Would You Read It Wednesday #323 – Thaddeus, The Unicorn (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!!!

Hello again, my friends!

Today is the kind of day that requires cake! 🎂

choc bday cake

That is because this little chickadee


is 22 today!  Hard to believe…especially since I’m still 29 😊

We’ll be having cake (chocolate of course) right after the pitch pick, but in the meantime, Happy Birthday to the girl who is the poster child for last-could-never-ever-in-a-million-billion-years-be-least! 💕

Ready for the April Pitch Pick?

I present to you the new and improved pitches from the talented April WYRI participants!  Please read through the choices and then vote for your favorite in the poll below by Sunday May 13 at 7 PM Eastern.

#1 – Mary – April Showers (PB 4-8)

April adores taking big bubbly baths. When Mom suggests a shower, April’s imagination runs wild with fears of fiery space rocks, smoochy weddings, and pirates! Armed with determination and precise plans, April takes avoidance to a whole new level. In the end, her resourcefulness is the key to helping her wash away her fears. APRIL’S SHOWER combines the literal thinking of Amelia Bedelia with the humorous logic of The Big Bed by Bunmi Latidan.


#2 – Maria – Clean Kitty Super Suds (PB 4-8)

Andi T. Vipperman was born with a true knack for business and a bit lazy streak when it comes to homework. But, he mustmake it out of 1st grade before he can make it on Wall Street.

Will the stow-away in his backpack help him razzle-dazzle Ms. Stegman with his final project?  Or, does Andi create a “cat”astrophe that dooms himself to summer school or even worse?

*** Disclaimer: No animals were hurt in the making of this story!


#3 – Sarah – To Brighten A Birthday (PB 5-8) (formerly Lane Makes Mama Smile)

As Lane’s birthday nears, he pictures every detail of his special day: a party…caramel brownies…animal balloons.  But Mama stares out the window, with eyes as empty as their new home.  Lane hugs her, breathing in her perfume of paint and gloom.  He suggests they go for a walk in the sunshine, or watch a funny movie – Mom doesn’t want to do either.  Lane works with his dad to find a clever way to succeed, realizing that his mother is still capable of much love…and birthday celebrations!


#4 – Nadia – My Pet Phoenix (Graphic Novel ages 8-12)

Arka desperately longs for a pet. Her father doesn’t think she is responsible enough to have one. She makes a wish under a dark moon, but instead inherits an ailing phoenix from her uncle. He tasks her to take the dying phoenix to Sun City before the next full moon to retrieve something special. With less than 30 days and more than one Sun City on the map, Arka must journey through the eight phases of the moon to get the ailing phoenix to the right Sun City or it will die. And, if the phoenix dies, Arka will not be able to complete her journey.



And now, I think we have waited long enough for Something Chocolate! Bring out the cake!

Raw Chocolate Cheesecake (from a Healthy Dessert Blog!)

(it says healthy right on the blog!)


You’ll note that I’m serving health food – chocolate cake that comes from a healthy dessert blog – because I always have your best interests at heart!  So, feel free to have multiple slices, since it’s good for you and all… 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Nicole.

Nicole is a mom, social worker, member of SCBWI, and a big believer in Unicorns. You can find her on Twitter @beautify_life


Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Thaddeus, The Unicorn

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

The Pitch: Thaddeus isn’t like other unicorns – he doesn’t have a flashy name, he can’t sing or dance, and his special power is a bit of a…well…snooze. But when an angry dragon attacks town and threatens his little sister, Thaddeus must put his best hoof forward and save the day.

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 Nicole 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 September, 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!

Nicole is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to birthday celebrations!  In the words of everyone’s friend, Max, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


43 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #323 – Thaddeus, The Unicorn (PB) PLUS The April Pitch Pick!!!

  1. sarahheturadny says:

    I am a yes because I like unicorns however, I would like a title that grabs me more, and I would like to know a little bit more about Thaddeus’ special powers and how he tries to solve the situation.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Nicole, Sarah! She had a different title originally, but it is not mine to share… If she checks back, maybe she’ll see this and ask your opinion on her original!

      • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

        Thanks Susanna 🙂 It was originally titled “The Reluctant Unicorn.” I won a critique with an editor who felt that it was a misleading title as Thaddeus was more of a misfit than truly reluctant. Obviously I have not found quite the right replacement title though 🙂

  2. Nadine Poper says:

    Good morning everyone. Happy Birthday to that young lady above Susanna.
    Let me tell you, choosing just one April pick was tough! Great job to all who sent them in.

    A unicorn story? Yes I would read this one. Combined with a dragon? Absolutely. I think you have a solid pitch here Nicole. The only thing that tripped me up a bit was “the town and threatens his little sister…” Could you just combine the two objects to remove the ‘and’. …’attacks the town where his sister lives…”. You are still getting across he is attempting to save more than just his sister. This sounds fun!!

