Would You Read It #341 – Samantha’s Swimsuit (PB) PLUS The September Pitch Pick!

Hello, Everyone, and welcome to another exciting installment of Would You Read It Wednesday!

We’ve missed a couple weeks for Halloweensie, so it will be good to get back to our regularly scheduled programming!

First off, today (while you’re all warmed up from voting for Halloweensie winners) we have the September Pitch Pick.

Our pitchers, committed to making their pitches the best they can be, have reworked their original versions to reflect the helpful feedback you were all kind and thoughtful enough to provide.  So here are the new, updated pitches for you to vote on:

#1 Erin – Airport Goat (PB 3-8)

Under the zooming planes is a herd of goats munching the lawn day after day, but one goat is tired of grass, grass, grass. He follows his nose to the land of concrete in search of exciting things to eat. The luggage is leathery. The sanitation truck is less appealing. But then he gets a whiff of something new. His search creates chaos and sets airport security on a chase, but deep inside the airport is the most delectable discovery: the food court. THE AIRPORT GOAT is a cross between humorous animal stories like DUCK ON A BIKE and airport transportation books like THE AIRPORT BOOK for kids ages 3-8.

#2 – Kim – P.I. Goat: The Case of the Missing Bone (PB ages 4-8)

P.I. Goat has just opened his private investigator office when Puddles, a puppy, hires him to find Paw-Paw’s bone. Elderly Paw-Paw thinks Goat is a pig, but Goat has a worse problem: he faints when startled! A cast of wacky animals helps Goat discover the surprising truth behind the Case of the Missing Bone and that being a P.I. is not for the faint of heart—KLUNK!

 

#3 – Marcia – Isaac’s Apple Tree (PB ages 4-8; Informational Fiction  (includes Author’s Note)  

I dropped that apple—the one that helped Isaac Newton discover gravity.  I am Isaac’s Apple Tree, and I have a story for you—one that begins with that apple-drop and goes all the way to the International Space Station and back. That’s where my seeds (pips, people, pips!) floated in zero gravity, then came back to Earth where they grew into six beautiful saplings—my space children.  At almost 400 years old, my amazing story spans centuries and continents—and space itself!

 

Once you’ve had a chance to read through and evaluate the three September pitches above, please vote for your favorite – the one you feel most deserves a read and comments from editor Erin Molta, and vote for it in the poll below by Sunday November 17 at 9PM Eastern.

 

Thank you!

Wow!  Nothing like voting to work up an appetite!  And you know what that means… 🙂  Time for Something Chocolate!

I think today would be a great day for Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes, but then again, is there ever a bad day for those? 🙂

Chocolate Blackout Cupcakes

 

Yummity yum yum yum!  Chocolate heaven! 🙂

Okay!  Onward and upward!  Today’s pitch comes to us from Lynne who says, “I’m an avid reader who is working to push through the fears of coming out of the writer’s closet! Growing up overseas in the 60s and 70s nurtured my love to escape into imaginary and other worlds with books. My daughter’s struggle with dyslexia in elementary school made me realize the importance of great children’s books to keep her engaging in her battle to overcome her reading disability and develop a love to read.  She won:)”

 

Find her on the web at

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Samantha’s Swimsuit

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

The Pitch: Samantha is a girl who knows what she wants when it comes to fashion. When she was imagining the absolutely dreamy suit for summer swim lessons, Samantha forgot about one.  Little.  Detail.  It would get wet. What if water ruins her perfect swimsuit?!?  Now Samantha must decide if she is relegated to the lounge chairs (safely outside of the splash zone!) or if she takes a chance in the pool!

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 Lynne 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 January, 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! But no harm in reserving your spot. . . they tend to go like hotcakes!

Lynne is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing this little guy . . .

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. . . okay, full disclosure, he doesn’t look exactly like that anymore – more like this

IMG_4897

but you know how moms are 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

Oh, and by the way!  I will do my best to post the Halloweensie Winners ASAP, but I’m going to have to be doing it while getting myself to the airport and onto a plane, so I apologize in advance if it takes me some extra time!  Have an extra Chocolate Blackout Cupcake while you’re waiting! 🙂

12 thoughts on “Would You Read It #341 – Samantha’s Swimsuit (PB) PLUS The September Pitch Pick!

