August 7, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #99 - Karina The Dancer (PB)


So anyway, whose idea was it to let children drive cars?

I'm just asking.

(Oops, sorry - are my white knuckles showing?)

Because really I think it would be preferable if they had to wait until I was in a nursing home...where I will probably be shortly due to the anxiety said driving causes me daily!

First, you have to sit helpless (the very definition of a sitting duck!) in the passenger seat and teach them how to drive, a process during which it is important to stay alert and keep your eyes peeled for danger even though you'd give $1000 to hide under a blanket on the back seat... or better yet, coach them via satellite from the safety of your living room couch :)

But that is far better than what comes next, when they are licensed to drive, and you have to wave from the porch as the taillights disappear out the driveway and hope and pray that your baby returns safe and sound (having also not caused undue damage to persons and property in the great state of New York or nearby Connecticut.)

And then bam, bam, bam - they're all learning one right after another, so we don't even get a breather between kids.

I tell you.  My crop of gray hairs is multiplying at an alarming rate.  This whole kids driving thing is not good for my peace of mind.

You know what IS good for peace of mind?  CHOCOLATE :)  (Do you like how smoothly I segued into that? :))

Just WAIT until you see the chocolate delight I have for you today!  It has been baked specially for you by Teresa - her fabulous French Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Glaze! (and if you follow that link and scroll down to the July 29 post you can get the recipe :) - sorry, for some reason I couldn't get the post-specific link... maybe because of the deterioration of mental function caused by all the driving anxiety :))
photograph copyright Teresa Robeson 2013 used with permission
Doesn't that look YUMMY?!  And it's especially appropriate because Teresa is friends with today's pitcher, so it's kind of like she baked this cake especially for the occasion :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Darshana.  Darshana's special talents by day are solving engineering problems, creating activities for her kids, and concocting ways to spend time with her husband. By night she reads and writes picture books, so one day she can realize her dream of becoming a published author. Check out her book reviews at Flowering Minds, and keep up to date on the latest in the kidlit world by "Liking" her on FaceBook or "Following" her on Twitter.

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Karina The Dancer
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Wanting to be a dancing star like her older sister, free-spirited Karina signs up for Indian classical dance, a structured art form, only to realize her true talents lie in a different dance style.

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

Darshana is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to when all my children are excellent, experienced, accomplished drivers and I don't have to worry anymore... (yeah, I heard it.  I know it comes with parenthood that I will always worry about them :))  So that's not realistic.  Okay then.  I am looking forward to Friday when we are going to have a very fun Short & Sweet!  Sharpen your pencils and get ready for something special!  And that's the truth! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  Happy reading and writing!

(And if you should happen to hear a shriek from the direction of the east coast, don't worry - it's probably just me in the passenger seat while #5 takes her place behind the wheel :))


Reactions:

70 comments:

  1. Darshana, I would read it, and I like it just the way it is. I can picture the illustrations capturing the movements of Indian dance and the beautiful colors.

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  2. Hey, that cake looks familiar! ;)

    I really sympathize with your kids learning to drive experience; our older son got his learner's license over the summer and took classes but he still is clocking in the required hours...lucky for me, hubby is doing the car hours with him. My system can't take the stress!

    And a resounding YES! to Darshana's pitch. It's a concise pitch, covering all the ground that it needed to. It is the perfect logline! As a pitch though it could probably use another sentence or two about one or two things that happen on Karina's way to realization...that could help pique reader/agent interest!

    Great job, Darshana!

    You too, Mom Susanna! ;)

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  3. Thanks so much for your comments for Darshana, Lauri! :)

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  4. Thanks for the cake, Teresa! :) And for your encouraging comments for Darshana and me :)

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  5. Susanna, look at my pic...I went 100% gray in my 40s because my kids went bam, bam, bam into driving too. They are now all totally functioning adults! And I sleep better.
    I would love to read Darshana's book! Love the subject, dancing, and the little sister competition issue. Her pitch is spot on.

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  6. Well, I'm glad to hear it all worked out Linda - I take comfort from that :) If only they would appreciate the agonies we go through wondering if they're okay and remember to call or text when they get there to ease our minds! Thanks so much for your comments for Darshana. If you need me, I'll probably be on my way to the nursing home :)

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  7. Susanna,
    My kids aren't there yet, but I'm already nervous about them driving someday.

