February 19, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #122 - Diary Of A Slinky Kid (PB)

Well, folks, I don't want to brag, but I think it's fair to say I took holding stuff to a whole new level at the video shoot on Monday.

I held a light AND a dimmer switch AT THE SAME TIME!

I know.

It boggles the mind.

Next time I say I can't multi-task, please remind me of my obvious talent in that area.  I know it will be a great comfort to me :)

Speaking of talent (like how smoothly I segued?) it is my pleasure to announce the winner of the December/January Pitch Pick!

And the winner is...

BETH!!! with her pitch for Tomboy Rules: Blossoms Are Always Prepared!

Congratulations on a wonderful pitch, Beth!  It is already in editor Erin Molta's inbox, so I'm sure you will hear from her shortly :)

And congratulations as well to our other 4 pitchers - Rena, Joy, Kirsten, and Stacy - for their terrific pitches!  Great work, everyone!

I'm feeling a little calorically depleted after all that cheering, and I think we all know the best way to deal with that... :)  Something Chocolate, anyone?

Even though it's morning here, somewhere in the world it's later than that, so today our Something Chocolate shall be chocolate soup - perfect for any meal... or snack...! :)
From the Soup Chick (recipe included)
Today's pitch comes to us from Julie G.  With her background in pediatric nursing, Julie Anne Grasso spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them in The Adventures of Caramel Cardamom Trilogy. After participating in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo in 2013, Julie has been furiously developing her picture book manuscripts. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle.

You can find her around the web at:

Website: www.julieannegrassobooks.com

Blog: http://www.whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Anne-Grasso-books/287496411357122

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jujuberry37

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Diary Of A Slinky Kid
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)
The Pitch: Herman wishes he was just like everyone else, but as his mum points out, “There’s no escaping your genes.” Sure, he has the right number of fingers and toes, but when all the other kids are gazing at their belly buttons during gym class, Herman is hiding his coil shaped middle section under his t shirt. 
You see, Herman comes from a long line of Slinky’s. When just another day at school turns into a daring rescue mission, Herman reluctantly reveals his slinky status to save the day. His mother’s words ring in his ears, and for the first time, Herman is glad of it. He finally finds his place in the world.
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 Julie 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 March (which at this point is not that far away!) so polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Julie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to telling you that coincidentally I am a guest on Julie's blog today.  And look at that!  I just told you!  So there wasn't a very long build up of anticipation.  But I hope you will have a build up of anticipation between right now this very second and when you click over to Julie's blog to visit and say hi and see what tomfoolery we are up to over there! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! :)


Reactions:

75 comments:

  1. Mmmmm, that chocolate soup looks delicious, Susanna! (Thanks for including the recipe) :)


    As for Julie's pitch, I am in the "definitely" read camp! I think that the pitch sounds original and fun, although the only thing I may classify is what exactly a "Slinky" is for the reader. (It could be many different things but then again, wondering may also keep the reader reading!)


    Lots of luck on this pitch, Julie!

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  2. Yes - I'm in! For the both the chocolate and especially the pitch! I think Julie hits three fabulous points - She gives us a great quirky hook with the first sentence giving us what the MC wants and his mother's reply. "You can't escape your genes." The second is the high concept so easily pictured - kids staring at belly buttons while he's hiding his coiled middle - ha! - and the third we find out he saves the day and where he fits :) I would definitely add this to my book shelf.

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  3. Yes, I would read this--definitely an original take on a common theme for kids--wanting to fit in and be like everyone else. I like the pitch a lot. My only suggestion might be to be more specific with the "just another day at school becomes a rescue mission ..." I'm hearing that editors/agents actually want to know EXACTLY what the situation IS. Good luck and thanks for sharing!

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  4. Sure, I'd read it. The title is catching, and I like the pitch up to the words, "his mother's status." Maybe the rest can be deleted. Is slinky, like slinky the toy? If so, I can see this as his quirk, sort of like Flat Stanley. In fact, it could become an early chapter book and morph into a series. ?

    The cocoa looks yummy! Have a great day, Susanna & Julie.

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  5. Congrats to you on your personal best in holding things! And congrats to Beth on winning the pitch! As for Julie's pitch, it sounds like a great idea, and I'd love to read it. I think the pitch is quite good, but it would be more compelling if it were shortened and focused more. There are 3 spots where Julie alludes to his difference but doesn't explain what Slinkys are and what kind of powers or special abilities they have. While she shouldn't give away the story, she might hint a little more at it.

