September 19, 2012

Would You Read It Wednesday #58 - Confessions Of The Tomato Turner, And Pitch Pick #12

You guys are probably wondering where the heck I've been all morning.  I mean, come on!  It's Would You Read It Wednesday!

I know!  I feel terrible!  Poor Vivian has no doubt been thinking I forgot her :(  I assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth!  I have been agonizing over my lack of foresight and worrying that her time is getting cut into and people may end up missing her day :(

Here's what happened:  heavy rain blew in yesterday accompanied by high winds with gusts over 60 mph... and in the Back of Beyond where I live, that means no power and no internet.

I've been like a little pioneer girl.  Just call me Laura Ingalls :)  Except last night we got pizza... I don't think Laura did that :)

Now, if I wasn't always playing catch-up, I might have had today's post written and ready to go.  But my plan was to write it last evening during homework time... and that didn't happen because we were looking for candles and contemplating bailing out the basement.

No worries, I thought.  Surely the power will be restored by the time I get up at 5:15 AM... I'll just write the post then and it will still get out on time.

Yeah.  Not so much.  We still have no power.  We made coffee in a saucepan this morning.  Need I say more?

See?  I told you - Laura Ingalls :)

So after my morning chores I hied my way over hill and dale to the nearest Barnes & Noble (because in the Back of Beyond we don't have handy wi-fi Starbucks at every country intersection) where I am currently sitting, casting longing glances at the triple chocolate brownies (but it's only 11 AM - a little early for triple chocolate?  what do you think?  I think after coffee from a saucepan a little overly-decadent pre-noon chocolate is permitted!) and typing like the wind to get the long-awaited pitch pick and Vivian's pitch up before you all give up in despair and determine that I've been eaten by a hungry black bear.

So no more chit chat.  Here are the pitches from August for you to choose from.  Everyone chose to update, so you can see how much they all improved thanks to you!

#1 Randy
Charlie The Chimney Mouse (PB)
Charlie is looking forward to the holiday season when the unthinkable happens. His human family moves away. He celebrates the holidays anyway, but the songs, the feasts, and the parties are not the same without someone to share it. Charlie offers one last song from his heart and receives a visit from a special holiday guest who brings more than a sack of presents.

#2 Patricia
Two Orange Pups On The Trail Of The Perfect Ball (PB)
Which pup in town owns the perfect ball?  For the Two Orange Pups, that’s quite a tough call.  Is it Babe with her baseball, Mario with his meatball, or one of the other pups they meet?  Find out whether the pair is on the right trail to discover the perfect ball, or whether it’s really the trail that’s the perfect part of this tale!

#3 Sharron
Nothing But Blue Skies (Upper MG Fantasy)
Wizards have turned the world topsy-turvy. The sky is green. The grass is purple. Streams are pale pink. A fourteen-year old princess is the key to saving her world. But – not as a girl. A dragon’s tear transforms her into a prince. To triumph over magic, she must find out who she is and who she wants to be. Through it all, she must defeat the wizards, change her world back, and save her brother.

#4 Rachel
Princess Azalea's Two Left Feet (PB)
Princess Azalea can't dance. And if she can't dance, she can't meet a prince at a royal ball. Her mother, the Queen, is determined to get her dancing no matter what! Azalea, however, isn't sure a prince is worth all this hullabaloo. Will Princess Azalea learn to twirl and spin without falling on her royal bottom? Or will she find her happily ever after her own way?

#5 Kimberley (PB)
Saturdays With Fish
Libby and her stepdad go fishing on Saturday to leave the loud city behind and find the peace of a quiet pond. It is there they find joy as simple and warm as the sun. At the pond they fish, chat, and eat a picnic lunch without any disruptions. When Libby accidentally hooks a bullfrog, the spell may be broken. Can they find their way back to quiet?

Please cast your vote for who's pitch should go for a read by editor Erin Molta by 11:59PM EDT Friday September 21.

And now, onto today's pitch from the lovely Vivian, author of Show Me How and fabulous blogger at Positive Parental Participation.

