It’s the First Wednesday of Summer!
That got me to thinking… what is your favorite picture book about summer?
There are so many good ones!
I think I have to go with an oldie but a goodie – Blueberries For Sal by Robert McCloskey (Puffin Books, 1976).
After all, I live on Blueberry Hill 😊
And we have little bears wandering around, eating up blueberries 😊
What is your favorite summertime picture book? Share in the comments and we’ll have a great list of recommendations!
And/or you can take this opportunity to write a summer picture book of your own!
Writing prompt, anyone?
On a hot, hot day in July….
Now then, on to Would You Read It! I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the May Pitch Pick is Andrew with his PB pitch for Dorian And The Silent Piano!!! Congratulations on a terrific pitch and story idea, Andrew! Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta and I’m sure you will hear from her as soon as she is able!
Congratulations also to our other talented pitchers! You all did a great job on your ideas and revisions – some wonderful future books in this group! – and I hope the experience helped you to improve your pitches!
I think a reward is in order!
How about Something Chocolate?
Given that it is now summer, a Chocolate Honeycomb Vesuvius Ice Cream Sundae seems like just the thing, don’t you think? 😊
Chocolate Honeycomb Vesuvius Ice Cream Sundae
Cold, creamy, chocolatey, and delicious! Mmmmm! Breakfast perfection! 😊
Now that we’ve got our lovely sundaes to keep our energy up, let’s have a look at today’s pitch which comes to us from Christina. Christina Julian writes kid and lady lit in between sips and swirls in the Napa Valley where she works as a wine and food writer.
Find her on the web at:
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Mommy Is Not A Morning Person
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: MOMMY IS NOT A MORNING PERSON is a role-reversing romp about what it means to be a leader when you’re the smallest one in the house. Spunky Aurora flies out of bed bent on doing what kids only dream of. But there are road blocks along the way. The cat that thinks it’s a hat. A mommy who lives for the snooze button, and one big yellow school bus that waits for nobody! It’s up to Aurora to pull on the parenting pants in the ultimate battle to the breakfast table.
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 Christina 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!
Christina is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to making blueberry pie, because for some reason I now have blueberries on my mind! 😊
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂
32 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #330 – Mommy Is Not A Morning Person (PB) PLUS The May Pitch Winner!!!”
Hi Christina! What a cute idea and you have some powerfully punched-up language in the pitch. I would definitely read it as it seems to promise lots of laughs (and I love those laughs in a picture book). I did get a little confused about the battle to the breakfast table – as in is she struggling to get her mom there or she’s racing to get there herself? Maybe the showdown is at the breakfast table? I got a good sense of what the book was about overall, but that one sentence made me pause. Best of luck – and great job!
Thanks for your feedback Sandra! Aurora is struggling to get mom there, and trying everything she can which is where the showdown comes in. But I can see how that is confusing. Never good for a reader to pause with confusion! Thanks. And I love funny PB too.
I would read it… i’m just concerned that the parents are sleeping and the child has to do everything themselves!
Thanks Sarah! Sounds like you are not the only one left a little worried about the child being too overburdened. I need to work to offer more clarity. Thanks for your comments!
Yes, I would read this. It sounds like fun. I like your idea of role reversal and your pitch is well written. I’m not sure if Aurora dreams of all the things she has to do though. I’m sure there are certain things she rather wouldn’t do. Your last sentence could be more active. Something like: Aurora pulls her parenting pants on . . . Or perhaps give us one or two examples without giving too much away? Good luck!
Thanks for your note Corine! Nice to know it sounds of interest. Your (and Sandra’s) suggestions are super helpful and have my revision engine in overdrive. Thanks!
Welcome Summer, indeed! Now if we could just convince those April showers to get a move-on. We had almost an inch of rain in an hour yesterday morning – talk about wanting to hit the snooze button! Our favorite summer time book must be an old favorite, too: Jamberry.