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

    Good morning!
    Happy birthday to your sweet lil chick-a-dee, Susanna! Oh to be 22 again! (Knowing what I know now, of course!) 🤓

    Yes, Nicole! I would read your story. I’m thinking you could tighten up your pitch a bit by eliminating your pronouns and interjections in what Thaddeus doesn’t have to make it snappy. What if you used sentence fragments in this section? Such as “…boring name, can’t sing, can’t dance, special powers? What powers? …”
    I hope that helps you along the way! Best wishes with your pitch and story!

  4. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday to your daughter, Susanna! Time flies.
    Hi Nicole!
    I guess I don’t know a lot about unicorns, but I didn’t think that having a flashy name, or singing and dancing was important to them so I didn’t feel Thaddeus’ pain as much as maybe you intended. I agree with the first commenter to perhaps change the focus to what Thaddeus IS, than what he isn’t by tightening the opening (ex. Instead of singing, dancing or X, Thaddeus snores/sleeps/whatever) then continue with the moment of conflict. I’m feeling a lot of heart in the pitch! Best wishes with the pitch and the story. 🙂

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you, Wendy! Unicorn lore is a bit loose which makes it easy for writing but hard for generic pitches 🙂 I appreciate yours and Rene’s suggestions about focusing more on Thaddeus is or does instead of what he isn’t. I’m so happy to hear that the heart came across 🙂

  5. Katie Engen says:

    Yes. I’m a bit over unicorns, but this has universal appeal (saving loved ones, using personal skills uniquely, dealing with anger) and a quirky twist on the lore. I’d like a tiny hint about his ‘boring’ powers to beef up the hook. And can you get more specific than ‘angry dragon?’ Generically grumpy-mad dragon? Mad for a specific reason/problem? Finally, I kind of want Thaddeus to not only save his sister but also help this dragon chill out. Confession: I like dragons & don’t want them to always be the ‘bad guy.’

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you, Katie! I have a soft spot for dragons too (don’t worry – no dragons were harmed in the making of this picture book!). I love your idea of highlighting how things might change for him at the end too. Would really add an extra layer to Thaddeus saving the day. I am glad that Thaddeus caught your interest! Thank you 🙂

  6. ptnozell says:

    Happy birthday to your daughter, Susanna. Funny how our kids grow older & we don’t age a bit!

    Congratulations to the April pitchers – so difficult to choose just one; they were all fabulous!

    Nicole, I would read this story. I love the name, Thaddeus, and his feelings about being different than the other unicorns. I also don’t recall any other heroic unicorns – you’ve created a new niche in the unicorn market! I would like to learn more about how Thaddeus saves the day – what is the dragon doing that makes Thaddeus uniquely qualified to save the town & his sister? I look forward to reading your revised pitch & your story, too.

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you so much for reading and giving feedback 🙂 Your feedback echoes some wonderful feedback I’ve gotten. Great minds must think alike! And I must have been practicing my “elevator pitch” a bit too much 🙂 This has helped me focus on what things should and should not be cut from a pitch!

  7. heylookawriterfellow says:


    And happy birthday, little chickadee!

    And I do dig both unicorns and dragons—but I’d like the pitch to explain how Thaddeus’s snoozy skills allow him to thwart the threatening dragon.

  8. Reed Ambrose says:

    Hi Nicole, I really like mythical creatures! Yes to reading. I’m echoing others because I agree with them or maybe they woke up before me 🙂 Highlight the unicorn’s power and effects so it’s that much more apparent when you reveal how it plays a part in the dragon’s story. I also like the comment about stopping and correcting the dragon’s flaw versus just defeating it. I look forward to reading it.

  9. fspoesy says:

    Hi Nicole! I’d tag this as a maybe with the biggest issue being not knowing what Thaddeus’ power is. I do like the bit about it being a “snooze” so maybe you could write it something like “and his special power of putting others to sleep, is a bit of a…well…snooze”. Best of luck with your pitch. My other reservations are more about the current publishing environment and how an editor might look at the pitch. I think unicorn story pitches are very common (and I say that as I work on a unicorn story myself). That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t write unicorn stories, only that the story needs to really stand out from the crowd. The other concern is that the main character is a boy unicorn. And I’m not saying that is a bad thing. In fact I’m currently quite confused about the best way to choose the gender of my characters. Usually I look at what I think the story demands and hope an editor or agent feels the same way. But since the majority of main characters in children’s books are male, and the trend is to attain a certain level of gender parity you may want to look at that choice. All that to say writing for children is surely quite complicated! Best of luck with your pitch and your story.