Working Title: Confessions Of The Tomato Turner
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch:  Distracted by a noisy woodpecker, four-year old Peter looks away from his task and pulls up a baby tomato plant instead of a weed.  Clutching the sad spindly seedling in his hand, Peter has a decision to make...tell his mom what he has done or hide the evidence in the compost pile.

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 Vivian 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.  There are openings in November, so you have time to polish :) for a chance for it to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Vivian is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  And I am looking forward to getting power back because it turns out I'm not really cut out to be a pioneer :)

Apologies for the messed up scheduling today, and thank you all for bearing with me :)  Have a great (rest of the) day!

Reactions:

69 comments:

  1. Yes! The fact that the boy pulled the tomato seedling out by accident presents a nice version of a telling the truth type of story. Accidents happen all of the time and it's how we deal with them that's important. Very nice!


    Susanna, if you had to have coffee out of a saucepan this morning a triple chocolate brownie might be a necessity.

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  2. yes I would read this! no comments on the pitch, but i didn't see the connection between tomato turner and someone who picks weeds.

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  3. Susanna, I've had to bail my house out a couple of times.


    As for the pitch. I'm intrigued but I need a little more. The title makes me think that he put it in the compost. The title caught my attention.

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  4. I love this pitch Vivian, but you know I love everything you do. :) Not sure you need to add the sad spindly seeding part (although nice alliteration!) The story sounds great for young children.

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  5. Yes-I would read. All kids have to make these tough decisions!!! "Do I tell the truth and face the consequences or do I try to slip this one by?' Excellent subject matter for a PB!

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    1. I have been so unfocused lately...I forgot to mention that I made a decision & voted for one of the awesome pitches! Is it just me or is it getting harder to choose???

      And Susanna--I'm sorry for your Internet problems but it sure did make for some fun reading! What an adventure!

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  6. Susanna, So sorry to hear of your travails. Was a bit concerned that you were totally hacked, given the twitter problems of late. And happy to learn it wasn't a bear;) The Two Orange Pups hope your power returns soon - Friday's PPB post was the inspiration for their woof today!


    Vivian, yes I would read this story. Can just imagine Peter's dilemma & love the image of the seedling drooping in his hands. I presume he is the Tomato Turner in the title?

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  7. Yes. I'm interested as my son kept thinking all summer that the tomatoes were balls and he deserved one every time he walked outside. I'm interested in the tomato turner.

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  8. Hi Susanna. Sometimes it's good to travel back in time - hope you can say the same after you get 'juiced' again! Yes, I'd read this. Forever a garden-lover, but I'd really like to see what the protagonist decides to do and how he'll weather the consequences. The title has me wondering though - I pictured something quite different than the pitch.

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  9. I'd read it! It sounds like a good book about honesty! :) I love the title!
    Good luck at B&N Ms. Hill! :)

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  10. Whew. That was a tough choice! I voted though. As for Vivian's pitch, it really resonated with me. I have a sensitive little guy who would have agonized over such a decision. The pitch reads very well to me. And Susanna, we haven't lost power recently, but we have had malfunctioning coffee makers/grinders. You have your priorities straight....get that coffee made no matter what. Hope your power is back soon.

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  11. Susanna- I hope you have gotten your power back by this time. We got some of your wind here in Boston, I think. It was a little crazy yesterday! Not much rain, though.


    Vivian - yes I would read your story. ;-) I think that your pitch is giving away a little to much of the details of the plot, and not enough about the emotional content of the story. For example in the first line, you really don't need to tell us that he's distracted by a woodpecker, or that he is four. Instead I would start out with something like: Peter is proud to be able to help his mother in the garden this summer. But when he accidentally pulls up one of the baby tomato plants instead of a weed he has a decision to make..... Something like that. Give us a hint into how Peter is feeling at the start and then how that changes.

