Would You Read It Wednesday #318 – April’s Shower (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

Good Wednesday to you all!

I want to start today’s post with a little something special – just a tiny sneak peek at my new book baby.  It had it’s birthday yesterday 🎈🎉🎈

This was kind of a different project for me – a work-for-hire where I turned a grown-up book into a picture book.  It was a challenge to make it kid-friendly…and in rhyme!  But it was fun and I think the book came out super cute!


Because the idea belonged to someone else, my name appears only on the inside title page…but I did in fact write the words 🙂

Mom - art from spread 1

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019


Sydney did an absolutely amazing job with the art! So adorable!


Mom - art from spread 6

illustration copyright Sydney Hanson 2019


Anyway, thank you for indulging me in my little book baby celebration :). I think it would be a great Mother’s Day present for a child, or a new mom, or a not-so-new mom, or a grandmom… 🙂

(It has a companion that will be out in another month in time for Father’s Day… but I won’t force that on you now! 🙂 )

Now then!  Down to actual business!  First, we have Straight From The Editor for January!  You will recall the winner was Dedra with her pitch for Mawbelina 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.

Editor Erin Molta says:

This seems like it could be cute but I’d trim it a tad and try to make it more fun, rather than preachy. Perhaps something like below with something more specific—like what does she do with her mother that’s so special, rather than staying home? Do they make dog treats or is her being small a way to help her mother when nobody else can? Something like that SHOWS an editor, rather than tells her.

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 whines and pouts until she realizes staying home with her mom is special and being small can be fun.

As always, I find Erin’s comments so insightful, and I hope you do too!

Next, I think we can all agree you have earned your Something Chocolate break by listening to me ramble on about my new book!  We’re edging toward Easter, and I thought these looked pretty and delicious, so have at them! 🙂

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs


Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mary.  Mary is a picture book writer who lives in Minnesota, so she’ll be enjoying Spring around mid-July! She can be a goofball, and tends to add one or more layers of humor to her manuscripts. She’s currently in the process of training her dog to be a reading therapy animal. He’s sort of a goofball too, so he may never pass the test. But they’ll have fun trying!


Here is her pitch:

Working Title: April’s Shower

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Flaming space rocks, smoochy frilly weddings, and pirates are things April is determined to avoid when her mom suggests taking her first shower. Armed with her wild imagination and precise plans, she takes avoidance to a whole new level. When failures and consequences escalate and she ends up covered in mud, sitting in grimy bath water isn’t an option. But this girl can push the very definition of shower to the limit.

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 Mary 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 June, 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!

Mary is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing all my siblings on Friday when we celebrate my dad’s birthday together, a couple weeks early, but when people are traveling from Georgia you gotta do it when you can do it! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


38 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #318 – April’s Shower (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor

  1. hermanator33 says:

    Book birthdays, peanut butter, and an intriguing pitch, I hope the rest of my day is as yummy. I think Mary submitted a perfect pitch, and I suspect the actual book is even better. I have a feeling this one is going to make it! Good Luck Mary.

  2. sarahheturadny says:

    Good morning those peanut butter chocolate eggs look delicious! I would read it, and I am confused by the first sentence… I was also wondering if April is a girl or the month… probably a girl. Good luck!

  3. Katie Engen says:

    The pitch’s cacophony is both intriguing and confusing. Perhaps shift the imagined outcomes to after the initial problem (hating/fearing showers) is stated in its own sentence. Remove/update the passive voice (takes avoidance, ends up). Last sentence is more redundant than giving a hint at the (re)solution. Finally, I’m assuming this is supposed to be funny (vs. a rallying cry of some sort), so maybe that can be eased in somewhere.

  4. rosecappelli says:

    Yes I would read this book. But I have to say I was confused by the first sentence and had to read it several times. Still not sure where flaming space rocks, weddings, and pirates fit in, but it has made me curious. I imagine these things are all part of the avoidance, so maybe just reposition them in the pitch. I love the play on words for the title. Good luck with this!

  5. ptnozell says:

    Congratulations, Susanna, on the book birthday & your father’s birthday. So much to celebrate!