  10. matthewlasley says:

    Good morning. This is a well written pitch. It flows well. I disagree with the need to blatantly tell what Thaddeus’ power is. You give it us and it shows your talent of writing by letting the reader feel smarter than your character; that “I know” moment. It also sets up your solution without having to tell us.
    There are stylistic things I would change, but it would take away from your voice which is pretty clear here.

    Good luck!

  11. rosecappelli says:

    Yes I would read this story. I think you give a hint about his power with the word “snooze” and that might be enough to make someone want to read the book to find out (as in my case). Maybe focusing on saving his sister should come first since that appears what propels Thaddeus into action. Good luck!

  12. tiffanydickinson says:

    Nicole, this is an engaging pitch. The theme and hook seem appropriate for the age and genre. I hope that Thaddeus’ gift is related to sleeping because that would make the “snooze” even more meaningful. Someone mentioned gender balance, and I get that. But I don’t read about many male unicorns, so I think your character does lend itself to gender balance already. There’s only so much room in a pitch, but perhaps adding something about why the sister in particular is in danger (does she take risks, did Thaddeus try to lose a pesky younger sibling?) might add to it. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you, Tiffany! Thaddeus’ power is making others fall asleep; a power I often long for when nap time rolls around … 🙂 I will think about a way to include more about his sister. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about gender balance as well.

  13. Katie Williams says:

    Thank you for sharing Nicole, and I am a yes–however, like the other commenters, I would recommend adding a bit more info about Thaddeus’ special powers, as well as how he overcomes the angry dragon. Just a little tit-bit to pique the interest of the reader. What will happen if he doesn’t overcome the dragon? Will the dragon kill his sister, turn her into stone, take away her magic powers? I think with a bit more detail, your pitch will really stand out. Good luck!

  14. authorlaurablog says:

    Susanna, we have the same dynamic in my family; my children are actually all older than me now! I can’t explain it, but I it’s magic. Happy birthday to your daughter and happy birth day to you!

    I voted for the April pitches and from what I can remember, there has been some amazing revising going on so kudos to all of you on that.

    I want the title of your story to be stronger. I keep thinking, THADDEUS THE UNICORN SAVES THE DAY, DETAILS AT 11:00! but I don’t know the story so that may be a bit much. I think a unicorn and a dragon make for a wonderful story so I am a yes. I would like a little more about his special power and I think the last sentence might be better reworded. Here’s my suggestion:
    “When an angry dragon attacks the town threatening his little sister, Thaddeus puts his best hoof forward to save the day.”

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you for your feedback and suggestions, Laura! That title cracks me up – I wish I could make it fit this particular story. Maybe it will just have to inspire a new one! I’d love to read a story about the magical age dynamics in your household sometime 🙂 Maybe I can learn the secret for my own family! 🙂

  15. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    I would say yes Nicole. I like taking the unicorn idea in a different direction. I agree the pitch gives you enough to want more without revealing the details. Now I need to know what that boring special powers is. If you told me then I would have no need to keep reading. Like many said above, use what you have, but cut and combine a few words to tighten it up. Good job and looking for to your revision.

  16. Corine Timmer says:

    Happy birthday to your daughter, Susanna. I voted too 🙂 Regarding today’s pitch, I am a yes and I agree with Matthew and Katie’s idea of the dragon chilling out at the end. Perhaps end your pitch with something like, e.g. …the unicorn’s sleep power saves the day.Good Luck!

  17. Corine Timmer says:

    Happy birthday to your daughter, Susanna. I voted too 🙂 Regarding today’s pitch, I am a yes and I agree with Matthew and Katie’s idea of the dragon chilling out at the end. Perhaps end your pitch with something like, e.g. But when an angry dragon attacks town and threatens his little sister, the unicorn’s sleep power saves the day. Good Luck!

  18. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Susanna, your daughter is SO cute! I wish we could freeze those ages and enjoy those “little “ years for a little longer!
    Those pitches were revised so well, too! Wow! Tough pick!
    And, a “yes” on the unicorn story. I like the character a lot. I might soften the words “attack” and “threatens” for the younger audience, to reflect a more playful/fun tone, but that’s probably just me. Best of luck!

    • Nicole Loos Miller (@beautify_life) says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my pitch! I’m glad you like the characters and will definitely think about the word choices. There are enough scary things in this world and it’s important for little ones to be able to distinguish between reality vs. fiction!

  19. Sarah SarahH says:

    I’d read it! Perhaps you could change that line to “when a dragon attacks the town and threatens his sister…”
    And maybe something in the opening went how he’s apathetic to typical unicorn life- that’s why the ending (saving the day) is a surprise.
    Love this story! Go girl!

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