Would You Read It Wednesday # 410 – Remmy’s Sticky Situation (PB)

It’s Wednesday! Let’s wind up for the pitch!

But first. . .

If you spend any time around kids, you have no doubt been challenged to a variety of tongue twisters. My sister and I had two favorites when we were kids: “toy boat” and “rubber baby buggy bumper” ((say either of them at least 3 times fast!)

But the most recent one I got challenged to (which I can barely say 1 time without messing up 😊) is “Irish wristwatch, Swiss wristwatch” Go on! I dare you!

It’s hard, right?! 😊

So, if you’re casting about for a writing prompt today, why not have a go at writing something with tongue twisters? Dr. Seuss did it. You can, too!

I think it’s actually kind of a cool exercise, since it makes you really think about the sounds in words – something we care a lot about here in kidlit 😊

Here’s Something Chocolate to get you fueled up and ready to write – Cookie Dough Fudge! Looks scrumptious, doesn’t it?

Cookie Dough Fudge

Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to write a story full of tongue twisters about cookie dough fudge 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Cindy. Cindy is a kidlit writer, graphic designer, kid at heart, and lover of all things chocolate. She works full time in marketing but writing for kids is her happy place. She is also a member of the Write2Ignite Conference team (write2ignite.com) which offers virtual workshops for children’s writers and her website is cindylynnsawyer.net.

Find her on the web at:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Remmy’s Sticky Situation

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

The Pitch: When Remmy raccoon’s cotton candy disappears, he blames his friends. But he finds himself in a sticky situation when he discovers the real reason for the mystery. Has he lost his best buds forever? How can Remmy show his friends that he is truly sorry?

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 Cindy 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 as soon as next week (April 27), so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Cindy is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to seeing if I can figure out a story that has been percolating in my mind for about 2 weeks. . . I hope I can get it on paper, and I hope I love it when it gets there! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #409 – Little Camper’s Not-So-Big Adventure (PB) PLUS So Many Pitch Winners!

Howdy, Friends!

Here’s a little puzzler for first thing in the morning.

April is a big birthday month in my family, which prompts discussions of how likely it is people’s birthdays will land on Easter. I am well aware of the deep and important meaning of Easter and do not make light of it, but let’s face it: for kids it’s all about getting birthday presents AND jelly beans in the same day 😊

I googled a bit, but was quickly sent scurrying back to my rightful place by Scary Math. So, as is appropriate, I’m going anecdotal.

My dad’s birthday has been on Easter 3 times: 1962, 1973, and 1984. Perhaps Easter dates move in 11 year cycles? (How’s that for deductive reasoning? Take that, Scary Math!)

One of my daughters’ birthday has never fallen on Easter for her, but will in 2031. (I will not say how old she’s going to be because it is not polite to tell a lady’s age 😊)

My niece’s birthday is April Fool’s Day and her birthday landed on Easter in 2018 when she turned 14, and will again in 2029 and 2040. (There are those 11s again!) My nephew’s birthday fell on Easter 2 years before he was born when it wasn’t his birthday yet and isn’t due to land on that date again until 2066 when he will be 62 years old!

I, as you know, am extremely ancient, and yet my birthday has only landed on Easter once, the year I turned 9.

My deductions, based on the anecdotal evidence cited above, (and just try to stay with me on this because I know math and science simply aren’t for everyone and you should just not feel bad if your mind has a hard time with the acrobatic feats demonstrated by mine!), is that my next Easter birthday will be whenever Easter feels like it 😊

There will be extra credit for anyone who can guess the dates of my Dad’s, daughter’s, nephew’s, and my birthdays. The cat’s already out of the bag on my niece’s 🤣🤣

Now that I’ve limbered you up with mental calisthenics, let’s do a little celebrating, shall we? I am thrilled to announce the pitch winners that you all voted on last week! Woo hoo!!!

The Pitch Winners are . . . .

September 2021 – Hannah – The Good Wolf (PB 4-8)

October 2021 – Robin – I Am The Zookeeper (PB 3-7)

November/December 2021 – Melissa – Don’t Even Think About Lions! (PB 4-8)

January 2022 – Patti – Dragon Is Out Of Here (PB 4-8)

Congratulations, Hannah, Robin, Melissa, and Patti! Great job! Your pitches have already been sent to editor Erin Molta and I’m sure she will reply with her comments as soon as she can! We have a lot of Straight From The Editors to look forward to!

Congratulations to all our other pitchers, too! You all did a fabulous job presenting your pitches and then taking the feedback offered by our wonderful readers and using it to revise and improve. I hope everyone feels like a winner because I think you all ended up with stronger pitches!