    Mary, I love the topic of the rite-of-passage transition from baths to showers. It isn’t one I’ve seen in a picture book…yet. I also love the title. Like Rose mentioned, though, I was confused at the start of the pitch, as I wasn’t clear what April’s problem is & how she can solve it. I’d suggest starting with the before, something like “April loves baths” and state what she likes about baths. Then something like, “When Mom suggests that a shower is the better way to clean, April fears meteors, weddings and pirates.” You can then go on from there to show how April overcomes these fears and makes the transition to showering.

    I hope this helps. I think you’re really on to something here.

  6. authorlaurablog says:

    Oh my, where to begin? I love your new book baby and I can attest to the fact a daughter definitely needs a mom! Congratulations!
    I love this pitch because the play on the familiar phrase ‘April Showers’ is intriguing and used perfectly. Clearly April has a fabulous imagination which is a great character trait. I’m a little confused how a frilly wedding dress, space rocks, and pirates factor into the story, but I’d be willing to read the story to find out which is what a pitch is supposed to do. Good luck!

    And last but not least, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination of flavors on the planet.

  7. Angie says:

    Happy book birthday! And thanks for the chocolates. Mmmmm. I would read this book. I was a tad confused about the pirates in the first sentence. I get the meteor showers, the bridal showers, but can’t figure out the pirate showers…Probably just me. Sounds like a fun story!

  8. matthewlasley says:

    This would be a yes. I think it is a little long, but I really don’t see off hand how I would shorten it. I get the imagination and creativity and adventure of this book!

    Good luck!

  9. Rene` Diane Aube ~ Children's Author says:

    Congratulations on new book baby, Susanna!! I love those illustrations ~ so very cute!! And thanks for the yummy peanut butter egg recipe…looks like a must try recipe. 🙂
    Yes, Mary, I would read this! Nothing quite like child who is determined to avoid the shower!!

    I do think, though, that shortening, tightening and re-ordering might be in order. I was a little confused with the beginning of your first line as it just didn’t feel like it fit the title to me. Maybe it was just me in the moment? It would be helpful to hear about your main character first and then story. Here’s what came into my master procrastinator brain (I’m a bit like April :/ ) What about something like:

    April is the queen of avoidance! When Mother suggests she takes her first shower, April takes avoidance to whole new level with precise plans from her wild imagination. When she ends up covered in mud, she takes the definition of shower to whole new level, too, because sitting in grimy bath water just isn’t an option!

    I hope that’s somewhat helpful 🙂

  10. ingridboydston says:

    Every time I read other’s comments, I learn something myself! Now I know why I found this pitch confusing even though since lik the concept and would probably read the book. I don’t have anything new/better to add but I wish you the best! Have a happy time celebrating with you siblings Susanna! Family parties are the best by far! 🎂🎉🎈😁!

  11. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Hi Mary! Fun story idea and I love your character! I agree with the confusion in the first sentence. You have some great advice to go on. I just wanted to say that I am also from Minnesota….Cambridge! Any chance you are anywhere nearby?

  12. jpuglow says:

    Mary, it looks to me that April needs to use an outside shower. 🥴 Yes! I’d read this because I want to find out what troubles she got herself into as she avoided the shower. As others have suggested, try rearranging the sentences in your pitch to focus on April. Do you have a comp title?

    • maryvanderplas says:

      Thanks, I will definitely be working on rearranging things. I don’t have a comp title yet…perhaps THE BIG BED, but I need to read it again to make sure. Perhaps a similar theme.

  13. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    Congratulations Susanna! The illustrations are adorable and I’m sure the story is equally amazing.

    Yes, I would read this story. I think the others already have covered tightening up your pitch. Good luck and looking forward to reading more about it.

  14. Jamie Donahoe says:

    Yes! I can relate to this topic and imaging others would too I remember staying in a hotel once and my parents asking the people in the room next door if I could use their bathtub since our room only had a shower… spoiled, maybe, but we didn’t have a shower at home and I was terrified of the water. (and yes, this was a long, long time ago!)
    I would tighten the pitch a bit, as others have said, but look forward to seeing April’s Shower on the shelves!!

  15. Patti Ranson (@pcakeran) says:

    Great title and I love the play in the name of April!
    I had to read through the pitch several times before understanding the ‘April’ wordplay. Perhaps, introduce the character April as a child right at the start of your pitch, ensuring clarity of whose problem your story is going to follow.
    April’s determination to avoid a shower is a great story pursuit! (Soooo relatable to parents:)

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