February 15, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday - The 27th Pitch

Those of you who have been around the blog for a while know that I live in the wilderness.  You may have seen my posts on Mexican stand-offs with deer, and our run-ins with the bear #1 and #2.

So it will come as no surprise to you that I am being stalked by a masked marauder.  Apparently our unseasonably warm winter has confused it into thinking our garage is a raccoon hotel and he is entitled to stay as long as he likes and order room service.  Do I look like I'm offering room service?
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Now, I don't know how much time you guys spend around raccoons, but they are not small.  They have sharp claws and pointy teeth, and they don't dress like bandits for nothing!  On Disney they look really cute, but in real life they're a little too much like the R.O.U.S.s in The Princess Bride.

So the raccoon and I are locked in epic battle over the fact that I want my car and he's not leaving.

My current approach works like this:

Walk out front door of house singing "Love Shack" by the B-52s at the top of my lungs thinking that ought to scare the bejeesus out of anyone, human or raccoon!

It doesn't.

But I have back-up: a flashlight, in case I need to stun him into submission with blinding light (assuming the batteries aren't dead, which they probably might be because I haven't checked them in, oh, a decade), and my daughter's ice-hockey stick because it makes me feel brave.  (I have no intention of getting close enough to that wily critter to actually poke him or anything!!!)  I would love to have my trusty companions, Dog 1 and Dog 2, but I'm afraid it might hurt them - it shows no signs of compassion!

I dance forward, hockey stick out in front, in much the way a swordsman might approach an opponent (only I'm guessing I look a lot less elegant...)

The raccoon thumps around near the garbage can (which is empty, but he's an optimist, apparently.)

"I'm coming in there!" I warn.

This fails to induce the element of fear I was hoping for.  I'm pretty sure he's laughing at me.

The crafty little critter scuttles up into the rafters.  Now I KNOW he's laughing at me. "I see you up there!" I call to the oversized rodent.  "You think you're so clever, but your tail is hanging right down in plain sight!"  He doesn't care apparently.  It's way too much fun getting a rise out of me every time I need my car.

Fine!  I guess we don't have to get groceries until tomorrow.  But this battle is not over!

Honestly!  The things I put up with on Blueberry Hill!

So, now that you're laughing yourselves silly over my raccoon predicament, it's about that time :)

Today's Would You Read It contestant is Sharron, who loves reading, writing, sharing with friends, and learning new things.  Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sorrysorrysorry
Age/Genre: Early PB (ages 2-5)
The Pitch:  Three frolicking baby giraffes try to find a place to play on a hot and crowded savannah. They find it isn’t an easy task. They run into a troop of baboons, a dazzle of zebras, and a pride of lions. At last, they turn to the river, only to be confronted by hippopotami. Our giraffes find fun and friendship at the end of a long a grueling day.

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 Sharron 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  Go ahead and send your pitch for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sharron is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!

Just a little heads up - this month's Author/Illustrator Interview will take place on Sunday February 19 (that's this weekend folks) and our guest will be none other that Donna Farrell.  Donna is an illustrator, but what she will really be talking about is her work as a website and blog designer for authors and illustrators. Yes!  That means you!  She is absolutely terrific (she did my website and blog, need I say more? :))  So I hope you'll all find a few minutes in your weekends to come see what she has to say!

Also, anyone who hasn't had a chance to vote for a Valentines Contest winner yet, please go HERE.  We really need everyone's votes - it's a tight race! :)

Now.

Back to my battle with the raccoon! :)

Reactions:

55 comments:

  1. LOL. Raccoon versus (W)riter! Who is placing bets? If you don't post on Friday, we'll know you ran out of rations!

    YES, I would read this. I like Sharon's working title and I am a sucker for African animals. It' sounds a jolly story for young readers!

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  2. Raccoons can do a lot of damage. Maybe it's time to hire a trapper.
    I think I would read it. Kids like animal stories.
    Now I have an announcement......ta da.....you are the first place winner in the silly limerick contest on youngish. Please send me your mailing address.

