Would You Read It Wednesday #404 – There Was A Small Python Who Swallowed A Flea (PB)

Hi there, everyone!

I learned something new yesterday that I know you’re all going to wish you’d known sooner (please prepare yourselves):

It is illegal to stand within 90 meters of the Queen without socks on!

Am I the only one who didn’t know this?

I mean, how many times have I stood 89.5 meters from the Queen in bare feet? Or in my sandals with NO SOCKS?

It is a miracle I have never wound up in the royal dungeon!

As soon as I heard about this I knew I had to warn you. I hope I’m not too late to save you all from incarceration.

I’m really wondering, though, who exactly this is a problem for. Is the Palace overrun with barefoot people (or shod but sockless people) romping about in the presence of the Queen?

Do the guards at Buckingham Palace entertain themselves by daring each other not to wear socks and see if anyone notices? 😊

Maybe the Queen walks along their ranks each day and uses her walking stick to lift the hem of their pants and see if they’re wearing socks with their shoes of if those sneaky guys tried to break the law by putting their shoes onto bare feet!

But mostly I wonder who thought this was something that mattered enough to be a law? I can just imagine a bunch of gray-wigged heavy-jowled folks sitting around saying, “By George! We’ve just got to do something about all these sockless people cavorting willy-nilly in the Queen’s presence! It isn’t to be borne!”

And is this law all about respect for the Queen, or is this her way of making a public service announcement to encourage people to protect themselves against athlete’s foot?

These are the kinds of questions that occupy the minds of writers as we wonder, what if? The seeds of stories yet to come! I can see it now. A picture book called A Royal Case Of Athlete’s Foot 😊


When one is wrestling with these kinds of weighty questions, it is absolutely necessary to have Something Chocolate on hand, don’t you agree?

Since we’ve been talking about feet, how about some Bear Paw Cookies for our Something Chocolate? They’re so cute! And they might send our writerly minds down a whole ‘nother path. . . what if a bear was in the presence of the Queen without socks on? In bare/bear feet?! 🤣

Bear Paw Cookies

When you’ve finished enjoying your delicious Bear Paw cookies and pondering sockless feet, we can get down to business – pitches!

Today’s pitch comes to us from Kizzi. Kizzi once ran away with the circus and worked with elephants and tigers. Now she writes as much as she can, finds lots of inspiration from her family, and goes on adventures a little closer to home.

Find her on the web at:
Her Blog: www.threeshowsaturday.com
Instagram: @Kizmonster

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: There Was A Small Python Who Swallowed A Flea

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

The Pitch: There was a small python who swallowed a flea because it was small, but pythons need MORE after all. So small python swallows more and more things and grows and grows. As he grows, so does his appetite, and soon he’s swallowing everything in sight. After small python has swallowed, slithered, and slurped, a huge buuuurrrrppppp might just solve all his problems.

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 you answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Kizzi 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 menu bar above. There are openings in February, 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!

Kizzi is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to visiting the Queen! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

11 thoughts on “Would You Read It Wednesday #404 – There Was A Small Python Who Swallowed A Flea (PB)

  1. Jessica Hinrichs says:

    Susanna, you had me rolling with the Queen bit.🤣 Who knew such a law existed to shame those poor sock-less souls?! LOL!

    Kizzi—my honest response is Maybe. The plot sounds very similar to the plot of the old camp song, Herman the Worm. Since I already know that story, not sure if be overly inclined to read it. That said however, my preschooler, LOVES that story and thinks it is absolutely hilarious. So I might be willing to read it for his sake, and kids are the ones who matter the most here anyway, right? 😀 As far as the pitch, you mention the burp solving all python’s problems, but I’m wondering what those problems are. Maybe adding in more of the conflict or stakes to the pitch, might help a little. Just some thoughts. Take or leave! And I wish you the best!

