January 23, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #73 - Cheeku The Cheeky Chinese Chicken (PB) AND The Groundhog Day Fun Photo Contest!!!

After my horrifying two entire minutes without chocolate on Monday, I think we better start today's post off right.  Brownies anyone?
Freepik.com
And yes, brownies ARE for breakfast.  Need I remind you that they are made of eggs (protein and arguably one of the most popular breakfast foods), butter (calcium), flour (whole grains), and chocolate (which comes from the cocoa bean and is therefore indisputably a vegetable!)? A bite-sized bundle of nutrition!  A healthy start to a happy day :)

Now then.  We have something VERY IMPORTANT to discuss today.  As many of you know (because I so helpfully keep reminding you :)) Groundhog Day is only 10 days away.  And we certainly cannot let it pass by without some kind of high jinx and shenanigans!  So here's what I'm thinking...

(Yes... look out!... another hair-brained scheme is coming your way!)

Go HERE and download the colorable Phyllis action figure (because really that just sounds so much better than paper doll :)) and print it out (card stock is excellent for this but you can use regular paper too.)  Color her in and cut her out... or cut her out first if you prefer and then color her in... we are not particular :)  (And you won't need the dress-up stuff - it's for April Fools' Day - but you can use it if you want :))  You may ask your kids to do this if you like - kids are good at cutting out and coloring.

Now that you have your very own Phyllis action figure, take her outside to a location of your choosing on the morning of Saturday February 2 (also known as Groundhog Day!) and photograph Phyllis (she's very photogenic!)  You, your kids, your pets, your favorite shovel etc. may appear in the photo with her if you choose.  She can be standing (hint: a popsicle stick glued to her back may be helpful if you want her to stand up!), sledding, hot-air ballooning... be as imaginative or not as you wish :)  Creative photoshopping is also acceptable - it's just not an option for some of us... for various reasons... which may or may not include a total inability to operate photoshop...

Post the picture on your blog any time between Saturday February 2 and Monday February 4th and in the caption underneath (or a post if you're feeling expansive) tell us where she is (e.g. Mount Everest, Nepal or Chicago, Illinois), the weather conditions (e.g. sunny and -12 degrees) and whether or not she saw her shadow (and hence whether she's predicting an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter.)  Then pop over here and add your post-specific link to the link list that I will post on my special Groundhog Day post.

Hopefully we will end up with a fantastic list of photos of Phyllis ALL OVER THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE predicting spring, which we can convert into a chart... and then see who is right and who should not pursue a career in meteorology!  (And if you happen to live in the Southern hemisphere you can still play - Phyllis is a weather hog - she can predict fall just as easily :))

Just to up the stakes a little, Phyllis and I will give a prize for the best Groundhog Day photo of Phyllis (which shall be voted upon by you, the experts, on some as yet to be determined date in the week or so after Groundhog Day.)  The winner will receive a signed copy of Punxsutawney Phyllis (or, if you already have it or don't want it, an unsigned but still free copy of Gretchen Groundhog It's Your Day, or  Go To Sleep, Groundhog! or a $15 Amazon gift card!)

For anyone who is a teacher and would like to photograph Phyllis with his/her class, feel free to take your photo Friday or Monday and bonus points to you for getting lots of kids involved! - maybe they'd all like to color their own Phyllis action figure! - we'd love to see a vote from your class as to whether Phyllis will predict an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter!

I hope everyone will think this is as tons of fun as Phyllis and I do.  If you don't, well, we'll be sad, but we have lots of brownies :)

Okay!  Next item on the agenda...

The winner of the December pitch pick was Kim with her pitch for Oyster And Pearl!  Congratulations, Kim!  Your pitch has already flown through cyberspace to Erin Molta's inbox and I'm sure we'll hear from her soon!  And congratulations to the other pitchers - awesome job everyone!

And now, today's pitch comes to us from Catherine, whom you may remember from her pitch for Once Upon A Toilet in September.  She is a British Ex-pat living in Canada with her family. She writes picture books and children's poetry. You can find her on her blog at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Cheeku The Cheeky Chinese Chicken
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Cheeku the cheeky Chinese karate-loving chicken hatches an escape plan when she discovers it's more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the menu.