Christina, this is a fun premise & the hints you give make it sound humorous. And everyone loves a spunky main character. I did think there were a few spots in the pitch that were a bit confusing, though. I’d revise the second line as follows: Spunky Aurora flies out of bed ready for a day of [name a few of her favorite activities here] ahead. I’m also wondering if the battle in the last line is “to” the breakfast table or “of” the table.
I look forward to reading your revised pitch and to a proper summer day in my neighborhood.
Ptnozell, thanks so much for your comments. Yes the MC is meant to be a spunky take charge kind of gal. I love the suggestion about the second line, I hadn’t thought of that, but it will definitely add more clarity and action to the pitch. And it sounds like you are not the only one confused with the last line, so work there as well. Thanks so much!
Hi Christina, it seems like this is an action packed story of getting ready for school. I am a maybe.
A few things confuse me. In the opening sentence, the phrase “role reversing” made me thing of the book/movie Freaky Friday. It becomes clear later this isn’t the case. So I am left to believe that Aurora has to get ready for school on her own. Depending upon her age, this could be OK. Lots of kids get ready on their own as parents are also rushing around.
I think the phrase role-reversal in that the child must do the adulting, may leave readers feeling uncomfortable. It may mean an adjustment to the title and making the audience feel sorry for the mom and excited about how Aurora saves the day and even catches the bus that waits for no one.
I am not clear about the following sentence. “Bent on doing what kids only dream of.” What do kids only dream of? From your pitch, I see the obstacles, but not sure about the dream.
What is the universal idea or theme in this story? Is it the challenges of getting ready for school when everything is going wrong? Is it that kids are capable of more than we realize? Is it “doing what kids only dream of”?
So to sum up, make sure the hook is clear and defined from the beginning and make the audience comfortable with this role-reversal and not thinking that social services should be contacted.
Thanks Sarah, your comments give me lots to think about (which is a good thing in my opinion!). I do need to do more reflecting on presenting the universal theme as I agree it is a little split as written. The “kids only dream of” bit is about a kid being able to take charge of the household. I was trying to be a little mysterious, but from all the other comments it’s turned out to be more confusing than anything. Good to know! The role reversal is grounded in humor, but I definitely don’t want people to worry that mom is negligent , so another good thing for me to ponder. Thanks so much for taking the time to offer feedback!
The voice & tone of the pitch are quite fun. This engaged me right away and suggests that the book will read similarly. I’d like to know more about ‘what kids only dream of.’ The title is an appealing hook, yet the story seems to be so much more than mom/child interactions gone awry; this is a bit of a disconnect (unless mom is more involved in the other morning dramas than I’m understanding here). The phrase ‘ultimate battle to the breakfast table’ is amusing, but I’m also wondering if there’s a word that’s more specific to this story than ‘ultimate.’ I quite like your first sentence, and (yet) feel compelled to note that at least some PB publishing gatekeepers are allergic to any directly didactic messaging. Finally, I hope there’s a clear thread that mom is not a total waste of a parent b/c while PB’s work best when the kid character has agency, the theme that adults are ‘just so silly/dumb’ is not appealing. The antics are a great opportunity for some high-energy art.
Thanks for your feedback Katie, super helpful. The manuscript is indeed written in a similar tone as the pitch. In reviewing everyone’s feedback I can see that the final sentence leaves a little too much unsaid, so I need to fix that. And I do have to make sure that the mom character still feeds the story even though Aurora is most definitely the hero. Thanks so much!
Good morning Susanna and everyone! I’m not usually up this early (because I stay up so late), but my grandson is here for Grammy Camp this week. And since I was in the mood for chocolate and it is Wednesday, I thought I should stop in here because your virtual treats never disappoint! As far as a favorite summer book…I’m not sure I have a favorite…I love so many books…but right now I am reading the BIG NATE series, thanks to my grandson…and it’s pretty hilarious.
I love the idea of the writing prompt…a summer book…hmm…and I’ve been thinking about writing a book about the seasons…so I am on it!
Congrats to Andrew…and I apologize for missing so many pitches lately…but I’m so glad I stopped in today – Christine, I love your story premise and I would definitely read it. it reminds me a bit of The Manic Panic by Richa Jha…you might want to grab that book as a mentor text because there is role reversal in that also when the girl has to forbid her parents from using their tablets and other electronic gadgets.