  2. Katie Engen says:

    Lots of potential, especially for wordplay with a fractured/homage plot line. The small python needs a name (even if it’s cap letters e.g. Small Python). And what problems need solving? The appetite issue seems singular. Is it? Are there other things? Also, a python on an eating rampage may seem aggressive. Is the reader supposed to be rooting for or against him?

  3. readmybook2002 says:

    Maybe. It has the potential to go different ways depending on what he eats. Is it just food people/ python normally eat or is he outrageous in eating a coat rack, garbage cans, cell phone etc? Showing him with the outside shape of the object inside of him with clues so children can figure out what he ate provides some humor eg. What happens when he eats something that is unfamiliar to the reader. Is he a pet or wild?. I’m sure you have figured out many details of your story. Like the burp ending and can see the illustration of all he ate flying out of his mouth all at once; kids will keep track of what he ate throughout the story. Just an opinion. Good luck with the story.

  4. robincurrie1 says:

    Probably. I love the familiar story of swallowing things, but I have found it hard to get the rhythm and rhyme right. Get lost of folks to read aloud! Is there a reason other than greed the python continues. Is there a impetus for his final belch? Great story line! Have fun.

  5. ptnozell says:

    Susanna, thanks so much for brightening my day & enlightening me about the laws of the realm. Presuming that the law in question refers to THE Queen across the Pond, I have just one little correction to make: if the Queen lifts a pants leg, she could be seeing more than she should, as pants, in that part of the world, refers to what we colonists call underwear. Presumably, you mean trousers instead, as the royals have enough problems without a peeping Elizabeth controversy!

    Kizzi, I’m intrigued by your pitch. I agree with Katie, though, that you should include the Python’s name and give the reader a better idea of what problems need solving so they can empathize more with Python’s plight.

  6. rosecappelli says:

    Maybe. This story has the potential for lots of humorous scenes but I’m left wondering what they are. A few more details of what exactly the python eats could strengthen the pitch. I agree with others about letting the reader in on what exactly the probem is. Give a little more in the pitch and I could easily become a Yes. Good luck with this! It has lots of potential to be a winner.

  7. Patti Ranson (@RansonPatti) says:

    Kizzi I’m a maybe. Have you heard the kids’ common rhyme/song “Herman The Worm’? Your pitch reminds me of this. With this in mind, I believe your ending is too predictable. Editors prefer a surprise ending. I agree with the above writer’s suggestions about exposing your character’s name and adding a few funny details.
    If you decide to switch it up a bit, another direction that you could explore: Python eats some things that he doesn’t like and just spits them out – lots of kids do this and might make it relatable? Good luck with this!
    Signed Patti, wearing just slippers, no socks but nowhere near her royal highness!

  8. TL Fales (@TlFales) says:

    I am a yes. This seems to me reminiscent of The Very Hungry Caterpillar – he eats because he is hungry and growing. My main question is whether or not this story is in rhyme. The first line of your pitch doesn’t rhyme where I expect it to (e.g. he swallowed a flea because it was small) but it does rhyme small and afterall, If you follow the rhythm and rhyme of the original I would like to see that in the pitch, but if you don’t I think you should leave out rhyme entirely. I would also like to know what problem the burp solves. Good luck!

  9. seschipper says:

    I think python has lots of potential, Kizzi. A few tweaks, several were mentioned above, would definitely help. For example, check rhyming elements if you are considering rhyme. Perhaps give Python a name. The young readers will enjoy the “burp”! Good Luck!! 🙂

  10. Kizzi says:

    Hello all! Thank you for your comments 🙂 I will definitely be able to revamp my pitch with the suggestions here. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  11. horsewriterlady says:

    There are so many books out there with the theme of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed…that I would be afraid to tackle writing one. So you are very brave to try!
    Have you read ONE DAY IN THE EUCALYPTUS, EUCALYPTUS TREE? That book is also with a snake who eats everything, and at the end…burps! So just be sure that your story is different in the telling and maybe the ending. You want it to stand out from the others.
    Good luck with your story!

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