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  6. Maybe. ... Herman is
    hiding his coil shaped middle section under his t shirt... I found this sentence took some work to get through. I like the premise, I like slinkys, I like that Herman is going to save the day and find his niche but I had to reread the pitch three times to really get a feel for it. Hope you get to your perfect pitch Julie Grasso. :)

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  7. The story sounds very fun! Sort of a super hero, slinky guy! I would read for sure! In fact, I would be in my car today to go pick it up if it was at the library or bookstore! I love this idea!
    But think it would be better if you could shorten the pitch to one paragraph. Do you need the mom? Is she an active character in the story? Since it takes place at school I wondered if she would be around. If you don't need her to move your story forward, I would suggest removing her. If you do keep her, would kids understand "no escaping your genes"? Would you need to simplify that to something like, "that's what makes you special" or "that's just the way you're made"? They may very well understand the genes reference...I was just wondering.
    Also, kids, as a group, really wouldn't be gazing at their belly buttons during gym class...maybe a random kid would...but not the whole group. Since it is gym class could you maybe have them doing curl-ups or something exercise related? Or maybe Herman has to restrain himself from slinking head-over-heals when exciting the bleachers or running bases in kickball??? Or it would be easy for Herman to un-slink and dunk the basketball or catch the high-fly ball, so he has to concentrate on staying coiled or he will be found out. Anyway, I'm not wording these very well but I think you could have something funny that would be more likely to happen in gym class. Now that I've said all that, I was thinking that if your story is full of slinky silliness that the belly button thing may fit right in! Anyway, it has been fun imagining your super fun idea! I hope I've said something helpful.

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  8. Mmmmm...chocolate soup sounds like that would be so good right about now. And yes, Susanna, you are audaciously multi-task-talented :-)


    I'm on the fence about today's WYRI. I'm intrigued by the Slinky and sort of get that it has something to do with his belly button, but things are a bit too vague on what the Slinky has to do with saving the day. Perhaps with a bit of tightening, like a quick inference to his difference, then a brief mention of the trouble could give the pitch a little more focus on the "why" I should rally behind the Slinky kid. For now, I'd like to but not just there yet.

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  9. Way to multitask like a champ, Susanna! :D And thanks for the chocolate soup....could be even better for you than chicken soup!

    Congrats to Beth; can't wait to see what Erin has to say. :)

    As for the pitch, I would read it because it sounds like a funny premise. But the title sounds too much like the very popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Even if Julie's intent is to spoof on that, I think it's too soon to do so. Spoofing on older popular books is a safer bet.

    As well, genes is a rather abstract concept for ages 3-6...it could work for ages 5-8 though so she can raise the age target, maybe?

    It's also a touch wordy to me. IMO, that whole last sentence can go without ruining the general fun idea of the story and pitch.

    Good luck to Julie!

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  10. I liked this pitch and would read the story; it sounds like fun. I would end it at "...save the day". Congrats on your holding things accomplishment, Susanna. ;0)

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  11. chocolate soup: m-m-good! (and so good for you) Congrats, Beth for your tomboy story... I can't wait to see what Erin has to say about it.
    And Julie - I love (!!) this story idea & would definitely read it. I don't care if a slinky is the traditional kind or something new... I am willing to read more to find out.

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  12. Chocolate soup?! Not sure about this one. But about the pitch - I would surely read it. I do think sentences could be tightened. For example, I don't think we need Mum in the first sentence (or at all in the pitch!). Maybe just:
    Herman wishes he was just like everyone else.

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  13. Just shoveled a miniscule path so we can get in and out of the house...that chocolate soup looks pretty darn good right now.:)
    And so does Julie's story! What fun...when I first saw the title, I was sure it said, "Diary of a Stinky Kid"...the slinky kid idea is SOOOO clever. :) I would definitely read this book! Here's an idea to tighten the pitch up a bit:

    Herman
    wishes he was just like everyone else, but while all the other kids are gazing at their belly
    buttons during gym class, Herman is hiding his coil shaped middle
    section under his t shirt. When just another day at school turns into a daring
    rescue mission, Herman reluctantly reveals his slinky status - (one or two things he does to save the day) - and ultimately realizes that being unique is cool.

