Would You Read It Wednesday #398 – Do Your Thing, Peking (PB)

Hello there, my friends!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday!

Which camp are you in?

Wow! It’s Wednesday already?


“It’s only Wednesday?”

I’m in the first group this week because I’m still somewhere back around last Friday! 😊

But I know just the cure for that.

I bet you can guess. . . 😊

Something Chocolate!

Since Halloween is practically here, let’s indulge in some Hocus Pocus Cookies – so bright and cheery and, most importantly, so CHOCOLATE! (They also have “slime” in them – meant to be delightfully gross for the youngsters in your life 😊)

Recipe HERE at The Soccer Mom Blog

DELECTABLE! don’t you think? Let’s have seconds! 😊

Now then, onto today’spitch which comes to us from Jan who says, “I’ve been writing picture books for two years and meeting regularly with three critique groups. I’ve attended Susanna’s class, “Making Picture Book Magic”, as well as several conferences and many webinars. I’m in my second year with Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge, and I read about 10-20 picture books every week and many with my grandsons. They are my motivation for seeking an agent and getting published. I’m on twitter as @jansuhr.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Do Your Thing, Peking

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

The Pitch: As the zoo’s only peachick, Peking struggles to discover what makes him unique. He can’t swing like Monkey or waddle like Penguin or trumpet like Elephant. He looks at his reflection in the lily pond and doesn’t see anything spectacular. Peking visits the zoo’s animals, tries to copy their talent and asks their advice. Peking’s specialty does surface with time and patience and he becomes brighter and bolder than anyone could have ever imagined.

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 Jan 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!

Jan is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to more Hocus Pocus cookies! I need a little magic this week.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

24 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #398 – Do Your Thing, Peking (PB)

  1. Norah says:

    I love the idea of a peachick finding its talent and becoming brighter and bolder than anyone could imagine. Peacocks are rather gorgeous creatures. I would read it.

  2. Jamie Donahoe says:

    I’m pretty sure I know how the story ends, but I can imagine how delighted a young reader might be to turn the page and see something so bright and bold. So yes, I’d read this one. I’d like to see a bit more pep in the pitch, particularly the line about looking in the lily pond, so that it too reveals Jan’s special talent.

  3. ptnozell says:

    Yes, I would read this, Jan – discovering what makes one special is such a universal theme. I also think the pitch contains hints at the outcome without giving it away. It is a bit long, though, and perhaps you can shorten or delete the sentence about asking the other animals, as you allude to that with the more specific sentence about the other animals’ talents. Otherwise, I think you’ve written a wonderful pitch – one of the more polished ones I’ve seen in a while. Bravo!

    Susanna, I think you’ve outdone yourself with that chocolate treat this morning. If that doesn’t help folks fire up brain cells to write a Halloweensie story, nothing will!

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thanks PTNozell! I struggle between the short pitches for pitch contests and the longer ones like those in the book jackets. But I will keep your recommendation in mind.

  4. Wendy says:

    Hi Jan! I wonder if you need the words (and the story element) that chick is the ONLY peachick at the zoo. If it’s the only one, it’s already unique, isn’t it? In that case the story isn’t about being unique, perhaps it’s about what makes him “special”?

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thanks Wendy! The story is about what makes him special so perhaps unique isn’t the best choice of words. Being the only peachick at the zoo hinders him from learning from mom and dad so he is trying to figure out why he is at the zoo and how he can best gain the attention of the zoo visitors who are always taking photos of the other animals.

  5. katiefischerwrites says:

    I think the concept is really neat, and my kids love all things peafowl, so I’m thinking yes. The ending hints at some pretty awesome last pages.
    I do feel that the wording is a little vague, though.
    Incorporating some of the voice or wordplay or puns from the story could give the pitch a little more sparkle.

    Since you reference Peking visiting the other animals later in the pitch I wonder if you could tighten up the beginning with something like:
    …Peking struggles to discover what makes him unique, even his reflection in the lily pond doesn’t look spectacular.

    Best of luck, Peking sounds like a sweet character!

