Would You Read It Wednesday #391 – Lucy And The Fear Monsters (PB)

Hello, my fellow kids’ book lovers!

Today I have Dr. De Soto by William Steig on the brain because yes, you guessed it, I have to go to the dentist. I don’t know about you, but this is the first time I’ve been since covid. I am not looking forward to it!

I’m sorry to admit I have a long history of bad behavior with dentists, starting with my first visit at age 5 when I bit the dentist hard enough to draw blood and my mom was told in no uncertain terms never to bring me back! As a result, I had to go to a “children’s specialist” the primary benefit of which was that it made my siblings jealous 😊

Probably I should write a story about something to do with teeth!

But while I think on that, we should all help ourselves to Something Chocolate, because that makes everything better, don’t you agree? Even the dentist!

For our Something Chocolate today I have finally found it – the perfect chocolate breakfast item – No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cups! It’s like an oatmeal cupcake with chocolate! Easy, delicious, portable, and most of all, CHOCOLATE! 😊

I mean really. Does breakfast get any better than that? 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Caitlin who says, “I suffer from an anxiety disorder and when I was a kid I was afraid of almost everything. This story is inspired by my own experiences in the hope it will help kids cope with their fears. You can find my online portfolio here:https://ckhan8.myportfolio.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Lucy And The Fear Monsters

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)

The Pitch: Lucy’s fears are terribly inconvenient. She clings to the edge of the pool, holds tight to the first monkey bar, and hangs back at the petting zoo. Lucy takes to art and draws her fears as monsters scaring her away from diving in the pool, swinging on the monkey bars, and petting large animals. Then her fear monsters start showing up in real life trembling with fright and begging for Lucy’s help. Lucy must help her fear monsters cope with the very same anxieties she faces herself before they follow her around indefinitely. 

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 Caitlin 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 as early as next week for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Caitlin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to having my dentist visit over! 🦷🦷🦷 😈

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

39 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #391 – Lucy And The Fear Monsters (PB)

  1. Norah says:

    Yes, I would read it. I think I was, and still am, a bit like Lucy – hanging back, reluctant to have a go. I think there are many others like Lucy and me and we come in all sizes. Books like this can help children learn to express and therefore cope with their anxieties in a non-threatening and fun way.
    The only part that I was a bit confused about was the fear monsters having the same anxieties as Lucy – does that mean anxious in the pool and on the monkey bars etc? – and why they would hang around her forever – is that for support? Perhaps that confusion is just mine. Everything else is clear and very appealing.
    I like that Lucy uses art to express her fears. I wonder if she’ll use art to quell them.
    I wish Caitlin success with her story.

  2. Nadine Poper says:

    Susanna, I have a note on my dentist chart that says “difficult”. LOL!! The staff knows to be prepared when they see my name on their schedule.

    Caitlin, yes, I would read this. You can eliminate “scaring her away from diving in the pool, swinging on the monkey bars, and petting large animals.” I wouldn’t repeat the fears. You already indicated what they were in the earlier sentence.
    I like the idea of the monsters needing Lucy. This reversal sounds like it gives Lucy the empowerment to solve her own problem. And using art as the expressive way is wonderful. Be careful not to make it too preachy and obvious.
    Best of luck!

  3. readmybook2002 says:

    I would read it. A child has many fears and Lucy needs a little help. By helping her other fears (facing them) she can help herself. Artwork from a child would make this shine even more.

  4. Sandy McGraw says:

    Yes, I’d read this. Anxiety is real for so many children – your pitch left me wondering about the anxieties of a fear monster…which makes me want to read this book!

  5. ptnozell says:

    Caitlin, I would read this book, as I think fear is something that resonates with many of us & holds us back. I love that Lucy turns to art, and I get a sense of your voice from the pitch as well (I particularly enjoy the first sentence). I agree with Nadine that you can delete the second mention of Lucy’s fears.

    Susanna, good luck at the dentist. Definitely doesn’t top many lists of “want to do” activities!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Caitlin, Patricia! And no… the dentist is on the top of my list! There are some things I’d rather do that most people would put after the dentist 😊

  6. Judy Sobanski says:

    Caitlin, I would read this! I agree with Nadine that you don’t need to repeat the specific fears. I really like that Lucy draws her fears as monsters which helps her to overcome her anxieties. If that is the case, I’m a little confused about why the monsters then become afraid and why they follow her indefinitely? What happens to the monsters once Lucy helps them? Do they turn into something else or simply go away? Maybe a few more details about how or why the monsters suddenly are afraid (does something trigger this?) would clarify your pitch. Best of luck!

  7. palpbkids says:

    Caitlin, this is a story that needs to be published! I’m thrilled about it!
    I agree with Nadine not to repeat the fears. This would cut the pitch down considerably.
    Go for it:)!

