Howdy, friends! Welcome to another exciting episode of Would You Read It Wednesday!
Since everyone here lives in the land of picture books (and therefore surely has at least a bit of the young-at-heart about them ) I think you will all understand the importance of the following brief dissertation on Swings I Have Known 😊 Let’s call it research, because you never know when you might need to write a swing into a book! 😊
I have always loved to swing.
I began my swinging career fairly tamely in the playground in Central Park, across the street from my apartment.
Later on, we had a metal swing set – the kind with the A-shaped ends and flat plastic seats hanging from stiff chains. It creaked a lot and you couldn’t swing very high, but it served the purpose. And you could stand on the flat seats and swing for an added element of excitement! (I will confess that I also did a lot of very loud singing while on that swing 😊)
The best swing of my childhood was at grandma and grandpa’s house in California. They had a swing that my siblings and cousins and I all loved, hung from a huge black oak at the top of a little hill, so you could pull the rope back to the top of the hill, take a running start, leap onto the circular wooden seat, and sail out into the air like you were flying! If you were really lucky, you could get grandpa to push you and fly even higher 😊 . . . and spin!!! 😊😊 Now THAT was a swing!!! 😊😊😊 The only bad part was we had to take turns. . . and there were a lot of us!
I wish I could find a picture of it. It was a great swing!
But I am not picky when it comes to swings. I’m happy with anything 😊
When my kids were little, I swung on their swing set – a really nice wooden one with a covered play deck and monkey bars and those rubber belt seats – usually with one of them in my lap, but lots of times on my own.
That one is still in the back yard.
You know that Robert Louis Stevenson poem?
Oh, how I love to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue!
I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do. . .
My mom used to say that poem to me when we swung (really, shouldn’t it be swang?), and I used to say it to my kids (all three verses 😊)
So the cause of all this swing nostalgia it that this year for my birthday, I got a different kind of swing – a lovely porch swing with comfortable cushions and a nice adjustable canopy to provide shade on my very sunny back porch. In just a couple weeks it has become my favorite place to hang out. Who knew a porch swing could be so awesome?! Great for sitting and chatting, talking on the phone, working on your laptop, sipping your morning coffee, or just sitting and gently swinging listening to the birds say goodnight while the sun goes down.
It’s a little less daredevil than grandma and grandpa’s swing 😊, but I highly recommend acquiring one if you can!
Next thing to try on the swing? A little chocolate chip cookie snack! 😊
Because I just happened to be baking Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday for a friend, let’s go with that tried and true classic today for our Something Chocolate. I think you’ll love this recipe with tips on how to make your cookies thin and crispy, soft and chewy, or light and cakey – whatever you like best! – as well as tips on how to keep cookies fresh, whether to freeze, how to make them all the same size, and how to add a sweet and salty twist in case you want to give that a try! Best cookies ever!
Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Patricia who says, “I’m an aspiring picture book writer who has fallen in love with the craft of picture book writing. The best part is the kindness and generosity of the writing community. I raised two boys, three dogs, and have the appliance repair bills as best evidence that children need hiding places for their treasures! You can find me at www.patriciajfranz.com or @patriciajfranz1 (Twitter).”
Here is her pitch:
Working Title: Ty’s Treasures
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)
The Pitch: A lucky penny. A feather . A thimble. Another rock. No one else appreciates the treasures Ty finsd. Now Ty needs a hiding place to safeguard them; someplace close where he can touch and inspect them and wonder…
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 Patricia 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 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!
Patricia is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to enjoying a chocolate chip cookie snack on my porch swing! 😊 And hearing any swing stories any of YOU would like to share! 😊
Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊
47 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #388 – Ty’s Treasures (PB)”
Hi Patricia: I would definitely read this story – this reminds me of when I was very little and my mother let me use the lowest drawer of the desk in our kitchen to store my treasures (mostly sticks and rocks). I like the pitch but have two suggestions: Maybe reword the second sentence, so it is not quite as negative-sounding, e.g., “To other people, the things Ty collected were ordinary. To him, they were treasures.” And maybe up the tension in the third section, so we really experience the conflict, e.g., “But where to keep these treasures safely, where he can touch them and inspect them and wonder about them?” Good luck with this!
Thank you Elizabeth! I appreciate your specific ideas.