I appreciate everyone who steps up to share because it gives all of us a chance to learn and improve our skills! So, thank you all!

All that math and excitement has rendered me slightly faint, so I think it’s time for Something Chocolate! Don’t these Easter Blossom Cookies (or Spring Blossom if you don’t celebrate Easter) look delicious? So springy! And, more importantly, so delightfully chocolate in the middle! 😊

Recipe HERE at Crayons and Cravings

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Deborah. Deborah Foster is a mother, an architectural drafter, and a fantastic cook. She is a member of 12×12, Inked Voices, and SCBWI. She is always looking for more writing friends on Twitter. Follow her @DeborahClaytonF or check out her blog at www.deborahfosterbooks.com.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Little Camper’s Not-so-big Adventure

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

The Pitch: Little Camper can’t wait for her first big adventure! Will it be the Grand Canyon? Roaring Niagara Falls? When Little Camper’s first adventure bounces down dusty back roads to the Apron Museum, she’s ashamed to recount her travels to the other campers. But after a hurry-to-the-next-stop trip, Little Camper realizes that bumpy back roads and odd attractions might just be the perfect adventures for her.   

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 Deborah 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 immediately, so you could get your pitch up next week if you want for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Deborah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to Easter weekend! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #408 – The Cottonwood Stars (PB)

Hi Everyone!

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday where we’re all about practicing, polishing, and perfecting pitches!

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

First, a fortifying snack, Something Chocolate which isn’t exactly chocolate today 😊 Since we had chocolate cake yesterday for our impromptu giveaway winner celebration party, and since it’s practically Valentine’s Day, and since this cake is SO pretty, I’m departing from the norm and serving Valentine’s Day Cheesecake! (And it does have chocolate crust! 😊)

That just looks like four layers of heaven, doesn’t it? YUM! Dig in!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Mary Beth who says, “I am a debut picture book author from Nebraska, blessed with four children who have given me more story material than I could ever use. I have been learning how to write picture books with the help of the wonderful writing community through SCBWI, 12 x 12, and the amazing authors like you with your informative and encouraging websites. 

When I am not making Jam (Covid stress reliever?!) I am a retreat facilitator and am trying to build more and more pockets of time to write.” 

I can be found online at:
Instagram @mbwallarice
Twitter @mbwallarice
Facebook..Mary Beth Rice
http://thevillagejoymaker.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Cottonwood Stars

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8) (or maybe 5-9?)

The Pitch: Hattie shares the wonder of the Cottonwood tree with her brother near their Gram’s garden. In snip, snap, snapping the tree twigs in half, actual stars are revealed! Later that evening, Hattie makes a new discovery: Her heart is still linked to Gram’s through the stars in tree and sky. THE COTTONWOOD STARS encourages healing through the power of nature. 

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 Mary Beth 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 is an opening February 23 and March is open too, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Mary Beth is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to the Valentiny Writing Contest (guidelines HERE if you’re interested in writing an entry!) which opens in 2 days!!! I can’t wait to read everyone’s entries!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #407 – Daphne’s Dress Code Dilemma (PB)

What a day! It’s Groundhog Day AND Would You Read It Wednesday AND World Read Aloud Day!

Since I wrote this post ahead of time, I don’t have Phyllis’s prediction for you, but I know what she’s hoping for 😊 I’ll give you a hint: it involves flowers 💐🌼🌷🌻🌹🌸🌺

She and I have a busy day, so we’re just going to jump right in and fortify ourselves with some fancy, fun, groundhog-friendly chocolate! Won’t you join us? We have a choice! Groundhog Day Cupcakes and Groundhog Day No Bake Cookies!

Groundhog Day Cupcakes & Groundhog Day No Bake Cookies

Recipes HERE at Fork and Beans

Please help yourselves to either or both. I mean, really, you should probably try both to see which one you like best 😊😊😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Helen. Helen is a Texas transplant living in beautiful Richmond, VA with her husband and two children.  When she is not writing and dreaming of engaging picture book ideas, she works as a medical provider with refugees and immigrants. 

Website: www.readhelentanner.com; IG and Twitter @readhelentanner ; LinkedIn: helenltanner

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Daphne’s Dress Code Dilemma

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

The Pitch: It’s first grade…
Daphne’s new school requires sneakers.
She refuses to wear them.
What’s a bold fashionista to do when her individuality is threatened by everyday rules?
With her big brother’s help, Daphne learns that embracing change can be wildly fun in DAPHNE’S DRESS CODE DILEMMA.