I love the advice you’ve gotten so far…I agree with Patricia that it’s not clear what kids only dream of. I love the obstacles…especially the mom with the snooze button and the bus that waits for no one. So it seems that the goal is to get ready for school in the morning and get out for the bus on time without help from mom…maybe you can ramp up the stakes by giving us a hint that today is something special at school that she absolutely positively cannot be late for. And although I love the rhythm of the title and it is kind of catchy, it’s making me feel a bit like the story may be more about mommy than it is about the main character/child. Sarah also brings up a good point about the role reversal and that the reader will need to feel comfortable with the role reversal situation…we can always suspend reality and that happens a lot in picture books (Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs comes to mind)…but it gets tricky when you give us a normal situation…kid getting ready for school…and then turn things upside down…parent is the one who doesn’t want to get up to do necessary chores. Although honestly, I love the part about the mom with the snooze button…I still have a high school English paper that I wrote about my family which tells how when the alarm went off, my mom always turned over and went back to bed for three more minutes. 🙂 I can tell from the language in the pitch that you are a very good writer, Christine…best wishes with this manuscript. 🙂
Thanks so much for your comments Vivian. Super helpful. I also appreciate the mentor text, I haven’t heard of that book but will definitely check it out. I’ve used How to Put Your Parents to Bed and The Big Bed as mentor texts, but Manic Panic sounds even more timely/topical. Thanks for the suggestion. It seems quite clear that I have work to do on the first and last sentence as it has left everyone wondering! So I will be working hard on revising to tighten those areas up. The goal of the MS is one of getting out the door for a field trip (which I don’t mention but sounds like I should?), and instead of mom being the one to rally everyone up and out the door on time, Aurora steps in to get mom moving because she is so excited. So it is a flip of the switch on the morning wake up drill. But I definitely don’t want people to think that she is dysfunctional/not a good mom. All of the comments around this is giving me a lot to think about and consider around the treatment of that particular aspect of the story. So that it’s clear mom is ok, and to some degree playing along for fun, even though she LOVES that snooze button. I like that idea that mom just needs a few minutes more…I am going to play with that, because as mom of twin toddlers, I always need a few minutes more, for everything ;0) Thanks so much for your insights!!
I like the energy of your pitch, Christina! You give some great images for pictures and humor!
From your title, it sounds like Mom is the main character or at least the biggest obstacle to “what only kids dream of” when they wake up in the morning. I can’t figure out what that might be. Is this “dream” universal enough for kids to identify with? From your pitch, there seems to be many things keeping Aurora from her “dream”, not just mom. Maybe something like, “Aurora Takes Charge” would keep the child centerstage. I’m a MAYBE.
Thanks for your comments Karen! Aurora is the MC for sure, so I can see how the title might mislead. The “dream of” which seems confusing to all, is that idea of a kid getting to take charge and order mom around instead of the reverse which is more the norm. You raise an interesting point about putting Aurora center stage in the title. I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for taking the time!
Good morning Christina. I can see from your strong language and imagery skills that you are a very adept writer and I think this idea is cute, promising many laughs. However, I feel that I am a maybe.
I feel a big promise is made with the dream sentence that isn’t delivered. I do not know what “every kid dreams of,” let alone Aurora or how it ties into the story. If the dream is to be in charge, then I do not see the problem promised by the title.
The next few lines that describe what is happening feel very choppy. The bus is the only part that lets me know this is Aurora’s problem.
So, my brain goes to, “is this a one day issue or ongoing?” The title suggests ongoing, so is this routine for Aurora? What makes today more important than any other?
The last line is clever, but a little confusing. Is the breakfast table the end goal?
Another stumbling block for me is that I am a first grade teacher and I wonder how kids from my class would take it. Why is mom having issues?
I work at a Title One school and have incidents every year with kids and their parents who are less parents and these kids do something similar. Two years ago I had one of my little girls walk to school in the cold, in the dark, alone for nearly a mile and a half across two major intersections to come to school because mom, for the third day in a row, had not gotten out of bed to take her.