Maybe because I love a lucky pennies and feathers. Who doesn’t, right? A thimble is an unknown to kids these days, so that’s intriguing. And yes, a kid can’t have enough rocks
Here’s the part that threw me. “No one else appreciates the treasures Ty finds.” Why not? Could you add a smidge more detail to the pitch here?
“Now Ty needs a hiding place to safeguard them; someplace close where he can touch and inspect them and wonder…” If no one appreciates his treasures, why does he need to protect them? Add a tad more tension to your pitch to grab your readers.
Thank you Joyce! This is really helpful!
Maybe – A lucky penny. A feather. A thimble – all intrigue me. ‘Another’ rock, takes it into a ‘so-what’ space. Perhaps the rock is not that important in the big scheme of the story but it is to the MC. Could you relabel the rock to boost somehow the hiding place’s importance, which appears as the start of your hook? (something as simple as ‘THIS rock’ – the rocks from Grandma’s garden.)
Up the importance of why this collection needs to be hidden. (stakes) An agent wants to know why they should care about the collection and the need for a hiding place.
There is some hidden warmth in your MS so that Ty feels the need to hide these things. Share some of that in your pitch.
I agree with Joyce’s comments above.
Perfect! Thank you, Patti. You are right… there is some hidden warmth I need to bring out.
Yes, I would read it. I still have treasures of my own in a cigar box from long ago that can’t be replaced in physicality or sentimentally.
Cigar boxes! I wondered if I could make use of a cigar box or would it raise too many questions. I always envied people who had cigar boxes as kids. Just LOVED that the top was connected!!
Yes, I would read this story, but I’d love to know the feeling of it some more. Based on the opening to your pitch, about your hefty appliance bills, I was thinking this was going to be a story with humor. However, your pitch has a more lyrical feel. Is it more about the silly places to hide treasures or more about the secret, magical places to hide treasures?
I like how short and sweet the beginning words are. I’m wondering if the story is about his family appreciating his treasures or about finding secret hiding spots? I think if you clarify that will give the pitch a stronger focus.
Thanks for sharing! Good luck!
Thanks! You’ve given me some things to think about (and decisions to make re the tone).
You had me at lucky penny, and thimble and clinched it at feather and rock., but the points above are great. Specifics deepen our stake in things (“another” tells us there are lot more rocks, but one added detail would make it special -eg. a speckled rock to join the others?). Why is hiding important? Are there siblings who take them? Parents who find what they think is trash and throw things away?
Our son used to put pennies in the VHS player (talk about old times!) so this resonates. And our granddaughters now “collect” things and ask ME to keep them (so parents won’t throw them away)
I want this book!
OMG– pennies in the VCR! Perfect! Thank you for the nudge to get more specific.
I love hiding places, so I am a YES – I would read this. Is a thimble still a thing? I am clueless because I don’t sew, I mean I REALLY don’t sew. I am a picker upper of rocks, though – usually ones shaped like a heart. I like the pitch. If you wanted to make it longer, maybe you could name a place or two that didn’t work out in Ty’s search for the perfect spot. Good luck.
Isn’t it funny about thimbles? I suppose only children who have people in their lives who sew or quilt would know. But I do think a young child would be fascinated by one. Thanks!
This pitch made me smile as I remember how I collected things, my kids collected things, and now my grandkids collect things! So I think this will have great appeal. I agree with the above comments about upping that stakes and making the collection super special. Is your MC concerned that someone will throw it out because they don’t see the “magic” in it? Great concept. Keep going and good luck!
Thanks for the encouragement Ellen!
I think kids, and many adults, like to collect “treasures,” so yes, I’d read this. But I agree with the comments above that we need to know more about the stakes & the conflict: why does Ty need a hiding place? Who is trying to grab his treasures? Is sharing or sibling rivalry a theme? More clues will have readers hunting to find this treasure! Good luck!
Thank you for your feedback!
Maybe I would read this. I think it needs a little oomph. Like ‘A lucky penny. A feather. A rock. A thimble. Another rock. It seems no one else appreciates the treasures Ty finds. Now Ty needs a hiding place to safeguard them; a special place where only he can find them – and touch, and wonder and inspect.’
Overall it sounds very interesting! And I know this is a story that would be interesting to both boys and girls, and encourage boys to be readers!
