July 31, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #98 - The Tomato Turner Gets A Job (PB)

I was going to post on Monday.  Really, I was.  But then we got invited out to dinner Sunday evening (which was lovely) and by the time I got home it was late and, well, you know how these things go...  So lucky you - you got another day off :)

It is high summer here on Blueberry Hill.  The bear passes by occasionally on his way from one patch of blueberry bushes to another.  The hummingbirds are hard at work raising their families, which requires a lot of calories...


... the twin fawns are growing...
this one is nursing...
and here they both are (sorry about photo quality - I was a little far away for the iPhone :)
...and if we could get more than one consecutive minute without rain, my flowers might stop looking like they drowned :)  Or they might not because, let's face it, I AM the Black Thumb of Poughquag :)

So now that you've seen summer on Blueberry Hill, I think it's time for Something Chocolate.  What should we have today?  How about...
Triple Chocolate Cookies???  YUM!
Okay.

Enough chit-chat :)  It's time to get down to Would You Read It business!  Vivian is being very patient :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Vivian whom you may remember from previous pitches for other PBs in the Tomato Turner series - The Tomato Turner and Confessions Of The Tomato Turner).  Vivian is passionate about picture books - her mission is to help children become lovers of books and reading. She's a former kindergarten teacher and a current grandmother of four. Although she always thought of herself as a timid sort of person, she's had some really BIG adventures. Two years ago, she went skydiving with her son. This May, she stepped out of her comfort zone again and took her first international flight to the 2013 Asian Festival of Children  Content/SCBWI Conference in Singapore. In one of her presentations, shared her book, Show Me How! Build Your Child's Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking,and spoke to parents and teachers about the importance of reading picture books to young children. Her goal is to write a picture book story that will have kids saying, "Read it again, please!" Last this year, she and her husband will be leaving the Colorado Rockies and returning to the East Coast to be closer to family. She blogs at Picture Books Help Kids Soar and you can connect with her on Twitter andFacebook. 

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Tomato Turner Gets A Job
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4 and up)
The Pitch: No matter how many times Peter counts the money in his piggy-bank, it's still not enough to buy the new bike he needs. The six-year old must find a quick way to earn some real money – summer vacation is only two weeks away and Peter wants to join his best friends' team when they compete in the annual bike relay race.

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 August so we're about ready for some new pitches!  Send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Vivian is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to teaching my August picture book class (which starts tomorrow :)) and to seeing if I can scrounge up enough time to read Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi and Reached by Ally Condie which I've been wanting to read for ages!  Anyone else love YA dystopian? :)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! :)

Reactions:

85 comments:

  1. Love the photos. So much nature and beauty just the way I can handle it...at a safe distance lol!

    As for the story, yes I would read it. Just as a suggestion, I wonder if the pitch wouldn't have more a growth-to-the-stakes feel with a bit of sentence-shuffling like so:

    Summer vacation is only two weeks away. Peter wants to join his best friends' team when they compete in the annual bike relay race. But no matter how many times Peter counts the money in his piggy-bank, it's still not enough to buy the new bike he needs. The six-year old must find a quick way to earn some real money...(something short and sweet).



    The change may not be needed. Pretty good pitch.

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  2. Love your pictures, Susanna! And Vivian's pitch caught me right away. Peter sounds like a real kid with a genuine problem to solve. I also think Angela's suggestions would make it a tad stronger. I would read it YES!

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  3. thanks for the cookie - and the cute photos. We're having daily hummingbird disputes in the Monarda patch.
    The Tomato turner gets a job - I would absolutely read it. I would definitely turn the page to see what happens next, and want to know what kind of job this kid wants.

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  4. Catherine JohnsonJuly 31, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Lovely pictures, Susanna! I love Vivian's story it sounds suspenseful and I agree that Angela did a great job shuffling the order a bit. I would possibly add the word fast right at the end. Good luck, Vivian!

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  5. Rachel SchieffelbeinJuly 31, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Those pictures are wonderful! What fun!
    Vivian, I think I would read this. A little more about what will happen when he tries to earn his money would help, though. I'm not totally sure what to expect for tone here, funny, serious, etc.