  1. Katie Engen says:

    I think you’ve picked a real-life-kid problem, yet the stakes as described here seem rather low for a modern PB. Is there a social component (others noticing)? If she doesn’t learn to swim does she miss out on a trip or xyz? The voice of this pitch is rather passive and the punctuation (one little detail) disrupts flow more than it builds tension. Another option: add a layer. For example, even kids who logically get how bathing suits work may have traits (e.g. neurodiversity) that trigger perceived risks.

  2. Sarah Tobias says:

    Hi Lynne, I love that you are writing to support and engage people with reading disabilities. I would like to suggest that in your bio you reword the phrase “come out of the writing closet.” I think this may feel insensitive to the LGBTQIA community. Beyond that, your bio should be about your strengths and your confidence so including only your positive attributes will strengthen your bio and give more value to your pitch.

    Regarding your pitch, it is clear who your character is. I think you could simplify the opening to say: Samantha knows what she likes in fashion. Or Samantha is quite the fashionista and has dreamed up the perfect swimsuit for summer swim lessons. As for the problem, forgetting that the swimsuit will get wet is confusing to me. I am trying to figure out a scenario where a child’s swimsuit might not be water ready. Maybe you need to give some clues about where this suit came from or what it looks like. Is Samantha a Fancy Nancy who needs to choose between being fancy or swimming with friends or is she a fashion designer who made her swimsuit out of beads and baubles that may all fall off if she gets wet? I am a maybe.

    • matthewlasley says:

      I appreciate the concern for Lynne’s bio, but the phrase “come out of the writing closet” is used appropriately. If it offends someone in the LGBTQIA community, then that is a personal issue. The term “coming out” has been used for a couple hundred years and was at its peak in the late 1800s and early 1900s for debutants who where presented to society. Being “in the closet” was meant as something that you did in secret and has also been used for a long time. It was not meant as devious, but something that you did not want to share.
      While the term has been adopted by the LGBTQIA community (and fits for them as well) it is not theirs alone, if it is used appropriately. Lynne did not dig at anyone or any group, but it is the way that she feels. She no longer hides who she is.

  3. matthewlasley says:

    I am a maybe here. The language and concept seem to be a bit older than a picture book. I like the idea of anticipating something and then it not being what you expected, but I am not sure about what the stakes are. I would feel more inclined to have Samantha get her bathing suit, then realize she can’t swim.
    In the first sentence, I would drop “is a girl” because the word Samantha and she lets you know that.

    Welcome to the writing world. I am glad you have joined your peers. That is what we are. It is brave of you to step out and have your pitch critiqued. Good luck,

  4. authorlaurablog says:

    Susanna, I was really hoping for the third pitch to be about goats 🐐🐐 after reading the first two! I remember all of these and they’re all much improved. 😊 Also, before I get to today’s pitch … your little boy is darling and I know what you mean about imagining him at a *slightly* younger age. We all do that! About our children … about ourselves … 😉

    I’m a maybe on this one. When you write a PB or a pitch, you need to make every word count. “Samantha is a girl who knows what she wants when it comes to fashion.” This first sentence has 2 problems for me. The first is that it’s too wordy. Why not reword it, “Samantha knows fashion.” My second concern has to do with a little girl being fashion oriented, especially with a bathing suit because my mind goes to body image and making little girls into mini adults.
    Is her real problem a fear of the water or not knowing how to swim or does it really have to do with not getting a swimsuit wet?

  5. Marcia Z. Parks says:

    I think I would read this, largely because I enjoy fashion and designing. Also, kids often have very definite ideas on what they like to wear, so maybe not an important concern for adults, but I can understand that this could be a huge issue for kids–and not just girls, either. Plus, not every story needs to deal with some social component. That reminds me way too much of the stories I used to read in my grandmother’s ‘children’s books’ where every story had some (usually very preachy) lesson. Write a good story about something that is meaningful to you, and children will find their own connection in a way that is meaningful to them. Definitely leave out “is a girl who” in the first sentence, then I think it is perfect. I agree that the punctuation of ‘one little detail’ is disruptive. Try just plain capitalization thus: “…Samantha forgot about One Little Detail. It would get wet.” I am intrigued by that–because of course it will get wet! So maybe there is something else going on? If so, I do think you need to hint at it. It could have to do with fears of water. (I’m assuming she is not a swimmer, hence the lessons.) It could have to do with her design and the materials she used and why she used them…a lot could be shown in the illustrations and could potentially be quite funny. A pitch is supposed to grab attention, not give away the whole story, but something is missing here.