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 Helen 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 February 9 and 23, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Helen is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to visiting classrooms full of kids to share Fun With Phyllis! 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #406 – The Alley Cat Chronicles: Mr. Boots, Book 1(CB)

It’s Would You Read It Wednesday again, my friends!

And speaking of Would You Read It, what a glorious week in children’s publishing it is when the ALA Awards are announced – a whole BUNCH of books you’re definitely going to want to read! For the full list (in case you haven’t seen it already) click HERE.

So many books and not enough reading time . . !

I think I need Something Chocolate to munch on while I decide which one to read first 😊 It seems like just the right kind of day for fudgy chocolate brownie cookies loaded with extra chocolate chips . . . or fancied up for Valentine’s Day with Valentine M&Ms! . . . don’t you think?

Best Brownie Cookies

Now then, if you can manage to read and type without getting too much chocolate on your keyboard, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Reed who says, “I am a Registered Psychotherapist during the day and am a kidlit writer by night. I have MS in PB, CB and GN in various stages of development. I live in Toronto, Canada with my hubby, sticky humans and the real Mr Boots and Sassy (aka Boots and Mittens)”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: reedandwriteki1
Website: reedandnicolebooks.ca

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Alley Cat Chronicles: Mr. Boots, Book 1

Age/Genre: Chapter Book (advanced) (ages 7-9)

The Pitch: Cocky housecat Mr. Boots, meets street-wise Sassy, and between them, they have one competent alley cat and it’s not Mr. Boots.

A tomcat, Mr. Boots, claims to be an “expert” of the streets despite a life lived indoors; the small sticky humans, dry clunky kibble, and stinky cramped litter box. When he finally slips away to chase his dreams – and some birds- he discovers that life outside is harder than it looked through the window. To help him learn the ways of the alley, a feisty street cat Sassy, his long-lost kid sister, who can out-hunt and out-climb him steps up. Mr. Boots must accept he is in over his ears and hightail it home or dig in his claws and let Sassy teach him the ways of the streets.

This is the first in a series of chapter books called THE ALLEY CAT CHRONICLES. The series will follow the adventures of Mr. Boots and Sassy and their alley-cat crew as they navigate living on the streets. The books will touch upon themes such as exploring the unfamiliar, facing one’s fears, discovering new cultures and trying new things. The series will keep readers young and old engaged through laugh-out-loud humour.

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 Reed 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 February 9 and 23, as well as in March, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on my editor Erin Molta!

Reed is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to choosing one of those award-winning books and settling down with chocolate cookies to feel cozy being indoors while it’s sub-zero outside. . . right after I freeze myself doing barn chores 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #405 – The Paper Route (MG)

Hello, my friends!

Welcome to another exciting installment of Would You Read It Wednesday!

Let’s begin with a Fun Fact that might spark a story idea for you. . . so that you can have a turn on Would You Read It with a pitch for your brand new story sometime soon!

Did you know that porcupines can float? It’s true! North American porcupines are good swimmers and their hollow quills help them float. Also, just so you know in case you ever run into one, porcupines will stamp their feet and grunt a warning before they charge. You should probably mention that to your dog so they know when it’s time to beat a hasty retreat! 😊 I think it’s important that porcupines get some stories written about them that do not involve their prickliness. I think there’s an opportunity here for a superhero porcupine story, a quill-raising rescue involving AquaPorc. . . 😊

While we think about porcupine stories, let’s have Something Chocolate. It is scientifically proven the world over (okay, well, anecdotally-proven at Casa Hill) that chocolate promotes creativity, so let’s have some Cosmic Brownies!

Cosmic Brownies

Yum! Don’t you feel the explosion of creativity already, just from looking at that luscious, delightfully festive chocolate treat?! I knew you would! 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jessica who says, “I usually write picture books, but I’ve recently delved into middle-grade territory as well. I’m looking for feedback on whether this pitch piques interest before I get too far into it. Thanks!”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessHinrichs
Blog: https://jessicahinrichs.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Paper Route

Age/Genre: MG Magical Realism (ages 10-14)

The Pitch: Grace takes over the neighborhood paper route, only to discover that the papers magically reveal her neighbors’ secrets and wishes. When Grace learns that she is able to grant these wishes, she desperately needs the advice of her trusted friend, Miss Maisy. But, Miss Maisy died two years ago. How could she possibly help? As Grace comes to grips with reality, will she be able to grant one last wish—her own—before it’s too late?

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 Jessica 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 my editor Erin Molta!