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  3. Good idea! Thanks for your comment for Sharron. And yay! I'm a winner? I really don't need a prize - it was just fun - but I will email you :)

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  4. Maybe I should try belting a different song... any suggestions? :)

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  5. Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog. Used to make my cat stop in her tracks and meow during the pauses. Plus it's pretty scary if you do it in a gruff voice. :)

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  6. Excellent song! At least I'll entertain myself even if I don't scare him away :)













    Renee LaTulippe (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog. Used to make my cat stop in her tracks and meow during the pauses. Plus it's pretty scary if you do it in a gruff voice. :)

    User's profile
    Link to comment

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  7. I have a very precious friend who has a critter cafe. The coonies come there to eat and get cookies. Then when the babies are born, they come too.

    I'm thinking this is a very funny story, Susanna. You need to start working on it.

    I would read the story. It sounds like a story any kidlet would love to read. It also teaches about what the groups of different animals are called. That's my favorite thing about it.

    *waving*

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  8. Funny stuff! Maybe that racoon would just like to meet Phyllis... You know... A Be Mine, Valentine type meeting---cuz Phyllis is mighty cute :•)

    I would read the book. I think the premise can be tightened. "When three baby giraffes try to find a cool place to play, it isn't an easy task. They encounter" ....... before
    And then continue on to mention river. Also, you started our by saying they wanted a cool place to play and then it seems that the ending satisfies friendship instead of focusing on their original quest----a place to play.

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  9. Sorry about the raccoon. Once those little buggers find food they are hard to get rid of!
    I am a maybe on the pitch. I'd like to know how the title fits in.

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  10. First I thought it was a skunk - no amount of flashlights, hockey sticks and singing the B-52s is going to help you there :)

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  11. Yes, I think you're right - Phyllis could keep that raccoon in his place :) Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  12. I don't really mind him that much as long as I know he isn't going to bite my dogs :) Thanks for your comment for Sharron!

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  13. You are so good at telling stories, this could be an entry for one of your competitions lol. That raccoon is enormous. I had no idea they were so big. Blueberry Hill is abundant with wildlife. No wonder you write about furry animals :)

    I love Giraffes, they are in lots of my poems and this sound great, so I'm a yes for sure. The pitch is wonderful and it's great for teaching kids and adults lol about the names for groups of animals.

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  14. hi miss susanna! miss robyn told be bout you. you got me laughing so much bout that coon. i love animals. we got a big woods &feed lots of wild animals and birds. We had a pet raccoon we raised from a kit and she even slept with me in my bed. she was real smart. for that book cause i love animals id probably wanna read it but for me that pitch could need brightening up so it could grab me.
    ...smiles from lenny

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  15. Yes, it's Wild Kingdom up here for sure :) Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  16. Thanks so much for visiting, Lenny! How cool that you raised a raccoon from a kit and it slept in your bed! I used to really want a raccoon, but now I have dogs :) Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  17. I'm a maybe leaning toward a yes on the pitch. The pitch starts strong and piques my interest right away, then the last sentence just seems to fall a little flat. The tone and style change in that last sentence, and the sense of fun seems lost just when the reader needs to be catapulted into saying "I MUST read that book!" Perhaps if the whole thing was tightened up a bit? This is just suggested wording off the top of my head -- Can three baby giraffes who just want to play find their own cool place on the savannah? A troop of baboons, a dazzle of zebras, and a pride of lions say "Not here!" Even at the river, the hippopotami got there first. (Then something about HOW they find fun and friendship, perhaps?)

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  18. Thanks, Beth! I think Sharron will find this very helpful!

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  19. The baby giraffe story sounds cute, and informative (a dazzle of zebras!).
    Oh and maybe your raccoon likes the B-52s, have you tried Lady GaGa?

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  20. Maybe. I lean more toward the 4-8 PB range than the 2-5 range. Giraffes are fun and cute, though. I would delete the second sentence. And combine/reword the last two sentences.

    Susanna, the winners are announced for my critique giveaway on the same blog post, in the comments section.

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  21. Racoons are so stinkin' cute! Then once, I worked at a mountain resort and had to help the maintenance man shoo one out of the garbage. It was then that I saw their "dark side." *shivers.* Good luck with your house guest.