    Darshana, For a one-sentence pitch, yes, I would read it. But, I'd prefer a couple more sentences. What happens along the way to make Karina realize that traditional dancing isn't her true talent?

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  8. Susanna, I went through the same thing with three children too! Somehow we all survived. And they're now driving in Germany, LA and New York!
    I think Darshana did a wonderful job on her pitch. I would definitely read it!

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  9. That is why when my kids are old enough, I am having their dad teach them! Hang in there. Teresa, the cake looks delicious. Susanna thanks for letting me put my pitch out there.

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  10. Thanks, glad you liked it.

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  11. Thanks Pam, I understand your point.

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  12. Thank you Linda.

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  13. Thanks Teresa. Love the resounding Yes. :-) I've understood your comments. I think I have been practicing Twitter pitches for too long.

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  14. Really, it is just so nerve-wracking, Pam. I may call the nursing home today :) Thanks for your comments for Darshana! :)

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  15. I'm so glad to hear that both you and your children survived the learning process, Pat - it's very comforting to know! Lord knows when I learned to drive I was perfection and never caused my parents a second of worry :) Thanks so much for your comments for Darshana!

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  16. I learned to drive in a cemetery. My mom figured that "I couldn't kill anyone."

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  17. My husband helps with the teaching too, but I'm more laid back than he is, so they often prefer to drive with me. Teresa is an awesome cook. It's a good thing I don't live next door to her :) And you are very welcome - thanks for being brave enough to pitch! :)

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  18. Why does this not surprise me at all?! You are so funny, Kristen :)

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  19. Oh, don't I know the misery! But I'll admit I've had some luck that both of mine are late bloomers and were not raring to learn! Thanks for the cake, I just might be in the mood to bake today!

    For Darshana, yes, I'd read it, because I love to dance and so does my daughter, but the pitch needs to give me more reason to take it home: is it her spunk that doesn't allow her to learn the discipline of traditional dance, or does something else get in her way? ADHD, two left feet, a wheelchair? I can tell there is a hint, but it's not clear or enticing enough to hook me. Otherwise it seems smooth and tight, so I am certain you will fit that little extra in without a seam!

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  20. Thanks for your excellent suggestions for Darshana, Julie. And thanks for the sympathy-misery :) I have to keep believing it will all work out :)

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  21. We are learning to ride a bike here, since I'm not sure California gives drivers' licenses to six-year-olds. As for Darshana's pitch, I am intrigued. I know that you need to explain that Indian dance is a "structured art form," but perhaps there is a more kid-friendly way to hint a the form's constraints. Also, I'm curious about what some of the action will be. Could you use the second sentence to paint a scene from the book, so we know how she rebels?

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  22. I'm sitting here with coffee thinking how good Teresa's cake would taste! Although I know nothing about classical Indian dance, I'm on the lookout for books from different cultures for my grandkids, and this is a good concise pitch that has me wondering which form of dancing was right for her. And Susanna, the last of my five is not only driving, he's driven for the bus company and is now starting truck driving school to drive the big rigs! So I don't worry about his driving, just about those truck stop temptations...a variation on your theme!

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  23. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikAugust 7, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    I (being 11(ALMOST 12!!!)) am excited and terrified to begin driving. I hope I get over (at least) terrified by the time I turn 16. I have my eye on my dad's blue 1951 Chevy thingy. ;) Where we live, it's unpractical in the winter (it has only 2-wheel-drive :) ), but is awesome anytime else! Of course, I need to fix it up to get it... *mumble grumble* ;)


    I would read Miss Darshana's story. It sounds wonderful! It sounds like I would learn about a different culture. I would like to see the Indian dancing! :D

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  24. Thanks Erik! Look forward to hearing about your driving adventures when the time comes. :)

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  25. Thanks Kirsten. I agree 'structured art form' sounds like a boring technical term. Will have to ponder how to inject some spice and flair into the pitch.

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  26. Thanks Julie for commenting. I agree the pitch is a bit dry right now.

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  27. Catherine JohnsonAugust 7, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Poor you, Susanna, have another slice. I've read this storyand it's quite lively so I think it would be great to end with 'her true talents are rather more unstructured' to leave people guessing and show character.