Jessica is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to Cosmic Brownies and The Adventures of AquaPorc 😊😊😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

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 😊

Wow!

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!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday # 403 – Dragon Is Out Of Here (PB)

Darlings!

Happy 2022!

And welcome back to my little corner of the blogosphere and Would You Read It!

I hope you all had wonderful holidays full of love and family and celebration and other good things!

I think it’s important to bring it to your attention that today is National Whipped Cream Day. I believe we can all agree that everything is better with whipped cream on it since people put it on everything from fruit to hot chocolate to pancakes and waffles. And I feel in my bones that there is a picture book in the idea of putting whipped cream on things that don’t normally get chosen for the honor. Elephants? Circus tents? Teachers? Pets? Jumbo jets? Sand castles? The moon? A giant striped hot air balloon? Seems like the sky’s the limit! Or maybe how you might make whipped cream if you didn’t have any cream. . . or a traditional way to whip it. . .😊 A little something to get you thinking and maybe help you out on your idea for the day if you’re doing Tara Lazar’s Storystorm this month!

A little Something Chocolate would most certainly fuel our creativity. How about some Peanut Butter Chocolate Half Moons?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Half Moons

Delicious and nutritious! Looks like breakfast to me! 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Patti who says, “I’m a part-time teacher, looking to make it big and see my name in lights! Just kidding, looking to insert a little humour into a book in a child’s hands 😊”

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: Ransonpatti
Instagram: ransonpatti

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dragon Is Out Of Here

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

The Pitch: Dragon is out of here, leaving his ‘same old’ book and flying off to find a better spot in one of the other books on his shelf. But the grass isn’t any greener with the Big Bad Wolf, the Old Woman in the Shoe, or Sleeping Beauty. After a close call with Old MacDonald, Dragon rediscovers his own story where he can fly, breathe fire, and be his true self.

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 Patti 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 my editor Erin Molta!

Patti is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch! I am looking forward to what ideas I will think up for Storystorm – always such a great way to start the year!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

The 2021 Holiday Contest Finalists Are HERE! Vote For Your Favorite!!!

Darlings!

This is no time for play!
This is no time for fun!
This is no time for games!
There is voting to be done! (just go with it and pretend voting is only one syllable 😊)
or
There are prizes to be won! (no, that doesn’t work either, although it’s true!)

Maybe we should go with:

Every writer
in Bookville
liked contests a lot. . .
But the judges
who judged all the entries
did NOT!
(although to be fair, we love the contests and we love reading the entries, we just hate having to cut them to get down to 12!)

The point is, we have done our valiant best to come up with 12 finalists (and let me tell you, it was a Herculean task!) and the time has come for you to read the entries that made the finals, choose your favorite, and vote for it!

Normally, I’d waste a little time with tomfoolery, but it’s been a desperate few days (and nights) of entry judging, which means not always paying as close attention to the puppy as I should, which means there is carpet steam-cleaning to be done. (Maybe I should have found a way to finish up my little stanza with that!)

So let’s just get right to it!

I know these entries are a little longer than the Halloweensie ones, so I truly thank you for taking the time to read through them and vote for your favorite. You won’t be sorry. They are all fabulous and I know you’ll enjoy them!

I will say THANK YOU to everyone who wrote an entry, took time to read other people’s entries and leave supportive comments, shared the contest with friends and family so that all our talented writers could get more readers, is taking the time now to read and vote, and who generally helped to make the contest so much fun, but I’m going to skip reiterating the judging criteria (you can check for it HERE) and save all my usual difficulty-of-choosing stuff for the winners post on Friday so you can get right to the entries!

Please read through the following 12 entries and vote for your favorite in the poll below by Thursday December 16 at 7PM Eastern so I can announce the winners on Friday! As always, I encourage you to share today’s link everywhere you want so that as many people as possible can read these stories and vote, but please do not attempt to influence the voting in any way. It is supposed to be based on merit, not on who can get the most people to come vote for their entry because they’re your friends and relations or they owe you for that time you babysat their kids 😊 If you’re a finalist, please don’t broadcast that on social media – just ask people to come read all the entries and vote for their favorite.

So here we go! Your 12 Finalists for

The 11th Annual Holiday Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

1 –

2 – Phoebe’s Snowperson

Outside the city library, a flier flits in the wind. “Snowperson Contest!” it announces, catching Phoebe’s eye. She reads:

Kids, let’s spread a little cheer
and deck the library halls
with handmade “snow”-people
who won’t melt like snowballs!

The prize? Free popsicles at the pool this summer.

“Yes, please!” Phoebe exclaims.