  6. Katie Williams says:

    Hi Lynne,
    Welcome to the writing community, and hurray for your courage : ) Regarding your pitch, I am a maybe, and I agree with the previous commenters that the stakes just don’t seem high enough. I can definitely relate to this on a reality level–my 4 yr old has been obsessed recently with whether or not his swimsuit is “waterproof” and he never wants to get it wet if it’s not deemed worthy (by him).

    So…relatable concept, but the pitch honestly came off as a bit boring/slow (sorry if that sounds harsh, but I personally always appreciate honesty!). Perhaps instead of her just worrying about ruining the suit, there could be some detail that she’s really focused on? Maybe it’s glittery and she’s afraid the glitter won’t show up? Or there are sequins and she doesn’t want them to fall off?

    Then focus on making the details of your story pop. “Samantha is a fiend for fashion. But when she sets her heart on a glittery swimsuit, she’s afraid the water will ruin her sparkle! To make matters worse, her first swim competition is coming up, and if she can’t figure out a way to flaunt her flair, she’ll never be able to compete.” You get the idea. I also agree that I’m not a huge fan of things being all fashion when it comes to girls, especially with the body image issues that can arise from swimsuits, but I’m sure you can find a way around that. Best of luck with revisions!

  7. ptnozell says:

    Lynne, congratulations on taking the plunge into writing! I confess to being a maybe on the pitch, too, for many of the reasons mentioned by Laura above. If what you’re trying to highlight is Samantha’s craftiness and love of creating things, like sewing, versus being sporty or adventurous, I’d be more direct about it, as that, in my mind, is a problem to which kids will relate.

    Susanna, I loved rereading the September pitches. I had forgotten that there were 2 goat stories that month! Safe travels to see your son. Is that the Amazon rainforest I spy in the background? Enjoy Brazil!

  8. rosecappelli says:

    I’d say maybe on this. Samantha sounds like she might be a fun character and I am intrigued by why a swimsuit can’t get wet, but the pitch was a little confusing. I agree with others to shorten the first sentence (take out “is a girl who”). I’m not sure if she imagined the swimsuit or actually has it (or made it), so maybe clarify that part a bit, too. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your revisions!

  9. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Halllloooooo, says Tigger! Popping in for a drive-by comment and a bite of chocolate cake and an admiring glance at a sweet, little boy who’s now all grown up.

    I’m on the fence about this pitch, too, echoing Laura and Patricia’s comments. I think that “little girl” and “fashion” and “swimsuit” may be a trope that is better turned on its head. What happens if you give that a try? Good luck!

  10. ingridboydston says:

    Although this story didn’t grab me at first, I realized I have kids in my classroom who are just like Samantha! And since everyone likes to see themselves in stories, this one might have a place on my shelves after all. 🙂 Best wishes as your work your way through all the advice. It can be overwhelming!
    Susanna- my baby just turned 18 so I know how you feel! In fact, I gave her “Why A Daughter Needs Her Mom” with personal notes and verses I added to each page. Who knew a picture book could be the perfect gift for a college student? You did a lovely job with that!

  11. Corine Timmer says:

    Based on your pitch alone, I am a maybe. However, I do think there is an interesting story in your pitch. with some revisions I could easily become a yes. You have a main character (Samantha) and you have a problem (her dream swimsuit is not suited to splashing around in water) I would like to learn more about WHY she has this problem and what she does or experiences in order to overcome it? Does she cling to her idea or does she reject it (and discard her fancy costume) in favor of a swim (with friends)?

    Samantha is a girl who knows what she wants—and she wants a …….swimsuit! (What is so special about this swimsuit?) When she turns up for her first swimming lesson she hesitates. (Why does she hesitate? What are the problems? How does she resolve them?)

    I hope that helps. Good luck!

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