Would You Read It Wednesday #337 – Mighty Little Nikita (ER/PB)

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!

I don’t know about you guys, but now that autumn is officially here I’m wondering what’s up in the animal kingdom.

The only wooly bear caterpillar I’ve seen suggested a mild winter (mostly brown, only a little black at nose and tail.)

But the acorns are falling like nobody’s business – pattering down on the garage roof and the driveway and all through the woods almost constantly –

IMG_8575

and the bears are out and about more noticeably than usual.

Last week I saw one little bear in the woods while out horseback riding (luckily my fearless steed was unperturbed by the experience.  And by “unperturbed” I mean she happened to be looking the other way and was thusly oblivious 🙂 ) Then, not two days later, another little bear trundled across the Clove Valley Road in front of my car – not so close that we were in any danger of bumping into each other, but close enough for a good view! (This video is actually from last summer, not last week, but I was unable to video whilst driving 🙂 )

What does this mean?

In the old days, I’d think it was a sign of a hard winter.  But these days, what with global warming, that doesn’t seem possible.  So I think Mother Nature is just having fun at our expense 🙂

In any case, it definitely calls for Something Chocolate because, well, really , around here, doesn’t everything? 🙂  Today I think we should feast on Pecan Pie Bars Dipped In Chocolate, partly because they sound delicious (and everyone knows pecans are good for you! 🙂 ) and partly because they come from a website called Hugs And Cookies and what could be better than that?!

Pecan Pie Bars Dipped In Chocolate

YUM…

…YUM!!!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sri who says, “A little bit about me: I love writing stories and reading them to my little kids who turn out to be some of my strongest critiques. I have self published some of my stories but I am looking forward to that day when I can call myself a published author in the more traditional sense!”

Sri gained her inspiration to write stories because of her two young kids who love to read books. Her kids love her stories and are in fact her best critics! Sri presently lives and works as a research administrator in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  Sri is also the author of Tales of Rishi and Neela which was published in April 2019. When she is not working or driving her kids around for classes and play dates, Sri likes to spend her leftover time creating jewelry or listening to podcasts.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title:

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

The Pitch: Nikita has a problem, rather a huge problem. The problem is that she is small – smaller than all of her friends.  Everyone in her kindergarten class call her little Nikita. Her friends think it is cute to call her that way but Nikita does not like it a wee bit.  Nikita complains to her mom who is also hmm…short but her Mom dusts her off saying that’s just in our geneticsGenetics .. whatever that means, Nikita thinks. Nikita’s fate withLittle Nikita continues until one day a huge insect comes into the class and scares the peanut butter out of everyone; well, everyone except Nikita, who is small but really brave. The rest of this funny story revolves around how Nikita works bravely to trap the huge insect to release it outside. She thus rewrites her name from Little Nikita to Mighty Nikita – a name that she is absolutely proud of.

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 Sri 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 about 2 openings left for this year, so if you want one, let me know!  You can polish your pitch and put it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sri is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to writing something new today.  Who knows what? Maybe something fun! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

45 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #337 – Mighty Little Nikita (ER/PB)

  1. Jennifer G Prevost says:

    Yes! It sounds like a cross between SMALL and ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME. We love both of those at our house! I do think you can trim it down significantly… like to two sentences. Here are my thoughts, Maybe combine your first couple sentences: ‘Nikita has a problem, everyone calls her little Nikita’… or even start with ‘Nikita doesn’t like being called ‘little’. Then, jump to the part about the big bug and her being brave, and end there. You don’t need to talk about her mom, or genetics in the pitch although I’m sure they have important places in the story. Good luck with this one!

  2. authorlaurablog says:

    I would probably read the book but I think your pitch isn’t selling the great idea of being small but mighty. You mentioned genetics in your pitch. Is that a key turning point in your story? I think the turning point is when she’s not afraid of the insect. Your pitch is more of a synopsis. My suggestion is to go back and look at previous “Would you read it Wednesday” posts to have a better sense of pitches and then you can revise yours up to match the format.

  3. Katie Engen says:

    “Scare the peanut butter out of” – unique & humorous voice. The problem is clear and the resolution is shared but not overly revealed for a pitch. Overall, it’s too wordy. Condense the first 3 lines into one sentence about the whole class calling her Little Nikita. Ditto for condensing Mom’s reaction to just a line about their genetics. Don’t use ‘brave/bravely’ 2x. Better yet, let a sample action or class reaction show her bravery (instead of you telling us). Probably shouldn’t label it as funny (let reader decide); alternatives could be: upbeat, light-hearted or if word play is include, note it.

  4. matthewlasley says:

    Your story sounds very punny which can be a lot of fun to read as an adult, but there are many “the small can be great” stories out there. I want to know what sets your story apart.
    With 152 word pitch, it makes me worried about the length of your story as the pitch alone is nearly 1/3 the length of a picture book. Pitches (for any book) should be kept to 2 to 4 sentences that are snappy and expresses your writing style and/or voice of the story.
    The language and puns eliminate it from an early reader. ERs typically use a lot of CVC words and the first 100 sight words.
    I suggest that you research the definitions of book types and requirements to increase you chances of success and define your work. This can be difficult because there are industry standards and common vernacular which do not always match. Here is a great article on early readers: https://www.hbook.com/?detailStory=what-exactly-is-an-easy-reader

    I hope your story finds a home.