Phoebe hurries toward home, her imagination firing with every step. What can she use to build a snowman? Perhaps she should create a snowgirl? How much glitter does she have? Is there any white paint in the garage?

“Hi, Mom! Bye, Mom!” Phoebe yells and dashes to her room. It might be December, but she can practically taste the watermelon-cherry-coconut flavors of summertime.

But when Phoebe starts to gather materials, she feels doubtful. She looks at the pillows scattered about and wonders how she’ll make a snowperson that stands up—and stands out.

Phoebe starts to hum an old song about a snowman who came to life. “He had a magical hat!” she recalls and races to her closet.

Then she remembers a story about snowmen’s nighttime adventures and another about a silly snowman in a hot tub. She smiles.

“The snowmen are in my books. What if my books are my snowman?”

Phoebe lays a chapter book flat with the pages facing out. She stacks on a fat collection of fairy tales and then some tattered picture books. Before long, a snowman built out of stories stares back at her.

“Perfection,” Phoebe whispers.

3 – A CHRISTMAS PICKLE STORY

Sentimental ornaments
trim our tree high to low,
but Christmas Eve tradition calls
for one to steal the show.

Dad dons a scruffy Santa hat
and gathers us around.
“I’ve picked the pickle’s hiding spot!
It’s waiting to be found.”

“Dance! Prance! Blitz and dash!
All may search until
the finder claims the first gift and
the title of ‘Big Dill’.”

Grammy prods each shimmery bough.
Mom browses round and through.
Baby pulls off ornaments
(to get a better view).

I snug myself beneath a branch
to peer up from the bottom.
A glint of green. A clumpy curve.
Yes! I think. I got ’em.

I pluck the pickle from its place,
eager to claim my prize,
then notice Dad off to the side
with sparkle in his eyes.

His festive fuss for all of us
makes everybody grin.
It doesn’t seem to bother him
that he will never win.

I put the pickle back, but shift
it where no one will see.
Then grumble, “Oh by golly, there’s
no pickle on this tree!”

“Ho ho, oh? Check near the stump–”
That’s when Dad’s eyes meet mine.
I toss a wink and, in a blink,
Dad’s rummaging through pine.

He tugs back on a tree skirt bump
revealing what I’d done.
The pickle found, I quickly cheer,
“Gosh, Dad, looks like you’ve won!”

He wraps us all up in a hug
and whispers in my ear,
“You can have the first gift because
I’ve got mine right here.”

4 – SIMPLY THE BEST

Christmas was Maise’s favorite time of year.
Awe-inspiring. Wonderful. Magical.
Simply the best.
Maise wanted to be awe-inspiring, wonderful and magical, too.

Maise entered the Gingerbread House Decorating Contest.
Her house had icing and gumdrops!
Sprinkles and sparkles!
It even had an entire reindeer family reunion!
“It’s very…. creative,” said the judges.
But, Catalina won with a classic design.
“Awe-inspiring,” Maise told her.

Maise entered the Holiday Baking Contest.
Peppermint sticks!
Mocha melts!
Orange and ginger shortbread!
“Quite the variety,” observed the judges.
But Lester won with his Yule Log cake.
“Wonderful,” said Maise, licking her lips.

Maise entered the Ice Skating Contest.
Wearing a very sparkly leotard,
she skated forward!
And backward!
She even did a twirl!
But Jozef had a routine that was…well…
“Magical,” admired Maise.

Maise smiled.
She hadn’t won any ribbons but it had still been a delightful day.

“We have one last ribbon to award,” announced the judges.
“The award for the Most Holiday Spirit goes to…
Maise!”
“Awesome,” said Catalina.
“Wonderful,” said Lester.
“Magical,” smiled Jozef.
And to Maise, it was simply the best.

5 – SO YOU THINK YOU CAN PRANCE

“Places, Rudolph. Jump in line.”
(That’s me! Contestant #9.)

“Welcome back to North Pole Live:
‘So You Think You Can Prance,’ season five.
I’m your host, the famous Prancer.
Please welcome back our champion dancer!
He’s shimmied chimneys—Seoul to Atlanta:
the man, the myth, the legend—SANTA!”

Santa’s back? Last season’s best!
His reindeer too? I should’ve guessed.
Dasher coasts. Dancer whirls.
(Prancer hosts.) Vixen twirls.
Comet? She was born a star.
Cupid is on point, so far.
Donner brings the beat, the boom.
Blitzen’s jig ignites the room.
Maybe I’ll sit out this year.
With four left hooves, I’m bottom tier.