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  6. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJuly 31, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I love nature. :)


    I really like the pitch! I like the idea of a 6-year-old wanting something and deciding to get a job to make it happen. I thought the pitch is written well too :D

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  7. I think I'm a maybe only because i'm not sure I know yet what the core of the book is about... I do like the shuffling Angela did to make the high stakes present at first. My other concern is that there is a disparity between the title (about tomatoes) and the pitch (about bikes). I'm assuming his job involves tomatoes, but is this random or something he's done before? I don't know how much a part of the story this is, so maybe it doesn't need to be in the pitch but then--does it need to be in the title? The title seems to describe to me a boy who loves gardening and finds a way to make gardening more than a hobby. But the pitch implies something different. So I might work on making them slightly more cohesive. Good luck!

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  8. Thanks for sharing the pictures, Susanna. I think you have a great title for a PB with your Black Thumb!
    I admit I'd read anything from Vivian, but I enjoy 'little entrepreneur' stories anyway! I like Angela's shuffle too, though it could be tightened a tiny bit more (take out 'he needs' after bike). You might be able to squeeze in a few job suggestions, but as Rachel noted make sure we understand the flavor of this story too. Is it humorous? Heart-warming? Silly? Best of luck, Vivian, with this and the move too!

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  9. I just love the pictures of the fawns. So cute!


    And the cookies look delish!


    I think starting the pitch with what he wants most (to be in the bike relay) would be more of a hook. I think you can leave out some details...like "summer vacation" and possibly "six-year old" could be left out, too. You many not want to be that age-specific in your story. I think you can go with Julie's suggestion of taking out "he needs" and, also, take out "new", because it isn't needed either. I like Angela's idea of shuffling and Julie's suggestion to give us more of the flavor of the story. Some cute, descriptive term about the piggy bank may be more fun than the counting...maybe only a couple of coins rattle as he shakes it...maybe it's not very heavy...maybe a coin drops straight to the bottom....maybe he lifts an empty piggy bank. Show us that the piggy bank needs a lot more coins to get that bike so that we just can't wait to read the story to see how Peter will come up with the money.

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  10. Susanna I thought I had an animal menagerie going on in my neighborhood (and yard sometimes),oh but to see a humming bird in my yard would be neat! I saw a spindly fawn and it mommy on my way to work yesterday. I need a new phone. Enough about me. No wait! More cookies please.

    Susanna you know how new I am to writing and so my comment or question may be totally off base due to my ignorance in this matter. I'd read this story because I'd be interested to learn how Peter earns his money. I like the urgency of needing to earn money. I also like the way you made us want to feel for Peter's situation. But then (and this is petty) you use, "The six year old), which immediately distanced me from him. Not sure if I'm making sense. Again, I'd read this book. Yet, I am confused. My comment is more of a question to get an answer on how a pitch for a series work. Maybe this isn't the right forum, but I'm not familiar with the other Tomato stories. My question is, would an editor know about the character's association with tomatoes? Is that written in the bio as you've done in the intro? How does that work?

    It seems as if this story would be a laugh out loud read in seeing if and how tomatoes offer the mc an employment opportunity. But is this in the story or am I off base here? Now you see how I made Vivian's pitch all about me?

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  11. Ahh, Blueberry Hill! Your home sounds like the best Robert McCloskey book ever! :)


    Why, yes, I'd love a double helping of the Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies!


    And yes, yes! I would read Vivian's book! (Have I put in enough exclamation marks yet?) It reminds me of a Beverly Cleary book...and a perfect boy book. I appreciate that, having 2 sons. The only thing I would suggest for the pitch, which is pretty nearly perfect, is to maybe give us a one sentence hint at how he might solve the problem or how it could potentially end, or maybe an intriguing question.

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  12. Yes, so relatable. At least for me! When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time finding ways to boost the contents of my piggy bank. :) Also I'm intrigued by Vivian--a timid skydiver? There's a story there!
    And Susanna, I'm still thinking about the bear. I know you've mentioned the bear before, but I don't know how I'd feel seeing one outside my window. :)

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  13. So glad you enjoyed the nature, Angela :) and thanks so much for your helpful comments for Vivian!

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  14. Thanks for your thoughts for Vivian, Sue! And I know - what is it with the hummingbirds? They get quite savage with each other! :)



























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  15. Glad you liked my less-than-expert photos, Linda :) and thanks so much for your thoughts for Vivian!