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  12. Thank you so much, Carrie...that is wonderful advice and guidance! Good thing we are allowed to revise our pitches before the "pitch pick" time. :)

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  13. Oh Susanna aka Pioneer Woman...you are amazing! Yes, I did come here early this morning...and pretty much assumed there was a problem...I'm glad it is just that you lost power...I was afraid it was a health or family concern...I knew you wouldn't just forget. :) I so appreciate that you found a way to make the post happen!!!
    I hope the power is restored quickly...and everything is functioning smoothly for you again. :)

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  14. Hi Kirsten...thank you so very much! The "little" guy in the story will be 37 in December...and he is a truly loving and sensitive gentleman that I am proud to call my son. :) He was definitely a challenge in those formative years...and provided me with many story ideas!
    Isn't Susanna amazing to have posted today?

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  15. Hi Susanna! I do hope you got your power back and didn't have to bail out the basement!
    It was a tough choice to pick only one pitch as I really liked seeing the changes that were made from the originals that were posted. They all read very well!
    For today's pitch, I would read it. I think a lot of children can relate to a situation like that. I like Carrie's suggestions on the pitch; I wouldn't give away what decision Peter may make, but to highlight the fear of admitting his mistake to his mother or hiding the evidence. I also agree that the fact that he's four could be left out, and to just state that it was a seedling. I feel if it's a "sad, spindly" seedling, than it wasn't such a loss that he picked it by mistake. Good luck Vivian!

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  16. Yes! More importantly, I would read it to my little one. I love that the boy is distracted. Focusing is so very hard to kids in the outdoors. There is always something to take their minds off the task at hand. Too often has my own little one done something quite like this. Pulled up the wrong thing. I love the dilemma, too. Perfect for young 'uns. This is one of the first pitches I've found that I wouldn't change a word.


    Susanna -- it is always brownie-time somewhere in the world. *g*

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  17. Thank you, Erik...sometimes it's hard to be honest...especially if we think we have done something wrong and might be scolded.:)
    I'm glad you like the title...there is a third story in the Tomato Turner series...the working title is: The Further Adventures of the Tomato Turner. :)

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  18. Thanks so much for your feedback, Julie...I really appreciate your insights ...I can tell you that Peter (the real-life tomato turner) was always pushing the limits of every rule that was ever made. :) And now I'm curious as to what you thought the title suggested. :) :)

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  19. I'm sure you could write a story about Enzo and the tomato balls.:) Did he want to eat them or play with them? :)
    Glad you would want to read the story, Stacy!

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  20. Oh yes, Patricia, he definitely is the Tomato Turner. ;) Thanks for the thumbs-up on the story...and he still LOVES tomatoes and is a great chef in his home kitchen where he can whip up the most amazing feasts...many with tomatoes. :)

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  21. Thank you so much, Penny! This is a situation that every child can relate to...learning to take ownership of our actions, especially if we know we've done something "wrong", is an important lesson for all kids.

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  22. Oh my, Kimberley...thank you so much. :) It's lovely to have your feedback...I appreciate your positive reaction!

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  23. Hi Rena...I'm so happy to have your input...glad you liked the title...these "Would You Read It" pitch posts are an amazing opportunity for all of us to refine our pitches to make them "pop" and grab the attention of editors/publishers...so I'm grateful for your suggestion for a "little more". :)

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  24. Glad you would want to read it, Darshana...The Tomato Turner (1st book in the series about my son, Peter, who, as a young child, loved to garden and LOVED tomatoes) is his nickname which he got in the first book). Thank you for the input...perhaps I would have to allude to that in the pitch so they know who the tomato turner is right away. :)

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  25. Hi Heather...thanks for the positive feedback! You are so right...it is how we deal with our mistakes that portrays who we really are...the mistake itself isn't the important thing. :)

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  26. Forgot to vote...so I went back and did it...really hard as ALL of the pitches promise wonderful children's books. :) But I did...congratulations to all!

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  27. Hurray! Thank you so very much, Sharron...I'm thrilled that you love it...and you are so right...this is a situation that almost every young child can find himself (or herself) in at one time or another. :) My "little" one...now almost 37, was certainly a challenge in those early years...he is an amazing man...and I went skydiving with him a year ago when I visited with him and his wife in Chicago.