Eight contestants soar. I sink.
They float. I flail. They curve. I kink.
They sway. I swoop. They strut. I stop.
They spring. I sprawl. They dip. I drop.
Showing off, they’re busting moves,
I spin and—
SPLAT.
I’ve busted hooves!

“Oh, DEAR!” I hear.
Yes, I’m aware—
my spill was broadcast on the air.
The crimson of my well-known nose
extends until my body glows.
Someone whispers, “not a dancer.”
Reindeer snicker—even Prancer!
“Can klutzy caribous compete?”
My antlers shrink. My legs retreat.

Halfway out the door, I hear,
“Rudolph! I need YOU this year!
Ho-ho-ho! That grit! That glow!
Prancer, change my choreo’:
Substitute those samba mixes.
No more formal foxtrot fixes.
Rudi’s riffs will spark my set—
a glow-in-the-dark-breakdance duet!”

*North Pole Live rewrote its jingle
to feature Ru’ and Kris-Kross-Kringle,
the prime-time prancing pair sensation,
who tours one eve—to every nation.

6 – Cinder-Latke

Cinder-Latke puts down her scrub brush and reads a letter on the kitchen table.

—EVERYONE INVITED TO ROYAL PALACE HANUKKAH PARTY—

—Prince Nudnik Will Wed Latke-Making Contest Winner—

Cinder-Latke sighs. “I wish I could go like Pishka and Kishka, my stepsisters—”

Pink lightning FLASHES—

A puff of smoke morphs into Fairy-Godmother Yenta. “—and you will!”

Yenta waves her wand—

Cinder-Latke rides in a gold carriage wearing a sparkling diamond-studded gown.

“The spell ends at midnight.” Yenta grins. “Have fun!”

At the palace, all the princess-wannabes cook potato-pancakes like crazy.

Finally, Prince Nudnik tastes Cinder-Latke’s latke. “It’s perfection—I love you!”

The tower clock chimes midnight—Cinder-Latke flees.

Next morning, Prince Nudnik searches every house in the kingdom.

“Ugh!” He spits out Pishka’s latke and gags on Kishka’s. “One’s heavier than lead and the other tastes like moldy sweat-socks.”

An irresistible aroma tickles Prince Nudnik’s nose, luring him into the kitchen.

Cinder-Latke flips her latke onto a dish. “I knew you’d come.”

Prince Nudnik, drooling, bites into the latke. “Heavenly—” He sinks to one knee and whips out a ring with a gleaming latke-sized diamond. “Please, be my Latke-Princess!”

Cinder-Latke’s eyelashes flutter. “Sure, why not?”

Cinder-Latke and Prince Nudnik wed on the eighth night of Hanukkah and dance the hora around the menorah.

After the honeymoon, they open a restaurant—

—PRINCESS CINDER-LATKE’S LATKE PALACE—

—and dine on latkes happily ever after!

(Pishka and Kishka become fabulously wealthy businesswomen selling their latkes as cannonballs and bug-repellent.)

7 – Christmas…by a Nose

Newspapers trumpeted!
Radios blared!
Cable news cried in alarm!
BIG CARROT SHORTAGE REPORTED TODAY:
CHAOS ERUPTS ON CLAUS FARM

And, indeed, Claus was troubled.
Perplexed, some might say.
To friends, he appeared worried sick.
(This was Sam Claus, who harvested just up the way
from his jollier brother, Old Nick.)

Christmas was coming,
And, with it, Claus knew,
The first of the season’s big snows.
But if carrots were lacking,
Joy would fade quick…
For no snowman could count on a nose!

Assistance was needed—
“A contest!” Claus thought.
No sense in lazing about.
“A trophy” he called. “To the barnyard friend here
Who can find the best substitute snout!”

“An apple!” said Horse.
(Goat and Donkey agreed.)
“It’s festive and rosy to boot.”
“But it’s round,” Claus reminded,
“And, also, it’s red. A not-at-all carrot-like fruit.”

“Maybe corn?” piped up Chicken.
“Oh, yes!” Pig enthused.
“I’ve got a few corncobs right here.”
“Not bad,” Claus conceded.
“A veggie, it’s true. But we need a good nose, not an ear.”

“’Wait, wait!” squeaked a voice. “Down here, take a look!
May I share my idea with you, please?
You need something pointy and orange-ish, and so…
Why not try wedges of cheese?”

“Yes, CHEESE!” Claus applauded. “A trophy for Mouse!
Or perhaps a large crumb would be better.
And while we’re addressing the subject of snacks:
…do we know if the reindeer like cheddar?”