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 Catherine 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 February - like in 3 weeks! so seriously we could really use some new pitches!  It's your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Catherine is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the Groundhog Day contest which I really hope someone will want to participate in!  Think how much fun we'll have seeing Phyllis in so many different places predicting spring!

Have a great day, everyone! :)


Reactions:

58 comments:

  1. Read it! Who wouldn't love a story about a chicken that knows karate! Kia-yah! :)

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  2. Susanna, Wonderful idea for the Phyllis photo escapade for Groundhog Day. Photo ideas are whirling thru the heads of theTwo Orange Pups (or is it just their kibble as they anticipate a brisk walk?).
    Catherine, sounds like this could be a very amusing story, but I'd give your pitch a maybe. I'd like more information about where Cheeku is & how a chef is involved. Is Cheeku in China? A henhouse? Out & about town? And how do Cheeku's karate skills help or hinder the results?


    And now for that very brisk walk - brrr!

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  3. My Phyllis is printed and raring to go...where, I am not 100% but y'all will see! As to Catherine's pitch, yes, I agree it's a tad too short (maybe that skill will rub off on me?), but who doesn't love a clever chicken? Her play on words is also adorable. A big YES from me.

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  4. *waves to Susanna and Catherine* Sounds like a cool little Groundhog day. *Wheels spinning* TWO MINUTES WITHOUT CHOCOLATE???????? That's awful. Simply horrendous.

    Catherine, this is fantastical. The pitch is short and sweet. It tells me enough about Cheeku. He's gotta get outta Dodge. Ha ha. Love it woman! The alliteration is so much fun! Of course I'd read it!

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  5. I'm only half way through a cup of coffee, but ran right up to the printer to get to work. Phyllis is adorable. If I can ever kick this ridiculously long cold, I'm going to take Phyllis all around town.

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  6. delores @ thefeatherednestJanuary 23, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    What a great pitch...yes...I would read it.

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  7. Mine is a yes, and I actually like the brevity, somehow it's enough to entice me. May have problems trying to print Phyllis, but promise to do my best. ;)

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  8. I'm a yes for Catherine's story. The only thing that stopped me was the words Chinese chicken. I know there are Chinese chicken breeds, but it just didn't seem important to the story and I found the title difficult to say. Just me, I guess.

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  9. Your groundhog idea sounds fun! I hope my kids will play. Regarding Catherine's pitch, the title drew me in right away, and I love the pun, hatching an escape plan. So yes, I'd read it.

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  10. POSTED FOR CATHERINE at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

    Great feedback, thanks everyone! Esp. grateful for Denise Maclennan Bruce input since she has read the story :0)

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  11. POSTED FOR CATHERINE at http://catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

    Thanks for all the comments still coming through. I didn't know cheeky wasn't universally known and it is used so much in the story. The setting is a Chinese Temple, I can't take the Chinese part out :)

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  12. Yes, I would read it. A cheeky chicken is enough of a character description to pique my interest. The single sentence is a bit awkward, perhaps break it into two sentences? With the first setting up the character and his life, the second introducing his need to escape. You've phrased that part beautifully - "hatching a plan" works well with the image of the chef.

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  13. Oooh, the Action Figure Phyllis Groundhog Day photo even sounds like fun!

    I vote Yes for Catherine's pitch and not just because she's a lovely person. ;) I don't think the pitch is too short because pitches are supposed to be pithy.

    I do have to point out though, that karate is not a Chinese martial art. If you sub in kung-fu, it's be more true to the Chinese motif. As for the temple, make sure it's not a Buddhist one as they would not be serving chicken. :)



    I, too, love the word "hatches" because it's a nice word-play...for the plan and for chicks from an egg!

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  14. Yay, I actually won something! (This is a rarity...) Thanks a bunch!

    Great idea for Groundhog Day, Susanna! Maybe I'll bring Phyllis to some of the spots we had our holiday elf go.

    And I'm a big YES for the pitch. The illustrations can be so much fun with this one, and I love the alliteration in the title. And I like the word "cheeky" (and I'm not even from Great Britain)!

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  15. LOVE the title! I'm ready to find out what happens to Cheeku in the kitchen!

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  16. Yah Phyllis is traveling around the world again .. sort of. i better start thinking of where to take Phyllis.