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  16. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Catherine! And I'm glad you enjoyed the photos :)



























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  17. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Vivian, Rachel! And I'm glad you liked my very amateur photos :)

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  18. Thanks for your thoughts on Ms. Kirkfield's pitch, Erik! And I'm glad you like nature. I put the twin fawns up just for you because we talked about it a couple weeks ago :)

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  19. Thanks so much for your very thoughtful comments for Vivian, Wendy. I am sure she will find them helpful!

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  20. Thanks for your excellent suggestions for Vivian, Julie! And hey! I never thought about the black thumb being a PB but now you mention it, it might work! :)

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  21. Thanks for your very helpful and thoughtful suggestions for Vivian, Penny! And I'm glad you liked the cookies and the fawns. They are SO cute. When I come along in the car, they hide just in the edge of the underbrush and peek out :)

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  22. This is a great story premise. I love seeing stories where kids have a problem most readers can relate to that they can solve themselves. I would definitely read it.

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  23. Yes to YA Dystopian, but a late-comer. Just working my way through THE HUNGER GAMES now!

    Vivian, you have a lovely flow to your pitch. But I would like to know more about the job(s) and the tone too. Does he try several jobs? Does he have any particularly fun/inspiring/daunting adventures when he finally gets the job? Or is the story really about the bike race? You've set up the story, but I'd love to know more of what it's about.

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  24. Julie Rowan-ZochJuly 31, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Yes! School visits in a hooded cloak! Alright, at least a painted thumb!

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  25. You are so funny Pam :) Thanks for your comments for Vivian. Everyone's thoughts are welcome and helpful because the whole point of this is to see how different people react to the pitch - especially people who have no prior knowledge of the pitcher or the pitch - so don't feel like your newness disqualifies you, all thoughts are valid! And I know - aren't those little fawns cute? :)



























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  26. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Teresa! Have as many cookies as you'd like, and I like the idea that my home sounds like a Robert McCloskey book :) We haven't had any ducklings up here, but we have had baby Canada goslings and lots of baby turkeys :)

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  27. Thanks for chiming in for Vivian, Coleen! And as for the bear, he was outside this morning! Scout was barking her danger bark. I thought she was warning off a doe (she does not like trespassers on her territory :)) and when I went out to see, she had the high ground and was barking and facing down the bear! She was afraid - she wouldn't advance on him - but she wouldn't leave him be either. And he clearly didn't want anything to do with her. He was sidling away into the underbrush. But I was worried so I lured her in with promises of cheese and he ambled off into the swamp. Such a brave puppy I have :)

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  28. LOVE it!! Oh, the possibilities! Now I just have to think up the story and write it :)



























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  29. Thanks so much for your comments for Vivian, Rosi! I'm sure she will be thrilled at your response :)


























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  30. Thanks for your very helpful thoughts for Vivian, Stacy! And yay! Another YA dystopian lover! You are the first commenter today to chime in on this. I loved The Hunger Games - that was the first of this type I read. Now I've read so many! :)

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  31. Yes I would read it. Great story idea and plot. Excellent pitch Vivian. I would like to know more about the job, but you may have revealed it in your title. If so, I would leave it as is.
    Susanna, send the some blueberries my way! I devour them -- unless of course it is to risky with the bears! LOL

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  32. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Pat - I know she will be happy with your enthusiasm :) And there are plenty of blueberries up here for bears and people. Maybe you should come visit :)


























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  33. Carmela LaVigna CoyleJuly 31, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Wow! Nature AND chocolate on Blueberry Hill. Lucky you!!


    I love the nostalgic tone and premise of Vivian's pitch!


    I hope I'm not going to confuse the issue from other advice — successful pitches can go so many different ways. That said, I would suggest she start the pitch with some kid drama. "Peter needs money for a bike. Fast!"
    As Penny and others mentioned, Vivian could trim some words. I agree Rachel/Julie/Penny's advice to reveal the flavor/tone of the story in the pitch. She could use key words to easily convey Peter's entrepreneurial candor. My little next door neighbor uses the word "cash" instead of money. It makes me chuckle. Sounds like a cute story!! Good luck Vivian!