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  28. Thank you so much for your input, Dana! I'm glad you would want to read the story...and with suggestions like yours and Carrie's and the others, I'll be able to make it "pitch perfect"...and hopefully move ahead with the story. :)

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  29. Yes, I would read it, Vivian. Your pitch is right-on, and you didn't use questions. Good story premise as little ones learn to be honest!


    Sorry to hear about your no electricity troubles, Susanna. Your description of all the chocolate is making me have to dig in the cupboards!

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  30. Hi Susanna! I do hope you got your power back and didn't have to bail out the basement! aaargh


    I voted!

    For today's pitch, I would read it. I think a lot of children can relate to a situation like that. I like Carrie's suggestions on the pitch. I also agree that the fact that he's four could be left out, and to just state that it was a seedling.


    I love the title, Vivian!

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  31. Oh Susanna- so sorry about your loss of power woes. but remember, it's never too early (or too late) for chocolate! Hope your power came on by now...
    Vivian, the story sounds great and I think the pitch is lovely, nice and concise. I'm not so sure about the title, though. While I enjoy the humor, it sounds a little too adult- and I am confused about "tomato turner" Is that like turning the soil? Kids are literal and they may think it means turning a tomato over, and that's not what the story is about. "Confessions" is also a big word for a PB title (though it can be used in the story). Maybe something like "Tomato Troubles" could suggest the story better. I read your comment that Tomato Turner is your son's nickname, so I can understand why you'd want to use it.

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  32. Yes, I'd read it, as I like the honesty angle. However, it could be tightened using Carrie's excellent advice, and I'm not sure about the title either. Has the first story in the series already been written? And does it have Tomato Turner in the title? I agree with Iza that it reads too old for the age group, so perhaps change the title but use the nickname in the book itself?


    Susanna, brownies are my favorite breakfast food! Go for it!

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  33. Susanna, power outages stink :( Glad to hear you found a workaround.

    I would definitely read this story. I pulled a little tomato plant out of our elementary school garden thinking it was a weed so I can totally relate. I hesitated coming clean (and I'm an adult!) but confessed in the end. My garden committee peeps know better than to leave me working alone in the garden. I have a chaperone at all times :)

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  34. After I've picked tomatoes, at the end of the season, I turn them to check for ripeness or mold spots when I've stored them in boxes with newspaper. So I pictured the child doing this, or even while they are on the vine, checking the redness.

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  35. I just got mine in my inbox. I was gone anyway. I had to take Christopher to Chapel Hill. Hope you got your electricity going. Voted!!

    Great job Vivian! But if ti was that sad of a seedling. Maybe it was a good thing it got picked. Also, make me worry about Peter. Right now, I don't worry so much. Sounds like a super story! Good luck with it!!! *waves*

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  36. I love this pitch. I would definitely read this book and I like the promise of so many issues--lying, a boy who worries, and potentially a tomato that grows out of the compost? or maybe he tells his mom? Either way, definitely a book I would love to read to my boys.

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  37. Thanks for commenting for Vivian, Darshana! :)

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  38. Singing a few lines of row, row, row your basement... :) Thanks for your comment for Vivian!

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  39. Thanks for your thoughts for Vivian, Kimberley... and such nice ones :)

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  40. Thanks for chiming in, Penny! And I agree - it's a great PB problem!

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  41. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Patricia, and thanks for the Two Orange Pups' good wishes :)

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  42. Thanks for chiming in, Stacy! Enzo's opinion may be more valid than any of ours! :)

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  43. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Vivian, Julie!

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  44. Thank you, Erik - for your comment for Ms. Kirkfield and for your good wishes :)

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  45. It's important to keep one's priorities straight :) Thanks for your comment for Vivian, Kirsten, and hope you had better coffee this morning than I did! :)

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  46. Hope you didn't end up losing power, Carrie! And thanks so much for your comment for Vivian - you are really good at this pitch revision thing!

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  47. Need...shower... and coffee that didn't get cooked in a saucepan...! I'm glad people seem to be making it over to comment on your pitch in spite of the scheduling glitch, and thank you for your understanding! :)

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  48. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Vivian, Wendy! :)

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  49. It's hard when you have to eat a triple chocolate brownie, but I'm doing my best to soldier on :) Thanks for your comments for VIvian, Tina! :)

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  50. Sharron, I like the way you think! :) And thanks for your comments for Vivian!