    Catherine great pitch. I would definitely read it, love the premise. I am not a big fan of the name Cheeku (reminds me to much of an Indian fruit called chiku). While I like the alliteration its a bit much for me. Also I could you use a few 'details' of the plan, to further entice.

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  17. Your backyard will be fine, Darshana - Phyllis is not particular :) And thanks for your helpful comments for Catherine!

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  18. Catherine, sounds like a very funny story. I liked the pitch but felt it was too short and wanted to know more about the plan. I certainly would read it.


    Susanna, I will be gone that weekend. I doubt I'll have time to do the fun Phyllis activity.

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  19. Thanks for your thoughtful comments for Catherine, Pat, and I'm sorry you won't be able to play Phyllis's game... although you could bring a paper action figure Phyllis with you wherever you're going... :)

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  20. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment for Catherine, Robin! I'm sure she'll be thrilled that you like her pitch and would read her story :)

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  21. Congratulations again on your win, Kim, it was well earned! And I'm sure Erin will be in touch soon... I hope you'll play along with Phyllis's game! She will be impossible to live with if no one joins in :) And thanks so much for your comments for Catherine! :)

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  22. Thanks for your excellent thoughts for Catherine, Teresa! And I do hope you'll join in Phyllis's fun :)

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  23. Yes!!! I would read it. It sounds like a fun book. The pitch sounds so Catherine...I love her style!


    I will be traveling on Groundhog Day...but I may find a way to join in...we'll see.

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  24. Thanks for your enthusiasm for Catherine, Penny! And as for Groundhog Day, have Phyllis action figure, will travel :)

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  25. HA! This is great! My own Phyllis action figure!
    I would read the book! I love the chicken's name! I think the story is unique! :)

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  26. You can teach your Phyllis action figure Tae Kwon Do, Erik! Thanks for your enthusiasm for Phyllis's plan and for Ms. Johnson's pitch! :)

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  27. My brain is imagining Phyllis hopping and skipping about the Northern Hemisphere with a grin and a giggle for all to hear :-)

    As for WYRI, I had to laugh. it made me think of Chicken Run, a right humorous claymation movie. I would certainly be interested in what Cheeku does to escape the chef's plans.

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  28. I'm a total yes...for both the contest AND the pitch! I, too, loved the brevity...Catherine, how did you manage to say all of that in one sentence? Teresa had some really insightful comments that will surely be helpful.:) It sounds like an engaging tale.


    I'm hoping I'll have a school visit on January 29...that would be perfect...the kids would be doing an art activity anyway...I would definitely have them color Phyllis in as a bonus activity!

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  29. I love this storyline, Catherine! I did want just one more short sentence in the pitch that hints at the resolution. I thought maybe you could save the 'karate-loving' part for a second sentence because I kind of stumbled over those words in the first sentence -- there is such a thing as too much alliteration, I guess! Something like:

    Cheeku the cheeky Chinese chicken hatches an escape plan when she discovers it's more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the menu. She karate-chops her way through [obstacles] to take herself off the menu. (that last part doesn't work, but I'm sure you can come up with some food-related metaphor there, if that would work with the story).

    Also, while I love the word 'cheeky' it would be nice if you could somehow SHOW in the pitch that she is cheeky, rather than telling us in that first sentence, since it is so close to the name 'Cheeku.' Or again, save it for the second sentence. "The cheeky chicken sasses her way through [obstacles]... something along those lines. Good luck with it, Catherine!

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  30. Yes, Cheeku the Cheeky Chicken gave me a Chuckle! But there is a little too much to stumble over in those first words. Leave out Chinese or Karate loving, or possibly leave them in, in another short sentence.

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  31. Thanks, Yvonne, very helpful for Catherine! :)

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  32. Thank you for your very well-thought out comments for Catherine, Carrie! So helpful as always!

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  33. Woo-hoo! So excited, Vivian! And thanks for your thoughts for Catherine! :)

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  34. Thanks for your comments for Catherine, Angela! And maybe your Chipmunk would like to get Phyllis to predict spring wherever you are :)

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  35. Thanks so much for your very helpful thoughts for Catherine, Heather! :)

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  36. I'll say it again, Carrie...you are the pitch-fixer extraordinaire.:) I always look forward to your comment on pitches.

