Would You Read It Wednesday #385 – Looking For Scorpions (PB)

Good Wednesday to you all!

Here on Blueberry Hill, the flowers are finally making an appearance

and Violet’s fence is coming along – not something I really wanted to have to install, but she’s getting a little too adventurous and baby animal season is upon us! The baby animals of Blueberry Hill must be protected from my bad baby!

Don’t worry – it’s not done! Gaps that wide would obviously be completely ineffective! 😊

What with it being April and all (really, anything will do as a reason 😊) I think it’s past time for Something Chocolate. How about some Fudgy Oreo Brownies? Because what’s better than a brownie? A fudgy oreo brownie!

Fudgy Oreo Brownies

How good do those look?! I recommend a little scoop of vanilla, chocolate, or coffee ice cream to go along with. You know, just to add to the nutritional value (already high with all the vegetable goodness of the cocoa bean) with some calcium and protein 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Marta who says, “I’m a copywriter and Creative Director who has spent her entire career in advertising. I’ve ALWAYS loved children’s books and am an ardent collector. Having my own child was just an excuse to add even more.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Looking For Scorpions

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)

The Pitch: The minute Roz and her Mom arrive in Mexico she just knows it’s going to be the Best Most Special Mom-Daughter Holiday Ever—until the Hotel Manager tells them they have scorpions. Convinced they could be hiding anywhere Roz starts seeing them everywhere!! Will Roz be able to have fun? Will her Mom? Or will this turn out to be the Worst Most Awful Mom-Daughter Holiday Ever!

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 Marta 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 on April 28 and in May, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Marta is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to a little bit of birthday cake later…which I will probably be baking myself, but at least I have a good excuse 😊 It’s not every day you turn 29. . . for the 27th time 😊 🧁🧁🧁

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

34 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #385 – Looking For Scorpions (PB)

  1. Jamie Donahoe says:

    I am forever in awe of your recipe resources, Susanna!

    As for the pitch, I am a maybe. My initial reaction on reading the pitch was that it would be a fluff piece. But then I got to thinking, maybe it turns out that Roz develops an appreciation for scorpions and eventually studies then and other desert critters. And maybe there’s backmatter and maybe she’s snuck neat information about scorpions into the book. So then I decided I would at least skim it to find out what kind of story it is.

    I sense a disconnect between the title and the pitch. Maybe something like “Scorpions Everywhere!” better reflects what the story is about. The” best mom-daughter holiday” aspect seems much more middle grade than picture book and focusing so much on that in the pitch could be hiding what the book is really about.

    Rather than ending the pitch with a question, perhaps state what happens. Totally guessing here: United by constant fear of being stung, Roz and her mom find comedic joy in their holiday. or, Roz and her mom become champion scorpion hunters, learning a lot about as much about these predatory arachnids as they do each other. (but again, these seem older than picture book audience).

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Hi Jamie!
      Thank you SO much for the feedback and ideas, especially the title. I’ve been struggling with that one as I’ve been feeling it didn’t have the same comedic flavor as the book itself. As it happens, I do have back matter written: “Fun facts about scorpions”, and even a list of Roz’s favourite Spanish words. Again, really appreciate the input!

  2. Nadine Poper says:

    As a children’s librarian and state book award committee member, I read hundreds of fiction picture books a year. I have to say, one specifically about scorpions is new to me so I would read it for the uniqueness.I use the word ‘fiction’ because as it reads right now, your pitch is telling me that is the direction you are going.

    I would replace the questions with places Roz finds them…silly places perhaps. I am getting a “Creepy Carrots” feel to your pitch. Which could work but then you need a plot that moves the silliness along.

    Perhaps remove Best Most Special Mom-Daughter event to take the focus off of that. Telling why they are in Mexico may not be all that important here.

    If you are planning on adding factual pieces to your book, I would state that somewhere in the pitch, maybe by saying “Roz discovered ____” or Roz learned that…”

    Good luck and have fun with this story.

  3. Nadine Poper says:

    WAIT….I forgot to say Happy Birthday Susanna!!! I hope someone bakes you a yummy chocolate something today!

  4. Mona Pease says:

    I might read this one. To me, the title and the pitch don’t quite match. From what you’re telling me in the pitch, I think the title should be more active with a sense of urgency. Like simply, SCORPIONS! I think I’d read it then.

  5. Katie Engen says:

    Compelling and unique premise, great pace in the pitch. The title seems dreamier than the pitch (like some sort of introspective, deal with issues story). Is being in Mexico a plot point or just explaining why there may be scorpions (if the latter, let the artwork show Mexico). I’d like a little sense of what happens during the scorpion search. Is it funny? scary? detective-like or haphazard? Can the wordy Best/Worst descriptors be shortened to make room in the pitch for a few more actions to show what would/does happen to make it the Best/Worst Ever?

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Hi Katie. Thank you for the feedback: looks like you’re right in line with everyone on the title! 🙂 Mexico is important as the Hotel Manager plays a special role throughout the story and helping Roz realize that her fears are ruining her fun! This is definitely meant to be funny so perhaps I should add more of that into the pitch! Again, thank you!

  6. robincurrie1 says:

    You had me a scorpions! You might drop the last 3 sentences and add an example of where she “sees” them – sock drawer? bathtub? Good luck!

  7. Writer on the run says:

    I am a maybe. I would be more drawn to a non-fiction piece about scorpions that had a story in it (maybe told by the pictures) similar to Jason Chin. If you make the scorpions the center of the book instead of the mother-daughter weekend the book concept has more weight – so is the story about a girl discovering an animal that feels frightening but once she learns about it, she has appreciation? Or is it about a girl on holiday struggling with her fears? What does she really want? Time with Mom? Can Roz and her Mom bond over learning about scorpions?