  8. Karen Condit says:

    Yes, I would definitely read it! I can’t quite picture how Lucy is going to turn it around to help the monsters with their fears, but this twist makes me all the more curious! Using art to help herself makes me think of Art Therapy which can be a powerful avenue toward healing! Awesome!

    I think you can tighten up your pitch. For example, I don’t think you have to restate the fears in sentence 3 that you stated in the first sentence. And I’m wondering…what is “inconvenient” about her fears? Is that really the word you want to use? Are her fears more about being embarrassed, or holding her back from some fun experiences, or just irrational and bothersome. With the fearful examples, “inconvenient” somehow doesn’t seem to capture the problem but maybe I’m not on target since I haven’t read the story.

    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Katie Schwartz says:

    Caitlin, yes I would definitely read this, your pitch piques my interest. I agree with the above comments, to not repeat the fears in the third sentence, replace inconvenience with something else (’Lucy’s fears are no fun’, but this doesn’t quite seem to capture how she might feel). Also ‘before they follow her around indefinitely’, maybe punch this up a bit, ‘before they move in for good’, or even ‘before they follow her everywhere’, etc.
    Love the action verbs!
    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Caitlin Khan (@caitlinkhanart) says:

    Thank you so SO much for your feedback! It’s really helpful!! I agree that the second repetition of Lucy’s fears is redundant. I actually never thought of the art therapy angle, but you’re totally correct! I based the story on a meditation where you imagine your anxieties as a younger version of yourself and then you say comforting words to them. I wanted to create a picture book that helped teach this idea of self soothing and self compassion to kids in a way they’d understand. So instead of a younger version of herself, Lucy comforts the fear monsters. In the story, her family members keep trying to comfort Lucy with the same words and then at the end, Lucy says the same phrases to the fear monsters (in other words, herself). Reflecting on your comments, I think how I worded the last sentence is not quite right. She’s comforting her monsters, but they’re not going away, just not being so loud. Towards the end, there’s a whole stream of fear monsters crying out for help quite loudly and she has to comfort them in order to settle them down. I’m not sure yet how to convey this in the pitch but also not give away the ending.

  11. Marcia Z. Parks says:

    Yes–a definite read! I love that her fear monsters are afraid–it’s a good switch-up–and that she ends up helping them. I think the pitch can be tightened by not describing everything she draws… Also not sure about “Lucy’s fears are terribly inconvenient.” Aren’t her fears worse than that? I wonder off there is a way to say how fears hold her back from having fun–I guess it’s the word inconvenient that seems less compelling to me, somehow. And the pitch does make me curious about how she helps them cope.

  12. rosecappelli says:

    Yes. I think this is a very relatable topic for kids. As others have said, I would suggest taking out the third sentence, maybe combining parts of the second sentence to keep in the hint about using art, then also shortening the rest to maybe something like:
    “But when her fear monsters start begging for help, Lucy must help them cope with the same anxieties she faces herself.”
    Good luck with this! It sounds like a winner.

  13. ingridboydston says:

    Hi Lucy! The concept is great. It intrigued me and I would read this. The title threw me a bit though. I wonder if a child who already fights anxiety would pick up a book with “fear monsters” in the title. I have something along the same lines in the works but I call my “monsters” Glitches. Even Worry Monsters seems a little less frightening, but you still get to keep monsters which for some reason seems fun. I hope this is helpful Good for you for putting yourself out there!
    Susanna- these remind me of my childhood favorites- No Bake Cookies! Yum! AND I just reread Pete’s a Pizza the other day, lol. I still love the classics!

  14. seschipper says:

    Yes, I would read it! Sorry I am responding “late”! Most of the comments I would have offered were already given! Good Luck! This should be a great PB! 🙂

  15. authorlaurablog says:

    Caitlin, sounds like you’ve created an interesting story and your pitch has some good feedback. I’m not sure where my Wednesday went, but I hope your trip to the dentist went well, Susanna. I had a temporary crown on Tuesday and go back in 2 weeks for the permanent one. I am the only person I know who doesn’t mind the dentist other than the cost.

  16. Jamie Donahoe says:

    I would read it – I like the twist that the monsters have the same fears Lucy does; perhaps they are hanging with her because she’s the strong one! Agree you don’t need the second list of fears. You also might take a look at the title, which seems a bit prosaic: “What Are You Scared Of?” comes to mind… Good luck with this one!

  17. Ellen Leventhal says:

    I would read this, and I have a granddaughter who I’d read it to. She is a lot like Lucy. Actually, so am I!I am late in responding, so I’ll just say that I agree it can be streamlined, and it’s a very needed book! Good luck!

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