It broke my heart.
I really do think this story can be quite humorous and fun. I see so many antics that could take this story over the top and explain how adulting can be hard. And I am dying to know what mom thinks when she finally gets up and see the disaster that Aurora creates.
Good luck with your story.
Thanks for your thoughts Matthew. And that story about your student breaks my heart too. How very sad for the kiddos that might have to endure this type of upbringing. I need to make sure that it’s clear in the story, that it does not stem or make like of such a situation that could be quite real for some. The MS does have a series of humorous misteps which I hope steers the story in a positive playful light. I’m really taking in your comment and many of the others on the “dream of” section, I need to find a better way there, over the course of my revisions. You’ve given me a lot of good questions to consider. Thanks so much for taking the time.
My vote is yes!
My own wonderful-in-every-way mother was not a MORNING PERSON! She got up with us before school every day, but I know it wasn’t in her nature being a mystery reading night owl!
Things I love in your pitch:
“role-reversing romp” ✅
Spunky Aurora ✅ good image of the MC!
road blocks along the way ✅ what a fun way to tell us the obstacles to the goal!
Question: does the book rhyme? If not, this may need to be reworded to avoid confusion. “The cat that thinks it’s a hat.”
“A mommy who lives for the snooze button, and one big yellow school bus that waits for nobody!”
✅Great use of description in a limited word count!
Definitely a fun pitch and I’m sure the book is equally fun/funny!
Thanks so much for your feedback Karen, appreciate it! Nice to know certain parts of the pitch really resonate. The story is not in rhyme, so I wouldn’t want to give off that impression in the pitch re the cat/hat bit. Thanks for flagging that and for taking the time to comment!
Karen? 😉 You definitely know how to write a pitch!
Sorry Laura! With twin toddlers in the house sometimes what I think and what I type are not one in the same ;0) But that’s a whole other story, lol ;0)
I love the pitch, love the premise, and would definitely read this. The only thing I’m not sure about is that “kids dream of” having the responsibility to get the day started. I think Aurora is a special kind of kid to welcome that task. Maybe mention her motivation… Good luck!
Thanks Genevieve, yes I agree I need to more clearly speak to the motivation, thank you!
Your pitch sounds adorable, Christina! I’d definitely read your ms not only because your pitch hooked me via your language, but also the idea itself of role reversal! Best of luck with your submission process! 🙂
Christina, this is a fun idea that caught my interest immediately. Aurora does sound spunky, and that’s what kids like to hear and read about. I would like more details in the pitch about why Mommy is having a difficult morning and some hints at how Aurora handles it. I agree with Matthew that there could be kids for which this would not be entertaining; they live some version of this already and it’s not a happy place. But this could totally be made into a fun, light, even temporary situation that Aurora needs to fix just today or this week. The pitch is well-written and pulls the reader along. Thanks for sharing and good luck!
Thanks for your thoughts Tiffany. That is what I am aiming for, light, fun/funny. So I can see the need to tweak to make sure that comes through!
Hi Christina, I think I’d like to see the pitch focus on Aurora and her mom. When you talk about dreams, the cat, and the school bus, I got confused. It felt like there were two stories in play, one about dreams and one about role-reversal.
The role reversal is a great premise and it sounds like that is the main storyline? Perhaps more details about what Aurora has to do as the “adult”?
Thanks for taking the time to comment Kirsten! I can see now how the word choice of “dream” muddied the waters, so I’m at work on a fix, thank you! And yes the role reversal definitely is meant to feed the story, more so in the way that Aurora gets to be the “boss” for the day instead of mom. I need to make sure that is clear!
Christina – I’m a YES! I would read your story based on that title alone 🙂 I think it sounds like so much fun. I got the impression that this was an unusual role reversal in the household and that Aurora is not always left to lead the way. Love the language and voice used in your pitch too! Great job!
Thanks for your comments Nicole. Yes the story is all about the fun factor and it’s true, Aurora isn’t always left to lead the way, it’s more about her getting to take charge and be the boss of mom for the day.