  8. palpbkids says:

    If I read this on the inside cover flap, I would pick up the book to read it. But I ask myself, would a child? You’ve drawn me in as an adult, but how could you write this as a kid-friendly pitch to grab kids if an adult were to read the pitch to them? You’ve got the basic structure, but it’s a tad wordy. Remove the questions and tighten it up. Here’s a basic construction to work with: Roz and her mom are excited about their mother-daughter holiday in Mexico. When they discover scorpions hiding everywhere and anywhere, Roz freaks out. Learning to live with scorpions becomes a holiday she won’t forget!
    Lastly, the title is misleading. Are we focusing on scorpions or on the Mom-Daughter Holiday?
    But with all that said, I’m hooked and cant’ wait to read this story!!

    Happy Birthday, Susanna!! What is your favorite birthday cake????

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Glad you like the idea! Thank you for the suggestions! This is definitely meant to be a funny book about a character confronting her fears and figuring out how to get over them so I will look at how to bring that in so it’s more obvious!

  9. ptnozell says:

    Happy birthday, Susanna! I hope you enjoy lots of chocolaty treats & family time.

    Marta, I love the idea of a book about scorpions. Having experienced them in the Caribbean, I know visitors need to take care around them.

    I agree with the others, though, that the pitch will improve if you provide more details about where Roz & her Mom find the scorpions and how they rid their hotel room of them (or don’t). And while I like the idea of a mother-daughter holiday and bonding over a shared fear, I’d caution that you don’t want to give the impression of privileged visitors ridding a tourist destination of its native wildlife. Show us how Roz and her Mom learn to appreciate and live with them, as the locals do.

    • Marta Cutler says:

      I’m so happy you like the idea! And thank you for the suggestions about how to improve the pitch, and the watch-outs.

  10. readmybook2002 says:

    It’s a maybe. ( just because of the pitch) What intrigues me are the scorpions. The idea is strong. I think I may know where you are going with this story idea (a humorous blend) and if so, it will be brilliant. But it doesn’t show in your pitch. You seem hesitant or scared to show some specifics. Go for it! I would remove all the questions posed, tighten the rest. “Mexico, The Best Most Special Mom-Daughter Holiday Ever, and until the Hotel Manager tells them they have scorpions” are all the needed basic points which could be crafted in a shorter sentence. After the sentence “hiding anywhere Roz starts seeing them(scorpions) everywhere” is the beginning point to be more specific eg. while getting their nails polished, eating a poolside lunch. I would love to hear your full idea and the emotions involved. You have the goal, obstacle, just reword the stakes (not into questions). Good luck.

  11. eleanorannpeterson says:

    The title pulled me in right away. We have scorpions in Italy. I usually find them in the shower in the summer, they love damp places. But as others have already pointed out, I was expecting a concept PB. I would read it if the book was about Roz wanting to discover and study scorpions, and perhaps, she was quite happy to stay at the hotel. Maybe her mom freaks out and Roz reassures her by explaining the scorpions’ diet and habitat. Just a thought.
    Happy Birthday, Susanna!

  12. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    Happy Birthday Susanna! And hey – I’m a Scorpio so that sort of connects the two themes in this post, right? ;D

  13. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday, Susanna!! “And many more” *can you hear me singing?!

    I’m a maybe. I share Roz’s fear and after having one child live for some time in AZ and find those critters–I need some convincing that I won’t just be more terrified. I feel like tha author can tweak this to show the “fun” but right now the pitch doesn’t give me that reassurance.

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Thank you Wendy. Appreciate the feedback. This is definitely meant to be fun, so clearly I need to add more of the story’s humor into the pitch! 🙂

  14. https://katiewalsh.blog/ says:

    Happy Birthday, Susanna!

    Yes, I would read this. It sounds like an adventure! Perhaps you could drop some of the words to make it a little snappier and bring in even more excitement. What about?

    When Roz and her mom plan an epic mother-daughter trip to Mexico, they can’t wait! Until the hotel manager lets them in on a terrifying secret—there’s been a scorpion invasion! Disappointed and totally freaked out by the creepy crawlers, Roz must come up with a plan to rid the hotel of the unwanted guests or find a way to *gulp* live with them.

    Of course, this is just food for thought, but I hope it got your wheels turning! Good luck with this fun story!

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Love the suggestion Katie! Definitely brings more energy to the pitch. Thank you SO much for the great feedback!

  15. Angela Jelf says:

    I’m a yes – I think it’s a very different idea and I would want to read it to see how it pans out. Also interested to see Mexico as a setting. But I think if the pitch could be condensed just a little to make it even snappier, it would have more impact. And could the title also be a little more dynamic – I dunno, something like: Scorpions in the Closet/ Bugs on the Balcony…Or even just Searching For Scorpions rather than Looking For…? Wishing you every success with this Marta! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Marta Cutler says:

      Glad you like it Angela and thank you for the feedback! I agree with both your points: snappier and better title!

  16. seschipper says:

    I would say yes!
    My favorite line is “Convinced they could be hiding anywhere Roz starts seeing them everywhere”! Perhaps you could build the pitch using a catchy line such as this one! As for the title, something “catchy” as well..”Scorpius Scorpions Everywhere!!!!!” Good Luck!!

    Happy, happy chocolatey Birthday Susanna! 🎂❤

  17. Norah says:

    Happy birthday, Susanna. I hope it was chocolicious!
    Yes, I would read it. I hope that the holiday does turn out to be the best and that Mum and daughter develop a new, safe and respectful, relationship with scorpions. I don’t think I’ve read a story involving scorpions, so that intrigues me. I don’t find the title very intriguing though. I’m not sure what to suggest – Scorpions on Holiday?

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