  5. ptnozell says:

    Hi Sri, I agree with Jennifer that this pitch can be tightened considerably. From what you’ve written, this also seems to be a picture book, so I’m not sure why you mention early reader – in my humble opinion, it’s one or the other. Good luck with rewriting the pitch; I think kids love the idea of small but mighty.

    Susanna, stay safe with those bears out there! And fingers crossed that the winter isn’t too cold & snowy.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thank you for your helpful comments for Sri, Patricia! I have two fierce dogs (haha) to scare the bears away, but nothing useful to scare off a cold and snowy winter, so hopefully it won’t be too bad! 🙂

    • srikba says:

      Thanks Patricia. Now that my story is more refined, I agree with you that this is more of a picture book than ER 🙂

  6. Gregory E Bray says:

    I would read this. I can see some great visuals here, especially scaring the peanut butter out of everyone. =) It is pretty long. Maybe something like this (Warning! I haven’t finished my coffee yet):

    Nikita doesn’t like the nickname her friends have given her, Little Nikita. She is small, but she is brave. When a huge insect enters the class scares the peanut butter out of everyone; Nikita shows her bravery and earns a new nickname from her friends, Mighty Nikita.

    Good luck!

    • Sarah Tobias says:

      Lots of great advice coming your way. I agree that you need to shorten the pitch.

      As much as I love the line “scare the peanut butter out of everyone”, I also think about how many schools and classrooms don’t allow peanut butter due to allergies. Maybe “scare the jelly.” At my school the kids would have the Taki’s scared out of them. Probably can’t use that since it’s a trademark. Just a thought to find a phrase that is cute, but doesn’t conjure a fear of needing an epi-pen injection.

      Is the problem that Nikita is small or is it that she doesn’t like being called small? Maybe it’s both, but from the pitch, I feel like the action is about the nicknames more than her physical trait. I am not sure which way you are going with your story because you talk about genetics and you talk about her not wanting to be called Little Nikita. Do the other kids treat her as being incapable because she is small? I think including that in the pitch, would give better clarity over her mom telling her it’s genetics.

      I hope these thoughts make some sense and are helpful as you rework your pitch.

      • srikba says:

        Thank you for your thoughts, Sarah! That’s a really good input on that phrase and how it can be related to peanut allergies. Yes, I am already thinking of other phrases I can use 🙂

  7. Angie says:

    I would read this book! Love the peanut butter remark! I do think this might be a bit long for a pitch. Try and figure out what the biggest problem is: Nikita is small (and she doesn’t like it) or Nikita does not like being called Little Nikita. I do love the fact that she is small but brave. I would play that up more. Because we need more brave Nikitas in the world! I am interested to hear more about the discussion of genetics. 🙂 P.S. I’m little also. Nikita and I would get along just fine.

  8. Writer on the run says:

    I would also read this, but agree with previous comments that the pitch is too long and needs tightening. I also think that you want to indicate that Nikita realizes that her size doesn’t dictate value, without giving away the ending.
    ” Nikita realizes her size doesn’t limit her heart and courage when she shows her classmates just how brave she can be.” or something that strikes at your theme without actually telling what happened.
    Best wishes on finding a place for this story!

  9. Aixa Perez-Prado says:

    Yes! I think it sounds really fun and very relatable to the short among us…I would rewrite the pitch to be more concise and snazzier. Here is one idea:

    Nikita’s big problem is that she is very small. Everyone calls her ‘Llittle Nikita’. Ugh! Her friends think it’s cute but Nikita does not like it a wee bit. Nikita’s short mom says its just genetics .. whatever that means! Until the day a huge insect comes in and scares the peanut butter out of everyone! Except brave Nikita. With courage, curiosity and slap-dash humor, Mighty Nikita manages to trap the insect and release it to nature. There’s nothing little about her brave bug catching skills and nobody will ever forget it.

  10. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    I would read this. I like Little (Mighty) Nikita already! She’s a fun character. Definitely tighten the wording of the pitch. For example, your first 2 sentences can be condensed to, “Nikita is smaller than all of her friends.” You can completely take the exchange about genetics out of the pitch. At the end, instead of saying Nikita “rewrites” her name, have the children start calling her the new name and making her proud when they do. Good luck with this!

  11. Mona Pease says:

    I would read this book and I think kids would absolutely love it. I must agree with others-your pitch needs tightening. Who am I to talk…pitches are tough, but the premise of your story sounds mighty and fun!

  12. RaeMcDonald says:

    Yes, I would read this story. Then topic of size is always intriguing, and your character comes across as sassy. The genetics concept threw me a bit as I wondered if that is where the story was headed. My suggestion is to shorten the pitch leaving out the genetics section and to work developing your strong and brave, yet small, character. Children will see themselves in this story.

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