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  37. Your followers leave such wonderful comments. I can't offer any better suggestions for Cheeky. Love the title :-)

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  38. They are terrific, aren't they? You too, Tracy! Thanks for chiming in :)

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  39. Oh, gosh! Poor Lauri! Phyllis recommends chamomile tea with wild honey for your cold... it's very therapeutic! I'm so glad you love Phyllis and have plans for her! She will be very excited :) Feel better!

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  40. Ooh! I'm glad we have ONE potential entry in Phyllis's contest :) Thanks for your helpful comments for Catherine, Patricia! Enjoy your walk. It is zero here... I may wimp out on the walk today!

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  41. Oh YAY!!! Phyllis is jumping for joy that she might get a photo from you! And thanks for your thoughtful comments for Catherine. I wish some of that brevity would rub off on me too :)

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  42. Thanks for your comments for Catherine, Joanna, and good luck printing out Phyllis!!! She would love to be featured by you somewhere... anywhere... :)

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  43. Hi Robyn!!! Glad you're back! Hope the computer is properly fixed! I hope you and Ivy and pals will come up with a good Phyllis idea... she has fond memories of Mr. Ed.... just sayin'... :) Thanks for your positive comments for Catherine!

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  44. Thank you for your enthusiasm for Catherine, Elaine :)

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  45. Chrome works yippee! Thanks so much everyone, super advice!

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  46. YAY!!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!! Please excuse me for shouting, but I'm so glad you can comment again, Catherine! Yippee! :)

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  47. Sorry I'm late to the conversation here. I love the character potential of Cheeku the Chinese Chicken. However, karate is a distinctly Japanese tradition, not Chinese. Is Cheeku incredibly cross-cultural in her hobbies? if so, cool. But I think having a Chinese character doing karate could come off at best confusing, and at worst offensive. Kung Fu might be more up a Chinese chicken's alley.

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  48. Thanks for sharing your expertise, Larissa! Very helpful! :)

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  49. Yes, really want to see how a karate loving chicken behaves!
    And Susanna, I am SO up for making my very own Phyllis action figure. This sounds like fun!

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  50. I'm a maybe on would-I-read-it. I need a little more - maybe one more sentence. Also, is a Chinese karate chicken politically correct? Or am I over thinking it....?

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  51. Yes! A karate-loving chicken is an intriguing character, and I love the clever use of words such as "hatches" and "scrambled eggs." It sounds like a fun book!

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  52. I love the title, and would definitely read it, but if this were my pitch I'd enlist Cheeku to chop and rearrange, because the opening is a bit of a mouthful: 'Cheeku
    the cheeky Chinese chicken needs to hatch an escape plan, and put her karate skills to the test, when
    she discovers it's more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the
    menu.' One could elaborate with more 'plan' details, but not too much. (FYI, not all Americans know what cheeky means.)

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  53. Big YES to reading about Cheeku....short and funny execution! You had me with the title!


    And awesome Phyllis idea, Susanna! The kids will love it

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  54. Hi Susanna and Catherine :)

    I love the idea of coloring Phyllis :) I still have yet to get to Green Gables, Susanna and take Phyllis with me. I can't believe I haven't been there yet this fall or winter. It's still in my plans... if it warms up here ;) It's -37 today! way too cold!! I'll see if Rilla's teacher will let the class in on this too. it's such a cute idea :)

    now to Catherine's pitch... Cheeku the cheeky Chinese karate-loving chicken hatches an escape plan when she discovers it's more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the menu.

    It seems a little short. I've read this story and LOVE it! Catherine did an awesome job with it! Let's see if I can add to it.

    Cheeku the cheeky chinese chicken LOVES karate but when she discovers it's more than scrambled eggs the chef is putting on the menu she hatches an impressive escape plan to save the chickens from all that stands or meows in their way, but is surprised to see who saves her in the end.

    Love,
    Denise

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  55. I can definitely see a "kung-pow" chicken flipping the chef over the plight of eggs (scrambled or not). I would read it because it sounds like it's got lots of potential to hatch laughs.

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  56. Thanks for chiming in for Catherine, Sue!

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  57. Soon Phyllis will be as famous as the Travelocity Gnome. Or Waldo. Or both! :D

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