Would You Read It Wednesday #336 – Isaac’s Apple Tree (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor for June and July!!!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday!  Woo hoo!

And you’ll all be thrilled to know that we get to start today’s proceedings with a triple Straight From The Editor!

You’ll recall that back in June we had a tie between Deborah and Ana.

Deborah’s pitch was for Farmer Jo and the Chicken Coop Calamity (PB) –

Henrietta, Goldie, and Pearl are three chickens with grand ideas. After convincing Farmer Jo to build improvements on their hen house, word spreads and many new chickens come to the farm to roost. But the weight of the situation proves to much to bear and the results are shattering as the hen house splinters apart.


Erin said:

This pitch has potential and could be very funny but it’s not telling the story. Are the three chickens with grand ideas the protagonists or is Farmer Jo? Is the conflict that the hen house collapsed  or that too many hens came to roost? If the three hens are the reason for the problem—too many hens in the hen house—how do they resolve it? That’s what you need to get across. Who are the protagonists? What is the conflict and what’s the resolution? Right now you have the first two, but not the solution.


Ana’s pitch was for Bella The Best Quits Again (PB) –

Bella, a Latina girl as sassy as Junie B. Jones, quits everything she (barely) tries because she’s not the best at it: her backflips look like giraffes rolling downhill & her dulce de leche frosting: crocodile skin. Bella must learn it’s ok to try again or she won’t be good @ anything. For kids who enjoy  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. Back Matter Famous Div. People who struggled. #PB #Humor


Erin’s said:

Bella seems like a great girl and the story could be sweet but the comparisons you make—like Junie B Jones and  The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes are taking away from YOUR story. You can say those things outside of the pitch but it would be better to let your story shine through on its own merits. What if you said something like, “Bella, a sassy seven year-old Latina, won’t do backflips because she looks like a giraffe rolling downhill and her dulce de leche frosting tasted like crocodile skin (which are great images BTW), so she refuses to make anymore…”  And then you need a sentence that tells the reader how she comes to accept that practice makes perfect…


The July pitch winner was Nancy with her pitch for Cupid’s Tango (PB)

Cupid, the prairie chicken, has his feathers all in a twist over his flock’s step dance contest. If he fails, no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Ball. The problem – he is horrible at step dancing and when he’s nervous, he’s worse. When the contest ends in disaster, Cupid is determined to find a dance he loves and win a hen’s heart to go to the ball.

Erin said:

This looks intriguing. I’d tweak the bit about if he fails no hen will pick him to go to the All Species Dance (which is adorable, BTW) because somebody’s got to lose so only one prairie chicken will go to the All Species Ball from all the contestants? That’s what it sounds like. Even if you phrase it more like “no hen will want to go to the All Species Ball with a chicken with two left feet” it will make a big difference.

So much fantastic pitch feedback straight from our talented and generous neighborhood editor!  I hope you all find Erin’s thoughts as instructive as I do!

I’m sure we will all absorb that helpful information much better with Something Chocolate to stimulate our brains!  How about some Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes With Oreo Crust?

Chocolate Mini Cheesecake With Oreo Crust

Sounds like brain food to me! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Marcia who says, “Aspiring writer, not yet published…I have lived in every New England State but one. I am slowly restoring an 1858 cape and love to explore historic houses. On a mission to visit as many presidential homes as I can, in between responding to the demands of my Siberian princess of a cat. Member NESCBWI and 12×12.”

Find her on the web at:

Twitter: @MZ_Parks

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Isaac’s Apple Tree

Age/Genre: Narrative Nonfiction Picture Book (ages 4-8) – includes Author Note

The Pitch: The tree that facilitated the discovery of gravity (leading to the principles on which all space missions depend) now has “space offspring.” In Isaac’s Apple Tree, the tree under which Isaac Newton sat that fateful day tells its own astounding and far-reaching story.