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  34. Thank you so much for stopping by to help Vivian with her pitch, Carmela! And please help yourself to as many cookies as you'd like :)


























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  35. Sounds like a good one to me. A good lesson for kids in saving and setting goals. The pitch is nice and tight.

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  36. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Vivian, Delores! :)



























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  37. Any suggestions? I'm new to YA dystopian and am still catching up.

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  38. Great pitch, Vivian. Yummy cookies.

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  39. Thanks so much, Nancy! Yes, Susanna provides the best treats.:)

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  40. Delores...I appreciate your kind words about the tightness of the pitch...that means a great deal to me because I am usually so WORDY!!!!

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  41. Carmela...what GREAT insights and suggestions...I love the 'cash' instead of money...makes it more current! And I agree with you and the others that starting the pitch with some kids drama would make it better.:)

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  42. Hi Pat! Wish I still lived at the 'blueberry' house in Connecticut...we had over 100 blueberry bushes in our backyard.:)

    So glad you liked the story idea and pitch...the job that earns him the needed cash is going to have to play off his fascination with and love for tomatoes.:)

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  43. Peter (in real life, my younger son) was an amazing entrepreneur as a kid...one Halloween, he went to school with those wax lips that he bought for a nickel each and sold them for a quarter...of course, we didn't know anything about it until we got a call from the principal.:)

    I really appreciate your thoughts and questions...they will help me think more clearly about where the story should be going. :)

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  44. Hi Rosi...Thank you so much for your kind words...I'm glad you feel that kids would relate to this story.:)

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  45. Coleen...you are right...when I think about all the things I've done in my life, it doesn't strike me as the description of a timid person. However, I think we often carry into adulthood the tags and labels we were given in childhood. :) And that is how it is with me.:)
    And I'm still looking for ways to boost the contents of my piggy bank.:) :) :)

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  46. Oh, Teresa, you made me smile sooooo much!!! Thank you...I'm happy you liked it and I appreciate the suggestions about improving the pitch. Personally, I LOVE a pitch with a question at the end...but always heard that many agents don't.:) And then I read a winning pitch that got an agent and a contract and...it has a question.:)

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  47. Pam...those are all EXCELLENT questions! Yes, the series all about Peter and how tomatoes (which the real Peter LOVED) played an important role at different times in his childhood. Each story can stand alone...and in this one, tomatoes will eventually help him earn the money he needs for the new bike. And that is a good point about 'the six-year old'...maybe I don't have to put his age.:)

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  48. Penny...your insights and suggestions are going to help make this a much better pitch! Love the image of the coin dropping straight to the bottom.:) Thanks for your help!

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  49. Julie...you are a dear! I am blessed that people of your writing caliber say they would read anything I wrote...oh my goodness.:) I appreciate the suggestions and will take them to heart!

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  50. Thank you so much, Wendy! With the other titles in this series as well, there were always questions about 'why tomatoes'? You make some really valid points...and I may have to either rethink the title...or definitely make it clearer in the pitch.:)

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  51. Thank you so much, Erik! I'm glad you liked the idea of a young kid being willing to work to get something he wanted.:) And thank you for the kind words about the pitch.:)

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  52. Hi Rachel...I really appreciate your comments about what the tone of the story will be...that will help me move in the right direction as I revise and polish it...I need to be clear with what I am doing...then, perhaps, I'll be able to make it clear in the pitch.:) Right now, I'm leaning towards humor and heartwarming.:)

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  53. So glad you liked the story idea, Catherine! And I appreciate your feedback...I love the 'fast' at the end also.:)

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  54. That's great that you would turn the page, Sue! It's what we all want to get people to do, right? I appreciate your positive feedback! :)

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  55. YES! Thanks so much, Linda...Peter is a real kid...and he definitely had quite a few genuine problems while growing up.:) Can't wait to get down to Angela's suggestions...everyone has been referring to them.:)

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  56. WOW! Love your shuffle, Angela! I appreciate your kind words about the pitch...but you made it better. :)

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  57. Hi Susanna, What beautiful wildlife! As for Vivian's pitch, yes I would read it! It sound like a story kids can relate to, and is a real-life problem. I wonder if there's a way to tease the reader with some of the things Peter tries to earn money so we get a sense of the mood of the piece? Good luck!