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  28. Thanks for the sympathy, Catherine :) And thanks for your comments for Darshana. I've had the privilege of reading this story too and it's delightful!



























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  29. Both of my kids are "grown-up", one almost 19 and the other 26. I taught them both the initial aspects of driving. They both started out in empty parking lots. I had them drive around slowly, just to get the feel of things, and then made them weave in and out of the parking spaces before finally having them try to actually park between the lines. Then, and only then, did they get a chance to go out onto the road. So glad I don't have to do that again; just too nerve-wracking.

    Please save me a big piece of the cake; it looks scrumptious.

    Oh, and yeah, I would like to read Darshana's story, for several reasons. First, I was born in India (I am NOT of Indian ancestry; my parents were missionaries there, so I'm always interested in books set in that country. Second, because of the first reason, I think it's great to have children's stories that are not only entertaining, they teach children about other cultures. Third, I'm a klutz when it comes to dancing, so I like to learn more about the art form. And, fourth, I just like her pitch, although I do agree the phrase "a structured art form" needs to be spiced up a bit, and think another sentence would be helpful to describe why Karina doesn't like classical Indian dancing.

    Good luck with this one, Darshana!

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  30. Wow. I thought what the kids did in the bouncy house was scary. Can't imagine cars.

    Dashana, I love a free-spirit! I'd just mine your story to make your pitch's voice stronger. There you'd find free-spirited, fun details, and could paint a picture of Karina using your PB's voice.

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  31. My kid did well when he was learning, but that's not to say that I didn't have to have my imaginary brake replaced many times during his learner's-permit stage. And, it was VERY nerve wracking when he ventured out on his own!


    Yum! Chocolate!!!


    I would read your story, Darshana, but agree with several others that you would probably hook us firmly by injecting "more spice and flair" into your pitch, as you put it in your response to Kirsten.

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  32. I am so glad the driving lessons are in my rear view mirror!



    Darshana's story idea is interesting. Dance for little girls is always popular. It does seem odd to me that she is able to choose a class with no input from an adult. Other than that, this sounds fun.

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  33. Thanks for your helpful suggestions for Darshana, Kirsten! And oh... I long for the days when we were learning bikes! Seriously when did my kids (and by extension, me!) get so old?!

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  34. Thanks for your thoughts for Darshana, Deborah! And yes, I suppose I should be grateful that at least none of the current group is insisting on a motorcycle license like #2... who got away with it because his mother said he could (I'm the evil step-mother in that scenario), but I was the one who made the trips to the hospital to pick up the pieces! #4 thinks a motorcycle is in his future, but not if I have anything to say about it :)



























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  35. Thanks for your comments for Ms. Khiani, Erik! And I'm sure when the time comes you will be a good driver - you are sensible :)

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  36. Thanks Rosi. Oh there is input from the mom and older sister, it's just not in the pitch. :-)

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  37. Thanks for commenting. Time to pull some nuggets from the story.

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  38. Did you live in India at all? I was actually born in Kenya, but only lived there for a few months. My story is actually set in the western world. Karina is a 2nd or 3rd generation Indian living in the US. (hmm, there is actually nothing in the text which would hint to the country. Will have to figure out how to handle that. ) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  39. Thanks Catherine. I like the idea behind your wording. I agree right now it gives away the ending.

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  40. Darshana,



    Yes, I actually lived in India. My parents moved to the States when I was 2 1/2 years old (I have 3 older brothers, 2 of whom were also born in India). The only thing I remember is being on an airplane (which would have been on one of the airplanes we flew in on our way to the States) and going up higher and higher and seeing things on the ground getting smaller and smaller.

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  41. The days of teaching Chipmunk how to drive are in the future, several years away. That is one thing I'm not rushing to.


    The pitch is intriguing but I'm left curious about what makes Karina think she should go another route. I'm thinking of this as a hint of this could add to the "stakes". Adding her age would be a plus for the pitch as well.

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  42. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Darshana, Angela! As for teaching the Chipmunk how to drive, I recommend putting it off as long as possible :)

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  43. I like your approach to driving, Christine :) We are lucky. We live on a really barely traveled road where the speed limit is 15mph, so our kids all get to try their wings initially in relative safety. But eventually we must leave our lovely little road and venture into the real world... sigh... if we want to actually GO anywhere :)


    Thanks so much for your comments for Darshana!