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 Marcia 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 2 or 3 openings left for this year at the end of November/beginning of December, so you could still get your pitch up before 2020 for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Marcia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing my new book!  Did I say that last week? I think I might have!  But I’m still waiting for the books to arrive (because I live on a blueberry-covered mountain in the apparent Middle Of Nowhere! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

28 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #336 – Isaac’s Apple Tree (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor for June and July!!!

  1. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    Cheesecake + oreos = deliciousness!!

    Marcia – What a unique idea of telling a story from the viewpoint of the original apple tree that led to the theory of gravity! I would definitely enjoy reading this! I do think the language of your pitch is a little formal. And I wasn’t clear on what “space offspring” meant? Since the tree is telling the story, why not bring that voice to the pitch? For example: When an apple from my tree fell on Isaac Newton’s head, such and such happened…I’m sure you can come up with something better, but hopefully you get the idea. Best of luck with Isaac’s Apple Tree!

  2. Katie Engen says:

    I’m intrigued enough to want more. I’d like -in the pitch – for the tree to tell me of his/her pivotal role in the space age as part of revealing this tell-all narrative. What is ‘space offspring?’ Do you mean the plant bio experiments going on in space in current missions? Adding some sense of conflict to the pitch would add to narrative tension. For example, does the tree have to overcome any glitches in helping Newton or misconceptions about any of the science? Note: debunking misconceptions is a big deal in science education.

  3. marshaelyn says:

    Marcia–I’d grab your book off the shelf based on the clever title and subject. What a unique story, especially told from the POV of Issac’s tree! My understanding of presenting a “pitch” is to capture the tone, mood, voice, and conflict all in three sentences. ALWAYS a challenge! I suggest that your formal tone suggests a more formal, scientific story. Is this your intent? However, if Issac’s tree tells an “astounding” tale, then you might hint as to why it’s astounding and perhaps how the tree “sounds” telling this extraordinary tale. For example: “When a rosy-ripe apple drops onto Issac’s head, the tree has its own idea about the gravity of the situation …..” If Issac’s tree has a “sense of humor,” then the pun might work. If not, then I’m sure you’ll be more clever than I. Sending you energy and inspiration…

  4. ptnozell says:

    Great insight from Erin on all of the pitches! Thanks for sharing these, Susanna.

    Marcia, this is an intriguing story & angle on it. I would read this, but, as others have noted, the “space offspring” is confusing. I also think the leap from Newton to space exploration is rather large. I like the idea of using the tree’s voice more in the pitch & would suggest rewording the pitch to enable that. I hope this helps – you have an intriguing story to convey & POV.

  5. Kim Larson says:

    I’m intrigued so I’d probably read more. I agree with the previous comments about needing to know more, not understanding what “space offspring” means, and making the voice less formal. It’s unique to tell the story from the tree’s POV. Maybe start with something like this: The tree that Newton sat under shares Newton’s amazing story and how the far-reaching effects of his discovery still impacts space exploration today.

  6. matthewlasley says:

    This is a very well written pitch. I like the idea and found it an intriguing way to present STEM material. I found the first sentence to be a little confusing. Is the tree in space? Is it the original tree? Is there a struggle?
    I think if you went with just the second sentence, it would still be a great pitch!
    I see that you have the story listed as nonfiction, but I am unsure if this can be so if it is told by an imaginary character. I know when I published my book, it contained facts, a real historical character and historical facts, but since it was told from the viewpoint of an imaginary character, it was classified as Historical Fiction.

    Best of luck!

  7. Gregory E Bray says:

    I like this concept and would read it. I agree with other’s comments. Since it’s from the tree’s point of view, maybe something like: It all started that one faithful day when I dropped one of my apple’s on Isaac’s head…
    Good luck with this!

