance. Thank you for taking the time to make suggestions. Point well taken about the title. The book is a picture book, which uses the classic A if for ___ format with Bear as the main character. The recipes are included as back matter so as to not interrupt the flow of the story.
      I’m on it!

  14. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    Yes, I would read this. The comments above provide helpful tips to revise your pitch to help make it shine with the few sentences you have to hook the reader. When my oldest son was little I would check out all the alphabet books. I always wanted more and more because that’s what helped him learn his alphabet. I like the concept of showing that through a baking contest. The recipes at the the end is an added interactive extension to the book. Bear, baking, and the alphaBET! Good luck!

    • jpuglow says:

      Thanks, Ashley. Alphabet books are so different in today’s libraries. So many have moved beyond learning of the letters and sounds to learning about cultures, adjectives, and baking! Uncommon alphabet books such as: A is for Angry, P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever, Z is for Moose come to my mind.
      Enjoy your day.

  15. bababloggayaga says:

    Aye matey, I be loving me any book involving baked goods. But I found yer title misleading. ‘Will Bear Come Through’ it be sounding like bear he saves the day and it makes him yer main character. I likes the idea of using alphabetical characters in yer pitch. Here be a challenge – could the pitch be 26 words arranged alphabetically? Or somewhat close? That be showing you knows yer ABCs, not to mention yer XYZs.

  16. jpuglow says:

    Bear blew this back to you Bababloggayaga: I received A Bunch of Creative and Down-right Exhilaratingly Fantastic Gifts of Helpful Hints along with Ideas to Jumpstart the animals’ Kick-It Kitchen Magic. Not Only were the Posts Perfect, but Quite Reasonable and So Terrifically Usable. They were Verifiably Wonderful, eXtraordinary, yummy, and Zoned in on what is needed to pitch this perfectly. BEAR IS HUNGRY FOR AN ABC WIN!

    • jpuglow says:

      Your young learners are so fortunate to have you as their teacher. Thanks for the vote of confidence in this book.

  17. Jorge Lacera, Pre-order Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! (@jlacera) says:

    Hi Joyce, I love that the book has recipes and baking/cooking is so fun for kids and families. I was confused by the idea of bear “coming through” on the heels of the other Bakersville animals trying to pull off the trophy without Bear. And how that all relates to the ABC concept. You have a lot of great suggestions here, I think focus on clarity of the idea and you’ll get there. Good luck!

  18. dedradavis03 says:

    Susanna, your book sounds interesting and congrats. We live in Waco and feel and hear the rumblings of SpaceX all the time. It’s weird!
    This sounds like a cute book. Recipes are a wonderful addition to books (and blogs!)! I might be bad like Bear though…🥴
    Good luck!!

  19. Patti Ranson (@pcakeran) says:

    Hi Joyce,
    I am enticed by your first line but I then the confusion sets in. I am assuming that Bear’s involvement in last years entry is significant in this year’s entry. But, being told that the entry is ‘without Bear’ how is it that Bear must come through? It is important to be clear about your focus. It is Bear’s growth and development that you want your reader to care about (thus an agent /editor). It currently reads as the trophy may be the focus of your story.

    Some thoughts:

    After Bear ‘taste tested’ his way out of last years’ Baking Contest, he has a lot to prove prior to _____________. Bear bakes his way through the alphabet as he tries to regain trust and respect of ______________.

    Also, learned from Carol Munro on 12X12 that questions should be avoided in a pitch.
    In its current format, I would give this pitch a ‘No’. However, I believe it can move to a solid ‘Yes’!

    Working Title: Will Bear Come Through?,

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

    The Pitch: It’s time to enter this year’s Amazing Baking Contest. But, last year Bear devoured their entry. Can the Bakersville animals pull together and bring the trophy back – without Bear? Will Bear Come Through? is a 447-word alphabet picture book complete with recipes for children 4-8 to bake with their family.

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