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  44. Thanks for your advice for Darshana, Stacy! And yeah... driving leaves the bouncy house in the dust! I long for the days of the bouncy house :)

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  45. Mine seem to alternate between caution/fear, and abounding (and unmerited!) confidence. It's terrifying :) Enjoy as much chocolate as you like, Penny - you know there is always plenty around here! - and thanks so much for your comments for Darshana!

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  46. Hahaha, Rosi! The rearview mirror :) Lucky you! :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Darshana!



























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  47. disqus_bENDymTlMvAugust 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    I am not looking forward to my kids driving. I get a bit nervous when they are wielding finger paints! :)


    Darshana, I would read it! Sounds cute. And I think most kids can relate to wanting to be like an older sibling or a friend. I am wondering about the tone of the book. Is it funny? (I can see my free-spirited daughter inserting random dance moves into the structured dance when the spirit moved her. :D ) If the story is funny your pitch might want to illustrate that a bit perhaps? Take that with a grain of salt, I don't know what I'm talking about. :D

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  48. Hi! I love the idea behind the story and the subject matter, so yes I would read it! I do think the pitch falls a little short of the promised free-spirited Karina. After all, if she's free-spirited, why pick a structured dance? Or do her parents sign her up for that and she is initially excited but then realizes she doesn't fit? And is it the same dance her sister does, I assume (but don't know)? I like that you kept the pitch short, but I do think we need to know a little more, or maybe it needs to be just introduced a little differently. Good luck!

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  49. Susanna, I empathize with you, it won't be long for my oldest will get his L-plate. I am going to need heaps of that chocolate cake to soothe my nerves!

    Darshana,
    I love your blog, and I liked you Facebook page, can't believe I didn't check those out earlier!
    You have had plenty of great feedback on your pitch already and I don't have anything insightful to add. Of course I would read it! I would try to inject of Karina's spirited character into the pitch to totally wow an agent or editor.

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  50. Susanna, we are at two ends of the parenting spectrum, aren't we? Me with my seven-month-old and you with yours learning how to drive. That thought makes me nervous already. Who knows what the roads will be like in 16 years! LOL


    Darshana, I like the sound of your story. I agree with Wendy below about to continue to fine tune your pitch to really get people's attention. :-)

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  51. Hi Darshana. My daughters love stories about dancing so I'm sure they'd enjoy your story. Perhaps you could start your pitch with: Free-spirited Karina wants to be a dancing star like her big sister. However, after .... Karina realises her true talent lies in a different dance style. Maybe you could add in a sentence about an adventure/problem she encounters?

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  52. Yes, definitely lots of chocolate :) Good luck with that! And thanks so much for your comments for Darshana :)

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  53. Thanks so much for your comments for Darshana, Wendy. Very insightful. I've actually read this story so I know too much to evaluate the pitch objectively and you brought up some important points that someone who hasn't read the story would need to know.

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  54. Thanks for your comments for Darshana, Cally. And as for the parenting things, yes we are! (although I have a 2 year old granddaughter and a new grandbaby due next week so I get some little people time too :)) But who knows? In 16 years, maybe cars will be hovercraft and maybe they'll be so technologically advanced that you can't have accidents :)

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  55. Thanks for your very helpful suggestions for Darshana, Rachel! Are you familiar with Kerry's blog Picture Books and Pirouettes? http://kerryaradhya.blogspot.com She has lots of dance books there :)

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  56. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikAugust 8, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    You never saw me on the Bumper Cars! :)

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  57. Um... let's not talk about bumper cars :) You've never seen me on them either :) And the State of New York does allow me to drive in spite of my bumper car record :)

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  58. Thank so much for your helpful comments for Darshana, Meg. And yeah... at least one of mine... well, make that two... who are driving can STILL not be trusted to wield fingerpaint. Guess which two? :)

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  59. Thanks Rachel. I like your suggestion. I second Susanna's comment about Kerry's site. A lot of good suggestions there.

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  60. Thanks Wendy for the great comments. Will have to ponder as I revise the pitch. :)

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  61. Yes there are a number of funny scenes, will see how to work it into the pitch. Thanks.

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  62. I moved to the US when I was 1.

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  63. Thanks for the blog address Susanna. I will check it out.

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  64. You're welcome, Rachel! I hope you like it :)

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