  8. Megan Anderson says:

    I love the idea of exploring a science concept from the point of view of Isaac Newton’s tree. It would certainly fit in with the current trend of STEM books. Like others, I’m not sure about the precise meaning of “space offspring.” After some research, I learned that descendants of Isaac Newton’s tree grow all over the world. Are you thinking of taking that one step further and having a tree growing in space? Is this a factual story about the tree’s offspring or a fictional story that builds off of some facts? I think either one would be interesting to read, but it’s not clear to me from your pitch which one it is. I would also love just a tiny bit more detail about the tree’s “astounding and far-reaching story” along with a better sense of voice. For example:
    The apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree, but Isaac Newton’s tree is special. Its role in developing Newton’s theory of gravity rocketed the tree to celebrity status and now everyone wants a piece of it. Listen as Newton’s tree weaves a 350 year old tale of stolen wood and clones taking root around the world.
    Best of luck and keep at it! This story definitely has potential!

  9. Darshana says:

    I’m curious. But like the others, I’m a bit confused. I’m presuming there is an apple/apple tree in space? If so how does one know it is for sure a descendant of Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree? The pitch has done a great job of sparking my curiosity, however I need a better grounding of the story so my mind doesn’t wander off in different directions. Good Luck!

  10. viviankirkfield says:

    I love the premise of this story…and I’d read a bit about the Newton trees a while ago: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/newton-apple-tree

    But from your pitch, I’m a bit confused. Is this going to be a story about history as told by the tree and what amazing things have been done in the world/science/whatever since the apple dropped? Will it be a story about gravity? About Sir Isaac Newton and his discoveries? Or about how grafts/apples were taken and planted in other places? I think your pitch needs to make it clearer so we know exactly what the story is going to be about.

    I would definitely read the story, Marcia…and I think you’ve gotten some great feedback in the comments. All good wishes with this one!

  11. Marcia Z. Parks (@MZ_Parks) says:

    Thank you everyone for such wonderful feedback. I have a lot of information to digest and to work with. I promise you I will lighten this up and make it less confusing. I guess when one has done so much research, things that are clear to the researcher are definitely not so clear to the lay reader, so I will keep that thought forefront as I review. FYI: apple pips (aka, seeds) from Newton’s tree were taken to the International Space Station where they experienced ‘zero’ gravity for several months before undergoing special treatment via Kew Gardens resulting in six saplings–the space offspring. Also, FYI, many of your questions get answered in the Author Note that accompanies the story. It is always a challenge to snag attention without divulging the whole story, yet still being clear… Thank you!

  12. authorlaurablog says:

    I’m supposed to be making dinner but now all I want to make is chocolate cheesecake. That counts as dinner, if you ask me.
    Great feedback from Erin, Susanna! Thanks for sharing it. I’m confused by “space offspring” so I’m a maybe. I like the idea of a story told from the tree’s POV and anything with a STEM tie-in is right up my alley. I’m sure the pitch can fall into place (pun intended) with a few tweaks.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I am an authority on this, Laura, so you can take my word on it that chocolate cheesecake (or any kind of cheesecake for that matter) IS dinner. You’ve got whole grains in the crust, dairy, calcium, and protein in the cake, and chocolate (from the wonderful cocoa bean) is clearly a vegetable – all the important food groups covered! 🙂

  13. ingridboydston says:

    I agree with the others. What a great concept! After reading your comment re: author notes I’d love to hear some of that info woven into the pitch. Like the others, I’m curious to know who is telling the story. I love the idea of Apple Pip POV.
    Interestingly, I’m not an Oreo fan. It’s the only chocolate that doesn’t call to me. I think I might be the only one. But I’m happy to not want the treat this time so that worked out well. More for you! 😉

  14. RaeMcDonald says:

    Your topic is intriguing, and young readers so often hear about Newton’s tree. Now, to find out there is more to the story is fascinating. Your pitch caught me up on the phrase in “space offspring”. I would love to know more about this, and space is a hot topic. Let us know more how these relate, if this if fiction or nonfiction, and who will tell the story. Excellent beginnings.

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