8 – TREE NUMBER NINE

Sofie could barely contain her excitement. Today was Noel Knob’s first ever Christmas Tree Decorating Contest!

She had been gathering decorations for weeks —

Berries from the holly bush next door.

Strings of garland strung with white, fluffy popcorn.

Bows made from leftover ribbon.

She packed everything in her backpack and headed to the town square. 

There, evergreen trees lined the lawn. The smell of fir, spruce, and pine tickled her nose.

At the sign-in table, Sofie was assigned tree number 9.

She got right to work — a bow here, berries there, garland wrapped around and around, and a big pinecone right on top!

Proudly, she stood beside her tree. But soon her shoulders sagged.

Around her, trees twinkled with tiny lights, dazzled with store-bought decorations, and on top of each tree was a shining star.

She glanced at the ceramic teapot on the prize table and felt her hopes evaporating like steam.

Zipping up her bag, Sofie headed home. 

Behind her, the judges were ready to announce the winners. 

“Third place goes to… Tree 21, for most decorations!”

Everyone clapped. Sofie kept walking.

“Second place goes to… Tree 7 for most sparkly!”

Everyone cheered. Sofie kept walking.

“And first place goes to… Tree 9 for most creative!”

Everyone celebrated. Stunned, Sofie hurried to the stage.

“Which prize would you like?”

“The teapot, please.”

When she got home, Sofie carefully wrapped the teapot in red and green paper. 

Then, she filled out the gift tag —

To Mom
From Sofie
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

9 – A CREATURE WAS STIRRING

Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the house,
Every creature was stirring,
including, Wee Mouse.
Stirring and blending, creating sweet treats
for a contest to see which ones Santa will eat.
“Don’t even bother,” said Pup. “He’ll choose mine.”
“I don’t think so,” purred Kit. “Because mine are divine.”
But Wee Mouse said nothing. Her movements were nimble
as she tossed her ingredients into a thimble.
She had flour in her whiskers, some dough on her nose,
and a drop of molasses had dripped on two toes.
She placed all her cookies in a minuscule sack,
climbed up to the table then…UH OH! Fell back!
The cookies all crumbled except for one bite.
“I’ve barely a taste for Santa tonight!”
Wee Mouse dried her tears, climbed back up to the platter,
feeling her one little morsel must matter.
“It’s totally tiny,” said Pup. “Not ornate.
Santa will think it’s a crumb on the plate.
Mine have fun sprinkles on top of red icing.”
Kit purred, “That brown dot? Well, it’s just not enticing.”
Wee Mouse ignored them and went straight to bed,
exhausted yet hopeful for what lay ahead.
Christmas morning she woke to a gift and a note.
She opened it up to see what Santa wrote:
“Dear Wee Mouse, My thanks for your cookie so sweet.
It was far and away my favorite treat.
And the thing that I think set it so far above
all the rest was your secret ingredient—LOVE!”

10 – BEAR’S CHRISTMAS COOKIE

Of all the holiday traditions, Bear’s favourite was the cookie decorating contest. Hedgehog always won. This year Bear was determined to beat him. He’d been planning his cookie for months.

The animals lined up with their cookies displayed. The crows approached. They were notoriously picky judges. They started with Rabbit.

Rabbit had decorated his cookie with a garden of sugar spun carrots and roses.

Badger had created a glittering forest of silver and gold gumdrops and candy cane stars.

Hedgehog had outdone himself. On his cookie, he’d crafted a miniature ice-rink with tiny skaters, each holding cups of hot cocoa. You could even see the marshmallows.

Bear was last. The Crows approached his cookie. Their black eyes widened. Towering above them was layer upon layer of icing, chocolate, candy cane, marshmallows, toffee, sprinkles, sugar plums, and whipped cream. At the top, they could just make out a Christmas angel spinning in the wind.

“Did I win?” asked Bear.

Suddenly the cookie began to wobble. It leaned one way. It leaned the other.

“Look out!” cried the judges.

SPAAAALOOSH!!!!

Every inch of fur, feathers, and forest was drenched in icing, chocolate, whipped cream, and candy. The angel landed on someone’s head. Badger licked sprinkles off his coat. Rabbit brushed marshmallows from his nose into his mouth. Hedgehog wiped icing out of his eyes. He licked his paws with gusto.

“Actually,” he said, “I think we all won!” And that day they all enjoyed the most glorious candy feast, thanks to Bear.

11 – A Miscalculation

*Attention all children!
Come out in the snow
And bring all your shovels and gear
Join in the sport,
And build your best fort
For the holiday contest this year!*

We dig and we pat
We scoop and we splat
To build the best fortress of all
No torrent of snow,
No, nothing they throw
Will knock down our unyielding wall!