Thank you for sharing this, and good luck!
Thank you for your honest response!
Yes I would read this! I like the alliteration in the title!
Hidden treasures should spark an interest.
I agree with Joyce’s comments above! Good Luck!!!
Susanna…another great chocolate recipe, plus memories of my swing set that my dad built for me. He would set it up in the backyard in nice weather, then disassemble it and set it up in the basement during winter! Ahhh the good old days! ❤
How wonderful, Susan! That’s a dedicated, loving dad! ❤️
PS Have I missed any news regarding the mini writing challenge? Thanks!
No, you haven’t. First post will be up Monday (good lord willing and the creek don’t rise! 😊)
Yes, I’d read it. My little ones love to collect treasures, too, and I remember doing this as a child.
Susanna, I love your swing photos! Enjoy your new swing. I’m going to recite that poem to my children today, because swinging is a daily even in our backyard. 🙂
Swinging should be a daily event in everyone’s back yard, don’t you think, Sarah?! 😊 Enjoy the poem – it’s such a fun one to recite!
Yes, I would read it. Kids and collections just naturally go together. Ty feels the need to hide it and I wonder why and am curious to find out where.
Me too! I think Ty wishes he didn’t have to hide his treasures… I’ll have another conversation with him.
Yes!!! I would definitely read it! Children treasure so many things that we as adults pass by! You have really hooked me, good luck with your story!
Oh yes, I would definitely read this. I’d be curious to read where the child hides the treasures, what becomes of them, what the child imagines, do any get lost or thrown away by mistake… I still get excited when I find a treasure!
Thanks Mona… I have work to do!
YES–I would definitely read it! I think the stakes could be heightened a bit more than needing a hiding place for his treasures. Or maybe more enticing is what I mean? But I would absolutely read this. 🙂
Thank you CK! I know I can always count on my CP for great advice!
I would read Ty’s Treasures and would hope that while some treasures are ordinary objects that remind us to wonder, other objects might be truly fun and ridiculous!
PS Do you see Ty as a boy or girl or nonbinary child?
Thanks Kathy… Hmm… Might have to leave Ty’s gender up to an illustrator?
You already have so many comments and I have had an oh so busy day, so apologies for being late to the party. Did anyone save me some of Susanna’s chocolate chip cookies?
I don’t read other comments before making my own so if this is redundant to what others have said, just take it as another tally mark.
I am a yes, the only thing that confused me is you say no one else appreciates Ty’s treasures, so I didn’t understand why he needs to safeguard them. You might need to hint at what he fears will happen to his beloved collection,
I love the lucky Penny and the feather. A thimble is less likely to be a found item that doesn’t belong to someone else. My children used to collect, fossils and sea glass (at the beach) which might be more interesting than ‘another rock.’ Best of luck with this story.
Hi Laura, thanks for offering some thoughts anyway! Everything is helpful at this point!
Yes, I would read. As a little girl growing up I found pleasure in finding little somethings of nothings and imaging these things as treasures. How about adding some curiosity to draw your reader in…a little dab or two just to keep those pages turning. Good start.
Yum chocolate chip cookies! I will try for sure. The swing brought back some awesome fond memories of my childhood. My dad made his little girl (that would be me) the best wood splinter swing ever. It had a few splinters but that was okay…my daddy made me feel special.
/thank you for the helpful hints re curiosity!
So sweet! I’m glad the swing brought back good memories for you!
Yes yes yes – good pitch. (Watch for typos) I want to know where he looks and how it ends. Well done.
Thanks Robin! (Yes — gulp! I saw the typo! UGH!)
Oh shoot! Was I supposed to fix that and forgot/missed it?! Sorry!
Here’s my two cents: Have you heard of The Rule of 3? Remove ‘thimble’ and see if it doesn’t read smoother. For me, I can imagine finding a penny, a feather and rock outside but not a thimble. Secondly, turn the ‘no one else appreciates’ into a positive statement. Third, why does Ty need a safe hiding place? Is someone going to take them if no one appreciates his treasures? Something like: There’s nothing more Ty wants than to share his treasures. But when he tries, he finds he is the only one who sees their beauty.
Not sure if this is what the theme of the book is, but you need to establish the logline. That said, the story feels like there is an emotional connection that readers will enjoy.