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  51. Thanks so much for voting and for your comments for Vivian, Dana. And luckily there was no basement bailing this time... thus far :)

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  52. Thanks, Joanna, for your good wishes and for your comments for Vivian. And for voting! :)

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  53. I was thinking of you at B&N - we could have had lunch! :) You didn't lose power? Glad to hear it! Thanks for your thoughtful comments for Vivian! :)

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  54. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Renee. And yes, brownies technically are breakfast food. You will note that they are made with eggs :)

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  55. Personally, I can never tell the difference between the weed and the thing that's supposed to be growing, which is probably why I am known as the Black Thumb of Blueberry Hill! :) Thanks for you comments for Vivian, Kim! :)

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  56. Uh-oh! I hope Christopher's OK, Robyn! Thanks for your thoughts for Vivian! :)

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  57. Yes I would read. Maybe even by candlelight, while Pa plays the fiddle and Mary makes paper dolls. Here's hoping you have power back Susanna!

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  58. Tee hee, Coleen! You made me laugh :) I will be playing with my corn cob doll named Susan :)

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  59. Thank you, Coleen...glad you would read it...and by candlelight while Pa plays the fiddle and Mary makes paper dolls sounds lovely...I think there was something very special about making your own entertainment before there was TV...and, of course, no worries about no electricity...cause they didn't have any. :)

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  60. Hi Wendy...thanks for stopping by here to read my pitch! Your kind words are much appreciated...and, after reading your comment, I have to tell you that I LOVE your idea of a tomato plant growing out of the compost pile...there would be so much tension and angst as the plant grew bigger...the "evidence" is growing too big to hide. :) I may have to do some revising. :)

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  61. Thanks so much, Robyn...with the input from Wendy, I think I may have more for you to worry about. Great point about the sad seedling...but perhaps the nutrients in the compost pile will create a SUPER TOMATO PLANT!!! :) :) I'm grateful for your insights...and I agree...I think there needed to be tension in the story that lasted for more than a brief moment.

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  62. Hi Kim...thanks for sharing your "confessions" and I'm glad you liked the pitch. Some weeds are so beautiful (and some some helpful) I often want to leave them. :)

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  63. Iza...thank you so much for your thoughtful comments...I'm happy you liked the pitch. :) The first story in the series of three is called "The Tomato Turner"...Peter tries to help the green tomatoes change color by turning them around and around, because his mom told him that they aren't eaten until they 'turn' red. But I do understand what you are saying...maybe this series needs to be in one book (kind of like the "Little Bear" series by Elsa Minarik...and those were early readers...perhaps that's what this needs to be). I will have to give it some thought.:) And that's why Susanna's pitch blog is SOOOO valuable...look at all of the amazing feedback I am getting. :)

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  64. Thank you so much, Renee...I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. Yes, the first book in the series is "The Tomato Turner" which Susanna allowed me to pitch here earlier in the summer...perhaps the 3 books need to be one book...as an early reader or something along those lines. I'm sure for early readers, there are specific words that need to be utilized...but I'm always open to reinventing anything I've done if it makes it better and more marketable...after all, the bottom line is to get our work out there and have people want to read it with their children. :)

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  65. Hi Joanna,
    Glad you loved the title...and I'm happy you would read it...I am so thrilled with the wonderful comments and suggestions...Carrie's will be really helpful! And it's funny about the 'four'...originally, I didn't have that, even in the story. But when the real Tomato Turner read it, he was afraid people would think he was developmentally challenged if they didn't KNOW he was only four years old. :) I agree with you, Joanna, it can probably be left out. :)

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  66. Oh my goodness...thank you, Tina...I always WANT to ask questions..they seem to make a pitch more engaging...but I know I've been told that for most pitches, you need to nix the questions. ;) Glad you liked it. :)

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  67. Thanks for the clarification, Julie...there are many stories in every pitch, I guess...that would make a good one also. :)

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