Two towering turrets
Three tactical windows
Four bunkers built into the floor
Snowballs piled high,
Stacked up to the sky
There must be two hundred or more!

We hold up a finger
So that we can tell
Which direction the cold wind is blowing
We take up our stance,
They don’t stand a chance
Let’s get this tournament going!

Whoosh, whoosh, THUD, THUD
Oh no, wait a minute!
We should have seen this from the start
The snowballs we chuck
Don’t have any luck—
Our snow forts are too far apart!

12 – THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS STAR

Last year? Measly fifth. Year before? Pitiful fifteenth.
But THIS year? I’ll capture the winning star for the Interstellar Christmas Tree Contest!
For 11 months, I’ve studied, analyzed, and scrutinized all things stars.
Nothing will stop me. Nothing will slow me down.
NOTH—
“Dagan,” says Mom, “this year, your sister joins.”
“But MO-OM!” I yelp.
“My two star-chasers—or nothing,” Mom says.
Rest of the week, I lecture Daphne on the fine art of star-catching.
For Daphne, my lessons are a fine time to nap.
I demonstrate proper blaze-proof glove attire.
Daphne proves gloves go on ears, too.
We practice swooping and swirling our star nets.
Daphne tangles her net into one big knot.
Sigh.
On Christmas Eve, we load gloves and nets into our Lunar Rocket 3000 and take off.
“Sit still and be quiet,” I say. Daphne’s head droops.
Just past the moon, I spy the perfect star! It glitters and flickers and zooms around our rocket.
But it’s too fast.
Can’t. Quite. Catch. It.
“Dagie!” says Daphne. She shuts her eyes. I do the same. The star thinks we’re napping! It slows down.
Daphne hangs gloves on her ears. The twirling star stops and giggles.
We tie our two nets with a knot. Together, we extend the oversize net and scoop up the twinkling light.
On Christmas morning, we place our winning star atop the Interstellar Christmas Tree.
“Next year,” I say to Daphne, “let’s enter the Christmas Ginger-Planet Contest! Together.”
Daphne’s face beams.
“Merry Christmas, Dagie!”

WOW!

Now YOU get to enjoy the agony of decision as you try to choose which of those amazing entries to vote for!

Please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 7PM EST Thursday December 16th.

Tune in Friday December 17th to see THE WINNERS!!! – same bat time, same bat station 😊

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

I truly cannot wait to see who you choose as the winner!  Good luck!!! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #402 – The Adventures Of Ricky And Flash: Escape From The City (CB)

Welcome to the last Would You Read It Wednesday of 2021!

By this time next week, we’ll be all-in on the Holiday Contest, and that will pretty much keep us occupied until school is out and we’re all up to our ears in holiday prep, travel, family and friend get-togethers, baking, cooking, and wrapping…all with kids underfoot 😊 Busy and wild, but just the best, isn’t it?

In order to fuel up for all that, I think we’d better get right to Something Chocolate! I don’t think we can go wrong with Caramel Mocha Nutella Brownies!

Caramel Mocha Nutella Brownies

Ooey-gooey-chocolatey goodness! Make some for yourself, make some to give as holiday gifts, sample all of them 😊 Yum! Yum!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Emily who says, “I am a physical therapist, writer, rock climber, and animal lover – yes, even rats! (They’re really not so bad. Google ‘cute rat pictures’… aww!) I usually write picture books, but inspired by my pets’ antics, I figured it was time to try my hand at a chapter book series. I had a blast writing the first book, and best of all, I didn’t have to watch the Word Count box tick upwards with a feeling of dread! Thank you so much for your feedback on the pitch! Find me on Twitter @emilydurwrites”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Adventures Of Ricky And Flash: Escape From The City

Age/Genre: ChapterBook (ages 7-9)

The Pitch: After double-crossing Slick, the street-hardened stray cat who rules the alleyways, city rats Ricky and Flash race to leave New York City before they get caught. But where will they go? The brothers have never known anything but city life, and country living comes with its own perils! They try to make a home at Wild Down Farm, but just like in the city… cats rule. When two kittens get trapped, Ricky and Flash have a decision to make—help out the fearsome barn cat who has been stalking them or walk away from both the kittens and their new life on the farm.

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 Emily 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 could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Emily is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to baking some ginger cookies because, you know, it’s important to give the oven a warm-up and let it practice a little before the full work of holiday baking begins! Otherwise it might pull a muscle or something 😊

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