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thanks Katie! I like your advice. I think it would help to bring some of the story verbiage into the pitch. Looks like I have more work to do.

  6. marty bellis says:

    Jan, yes I’d read this. We had two peacocks parade through our yard this summer and it was quite a sight!
    My suggestion would be to cut the sentence “Peking visits the zoo animals, etc . . . ” It feels redundant and doesn’t add anything. Maybe tweak the last sentence a bit. Rather than ‘with time and patience’, you can give us a hint of what Peking tries or some of his early efforts? Something to give us a better flavor of the heart of your story.
    Hope this helps!

    Susanna, love the cookies. Sending the recipe to my oldest granddaughter, who loves to bake.

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thanks Marty! Great suggestions! I will work on those and how neat that was to have peacocks in your yard. I’ve only seen them at the zoos. What I loved seeing recently was a youtube video with the male shaking his feathers and making quite an attraction. I don’t know how the females could refuse that. LOL

  7. Eileen Manes says:

    Maybe. As others have said, the peacock reveal could be REALLY beautiful, and books about accepting yourself are always important! I do think there is some tightening that could be done in the pitch – I’ve made suggestions below. I’m mostly on the fence because the pitch seems to imply that Peking accepts who he is only once he becomes beautiful – that time passes and he becomes this beautiful peacock, and that is what makes him unique. I’m sure there is more to it than this, but that isn’t necessarily coming through in the pitch. If you allude to what makes him *decide* to be patient in discovering his potential (or even that he realizes he has future potential), that could go a really long way to showing how Peking really grows as a character.

    As the zoo’s only peachick, Peking struggles to see what makes him unique. He can’t swing like Monkey, waddle like Penguin or trumpet like Elephant – though he tries! [___________ (sentence about his growth).] And as Peking’s specialty finally surfaces, he becomes brighter and bolder than anyone could have ever imagined.

    Best wishes with this!

  8. Jeannette Suhr says:

    Thanks Eileen! You made a good point because I don’t want children to think that they can’t be accepted or loved as they are. And I do need to work on showing Peking’s growth along the way. I will be sure to address that in the story.
    And thank you for the pitch rewrite.

    Susanna, I am drooling over today’s recipe. I must make these cookies with my grandsons. Yum!!!

  9. robincurrie1 says:

    Yes – sounds like the Ugly Duckling in Full Technicolor! I would love to see him try to be a monkey or an elephant! In the Brookfield Zoo Chicago the peacocks wander freely and visit the animals in enclosures. Maybe that is true in all zoos. Otherwise I did wonder how the little fella gets out to roam around. I struggle with stories in which the changes are time driven without any help from the protagonist. Hope there is a some drama in his “Simple growing up.” There reality is for most kids, time is the answer, too! Best pitch wishes!

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thanks Robin! Yours is a great reminder to add more drama to Peking’s search for his raison d’etre. Our Denver and Colorado Springs zoos allow the peacocks to roam freely. It’s great to see one their animals not caged.

  10. palpbkids says:

    This does indeed remind me of the Brookfield Zoo that I so dearly remember from years ago.
    That said, books about the Zoo never get old. And Peking’s struggles and journey relate to young and old without getting old. Two win wins!. I agree the pitch could be condensed. Your beginning captures the style but then goes into telling.
    Think along this line: As the zoo’s only peachick, Peking struggles to see what makes him unique. He can’t swing like Monkey, waddle like Penguin or trumpet like Elephant . But, when Peking _____, he becomes brighter and bolder than anyone could have ever imagined.
    Best wishes!

  11. readmybook2002 says:

    Yes, I would read it. Peachicks are underutilized in PB. I can’t wait to see what the illustrator will create after reading the ways he/she tries to be like others. Agree with the others in trimming down. I’ve learned something too today.

    • Jeannette Suhr says:

      Thank you for your “yes” vote to read my PB. And thanks for also suggesting that the pitch be trimmed.

      Thanks, Susanna, for your Wednesday pitch opportunities. There’s always so much to learn about pitching and this is a great forum for it.

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