    As for the pitch. Yes. I think it sounds like a cute story. Hopefully there are some fun twists and surprises in the story too.

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  22. I think he's gone... fingers crossed! Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  23. You are being held hostage by raccoons!!!

    I must laugh because I too live in the boonies and we spent one very hot Texas summer being held hostage by Texas red wasps. They staked out the the front entrance to our house and stung us every time we walked by. Then we started using the side entrance. Well guess what they did? You guessed it! They staked out the side entrance of our house, and stung us every single time we walked by--and we were limited to only using the back door. At that point, I told my husband, "We must call PEST CONTROL." Thankfully, I am happy to report we are currently using all three entrances to our house without any stings at all! :)

    The Pitch: I think the story sounds adorable but some of the writing of the actual pitch can be tightened up just a bit. Eliminate as many of the helping and "to be," verbs as possible and replace them with action verbs. :) You're on the right track, Sharon! Great job!!! :)

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  24. Oh, my goodness! I would not like wasps!!! A few years back we had skunks - cheeky little beggars who would refuse to get out of the yard when I wanted to let the dogs out. I'd bank on the trash can lid, holler and carry on, and they'd just look at me and keep chewing! Wild life! Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  25. Sorry to hear about your raccoon predicament -- they can be pretty vicious! Your reference to R.O.U.S got a chuckle out of my husband -- I think you've won a fan.

    As for the pitch -- I am a yes. My kids would love this story. Also I love how she's used the group names of these animals. However, I think there is room for the pitch to be tightened up -- definitely with more specific, active verbs. Also, I wholly agree with what Christie said below.

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  26. I love the Princess Bride. Also Monty Python and the Holy Grail - and I'm hoping that raccoon doesn't have a mean streak a mile wide :) Thanks for you comments for Sharron!

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  27. You are good -- lots of showing, rather than telling. Sorry, I know raccoons are mean, but I couldn't help but laugh. You can't call an animal control and have it removed far away?
    Pitch - yes, I'd read it. Like the beginning, but the last sentence needs to be stronger. How do the resolve their problem?

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  28. Maybe. It is the type of book I would read. However I would like the pitch to be more active and tighter. Right now it doesn't grab me. I do like the phrase "troop of baboons, a dazzle of zebras, and a pride of lions".

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  29. That raccoon can get together with the rabbits and gophers invading my backyard. Our lack of winter has caused some problems here too. As for SorrySorrySorry, I would read it. It sounds like a good opportunity for young children to learn about a number of different animals and their habitats. Plus, I can visualize the giraffes bumping into lots of different animals along the way and yelling, "Sorry!"

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  30. We did call animal control and by the time they got here he had high-tailed it (which I take as a sign he's healthy, so that's fine.) No doubt he's lurking in a nearby tree just waiting to have another go at me when all his friends are watching :) Thanks for your comments for Sharron!

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  31. Brazen would've been what I meant v. vicious. Raccoons are definitely brazen (and hopefully not mean!).

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  32. Yes, brazen is exactly the right word!














    Margaret Greanias (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Brazen would've been what I meant v. vicious. Raccoons are definitely brazen (and hopefully not mean!).

    Link to comment
    IP address: 99.187.239.71

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  33. Animal take-over :)
    Thanks for you comments for Sharron!

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  34. In this case, R.O.U.S. should stand for "Raccoons Of Usual Size" (we love the Princess Bride) :) Good Luck on the battle!
    I'd read the book! I never knew that a group of Hippopotami is the plural of Hippopotamus! I want to learn more!

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  35. I am a yes! And by "I" I mean my four year old (you know, the one who usually influences my submissions for PPB entries). He would love following the giraffes around to the other animals.

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  36. I would definitely read it. I read the pitch without reading the age range, and immediately thought it sounded like learning material for young kids. Looked up and saw the 2-5 range and thought perfect!

    The only thing I'd change is the last line "Our giraffes find fun and friendship at the end of a long a grueling day." It seems a little drab.

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  37. Kirsten gets the prize. The title is exactly what our giraffes say when bumping into the beasts of the land.

    All the suggestions were great. Constructive.