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  58. The Knife of Never Letting Go series by Patrick Ness; Ally Condie's series - Matched, Crossed, and Reached; Lauren Oliver's Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem; the I Am Number 4 series by Pittacus Lore (I've only read the first, but it was good and I've got two or three more on my Kindle :)); Veronica Roth's Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant (coming out in October yay!); Veronica Rossi's Under The Never Sky and Through The Ever Night (third one not out yet); oh and Daughter Of Smoke And Bone and Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor not sure when the 3rd is coming out but wish it would hurry up! and also Skin Hunger and Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey, third one coming out in a year or so.... That's all that comes to the top of my head just now, but probably more than you bargained for :)

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  59. Thanks for your comments for Vivian, Pam! And I am very lucky to live in a place where all this wildlife wanders by! :)

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  60. You have one smart kiddo, Vivian! That’s what…400% profit? (Such an English major.) A great basis for a business—and a PB!

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  61. Are you kidding? I lurrrve long reading lists. Thanks, Susanna!

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  62. Hee, hee, this is the first but hopefully not that last time someone says something so fine about my writing! I'll cherish this, Vivian!

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  63. I happen to be taking an awesome class this month - maybe you'd like to join me! heeheeheeheehee

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  64. That would be a new one... writing The Black Thumb of Poughquag alongside my class :)


























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  65. There really no rules you can't break in this biz; good luck with the story, Vivian!

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  66. We used to raise domesticated geese but they kept running off trying to get into the neighbors' pool so we had to get rid of them. :P

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  67. I'd like to know what he does to attempt to earn the $. This way, I'll know more about Peter. I know what he wants. I know what's preventing him from getting it. Now I need to know what he does, so I know the plot.

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  68. Good point, Theresa! I'm sure Vivian will find it helpful. Thanks for chiming in!

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  69. Yes, I would read it. The pitch is clear and concise and Peter's motivation is one we can all understand. I am left wondering what kind of job(s) he might try, but maybe that curiosity is good - it would get me to read the book!

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  70. Would I read it? Give me an adorable cover with too amazing illustrations, and I'd be sold.

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  71. I think this is a tight pitch, but it got me wondering what would happen if you flipped the emphasis to something like:

    The Pitch: The annual summer bike relay is only two weeks away, but no matter how many times Peter counts the money in his piggy-bank, it's still not enough to buy the new bike he needs to join his best friends' team. The six-year old must find a quick way to earn some real money!



    Just a thought :)


    cheers


    Linda A. Benson

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  72. Thanks so much for your excellent and thoughtful suggestion for Vivian, Linda! :)



























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  73. Thanks, Crystal! I'm sure VIvian will be thrilled to know that :)

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  74. Wow! Looks like a great summer! I love hummingbirds, and those deer are adorable. Must have been such a treat to see them. And on the subject of treats, you have any extra cookies? Because now I want some.


    The pitch sounds good, too -- like something that would interest six-year-olds because many of them are in similar situations.

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  75. I always have extra cookie, Caryn :) Help yourself :) And thanks so much for your comments for Vivian!

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  76. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Vivian, Ruth, and I'm sorry this notification seems to have gotten lost in my inbox and I'm responding two weeks late!!

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  77. Thanks so much, Caryn...so sorry I have been late to respond to your lovely comment. We are moving next month...and this month is devoted to...going through DECADES of accumulation.

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  78. Linda...I so appreciate your help in making the pitch better! Sorry I did not see this comment until now...packing for our move has been somewhat overwhelming.:)

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  79. I want that adorable cover, too! Thanks for your comment, Crystal. :)

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  80. I, too, am responding late...we are in the midst of going through cabinets and drawers and closets...listing stuff we don't need/want on Craigslist...answering emails from people who want to come to see the items...time-consuming...but wonderfully freeing as well.:)
    Thank you so much, Ruth, for your wonderful comments...it's always a question...should we tell...or keep the curiosity going.:) I appreciate your kind words.:)

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  81. Thanks so much, Theresa...I'm going to see how to add a little about what Peter is planning, without giving away too much!

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  82. Pam...you and others are looking for a little bit more about how Peter will earn his money...I agree it would add interest to the pitch...now I just have to figure out how to, as you put it, 'tease' the reader.:) :) Thank you so much for your help.

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