    Sorry that I'm not doing individual responses, but I got admitted to the hospital yesterday. They frown on not resting. :)

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  38. Super post! Robyn Campbell sent me here to meet you. My cp, Lenny, feeds a load of raccoons and other animals on his back deck. Recently he was feeding them and three kits snuck past him and came inside! Two left pretty quickly but the other one took a tour of the house before deciding it was time to leave. :)

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  39. Damon Dean - SevenAcreSkyFebruary 16, 2012 at 12:46 AM

    Yes I would pick this boik off the shelf. The threesome of giraffes speaks of possible mischief. I would hope and anticipate that they would be a little bit conspiratorial in claiming a resting spot. A hint of this would help the pitch in my opinion.

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  40. Maybe - The title didn't grab me perhaps if there was exclamation point after the sorry. But if I saw a giraffe on the cover I would pick the book up because I love giraffes. I was wondering if you could use a line from your book in the pitch. Maybe start with the first line from your book to draw the reader in. I like the line "They run into a troop of baboons, a dazzle of zebras, and a pride of lions." Good luck with your book and pitch!

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  41. Thanks for your helpful comments for Sharron!

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  42. You did it! You commented! Hurray! I'm so glad you figured it out. What did you have to do? And thank you for your comment for Sharron!

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  43. Hi Sharon! Thanks so much for visiting! I'm amazed by how many coon stories I'm hearing - who knew? :) They are brazen little critters!

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  44. Thanks for your comments for Sharron, Tracy!

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  45. I didn't even think of that, Erik! You're right :)

    Thanks for your comment for Sharron!

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  46. Thank you to everyone who has been commenting on Sharron's pitch. She unexpectedly wound up in the hospital, so has been unable to respond to each person, but she is very appreciative and grateful for everyone's input!

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  47. Sorry to hear about the hospital. Hope you are feeling better. I'm interested in the story, because I adore safari-type stories. The last line made me laugh as I've read hippos are the source of several safari deaths. I'm not quite sure what the conflict is the baboons, etc. Are the giraffes just getting in the way of the other animals? Also, I wonder about the groupings of the animals - why do you have three giraffes versus the troop, pride and dazzle? It sounds like a fun story Good luck.

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  48. Thank you for your comment for Sharron, Stacy!

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  49. Sharron...so sorry to hear you wound up in the hospital..hope everything resolves quickly and positively. I loved your story idea...I know that little ones would respond well to the gaggle of zebras and troop of baboons, etc. I also thought the title was great...but perhaps, as Rena suggested, exclamation points in between.
    Did I miss the first line...or wasn't it there...I think it would have pulled me in more if there had been one. But I definitely wanted to find out what happened to the 3 giraffes. :)

    Susanna...just a note about your resident raccoon...we lived in an old house in rural CT for 25 years...and called it Blueberry Hill because we had 100 blueberry bushes in the back! I also had a big vegetable garden with tomatoes, beans, peas...and CORN, which raccoons LOVE! One morning, I went to throw out the garbage (the cans were at the bottom of the driveway, under a big old maple tree) and saw that one of the cans had been knocked over. As I approached (cautiously) I realized the can was TREMBLING (and I started trembling too). I peered around and saw that a raccoon was in the knocked over can. As quick as I could, I up-ended the can and put the cover on it...ran in the house and called the local police who arrived soon after to take our scavenger away. :)

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  50. I probably would not read this one. This pitch does a lot of telling about events, but I'd love to catch a snippet of the voice of this story. And maybe I wouldn't tell the happy ending but use something to draw your reader in and make them have to read on to find out what happens. But it sounds like a fun book that teaches the group words for lots of different animals. Best of luck with it!

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  51. Oh, my! What a story! I actually love animals of all kinds, it's just that there was a rabid raccoon on our road earlier this week, so I was worried that it was that one - I didn't want that near the kids or the dogs! How funny that you also lived on a Blueberry Hill! We didn't name ours - it's been called that forever because the whole mountain is COVERED with blueberry bushes... probably why it's so popular with bears :)

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  52. Thanks for your comment for Sharron, Janet!

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