    Congrats to Beth...there was fierce competition...all of the stories were great!
    And your interview at Julie's blog was fascinating, Susanna! Thanks for sharing the insider info on publishing. :)

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  14. Gosh, maybe my brain's in the gutter, but when I see "slinky", I think sexy, low-cut dresses in smokey lounges...um. Well, you get the picture. Is slinky a term for an "outie" belly button? I'm intrigued as to how a belly button could save the day, but I'm a little put off by slinky. (Unless it DOES have something to do with a smoky lounge scene. And then I'm definitely reading further!) :-)

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  15. Oh gosh, Cathy! I thought she meant an actual slinky - like the toy! I guess we'll have to ask her :) Thanks so much for sharing your impressions!

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  16. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Julie, Vivian, and for your very helpful rewording of the pitch. And thanks for going to read the interview. I confess I've already forgotten what insider info I shared so maybe I'd better go read it again :)

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  17. Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Julie, Wendy! And really? You have doubts about chocolate soup? It can't be far off chocolate milk... I figure it's got to be good :)

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  18. Glad you're enjoying the soup, Sue :) And thanks so much for your thoughts for Julie - I'm sure she'll be thrilled!

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  19. Thank you so much for acknowledging my multi-tasking awesomeness, Catherine! Now I feel like an Olympic multitasker :) And thanks for your thoughts for Julie!

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  20. Pam, I will tell you my secret. I started by holding one thing. I practiced a lot until I was really comfortable with it. Then, when I felt ready, I moved up to two. It was a tough, but I had prepared will so I was able to handle it. I think you if you follow my training regimen you'll be able to do it too! :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Julie. I just assumed she was referring to one of those slinky toys - you know, like a spring, it can down stairs and stuff - but I'm not sure!

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  21. Thanks for your comments for Julie, Donna, and for your congratulations. Really, it was pinnacle of achievement. I'm still coming off the high :)

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  22. Chocolate soup, huh? We call that hot chocolate where I'm from!

    Congrats to Beth.

    I would read it, but just looking at the pitch length I'd say it's too long. Here is a tightening suggestion.


    Herman comes from a long line of Slinky’s. He has the right number of fingers and toes, but hides his coil shaped middle section under his t shirt. When just another day at school calls for a daring rescue mission, Herman's flexibility might reveal an asset.

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  23. You say potato, I say po-tah-to :) Thanks so much for your thought for Julie, Julie, and for your helpful rewording of the pitch!

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  24. Congratulations to Beth. Erin's suggestions are so helpful.

    Interesting concept for a hero. It certainly will leave lots of room for an illustrator. I would probably read it. I just have trouble picturing the family tree. I agree with prior comments about tightening the pitch and getting Mom out of it. Good luck.

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  25. Chocolate Soup - Yummy!

    Just read the pitch. I would definitely read it but would replace the phrase "there's no escaping your genes.." with ..."you're different." I'm not sure what the phrase "Herman comes from a long line of slinkys" is - (is a slinky a bellybutton - or is slinky a last name - or a way he slinks through tiny holes or spaces?) so that was a disconnect for me -but I knew that however he is different - it becomes an asset to him. Another question - what is his slinky status? His bellybutton? I would clarify this - and be more specific here. I love the premise and love the idea that Herman will save the day - Just think it needs some tweaking. Best of Luck with this! :)

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  26. Thank you so much Beth for chiming in with great feedback. The best way I can describe Herman is he looks like a normal kid, but instead of a torso that is straight up and down, his is shaped like a Slinky toy, making it easy for him to spring up into tall trees and perform daring rescue's, he just hasn't realised his real worth yet. So thanks again and I will do my best to get this across with a tightened pitch.

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  27. Thank you to Susanna for hosting me today. Sorry I am a little late to the party, but it is still the wee small hours of the morning here... I can't wait to jump into your comments, so thanks to everyone for chiming in.

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  28. Thanks Rosi, I hope the illustrator will be able to portray my Slinky family, he he, but I will keep tightening the pitch.

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  29. Golden, thanks Julie, I will be copying and pasting that in, he he. Thanks for stopping by.

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  30. LOL thanks Cathy, I have been toying with the idea of calling it Diary of a Linky Kid, as I have heard Slinky raises a few questions. No there are no smokey lounges etc, his middle section is shaped like a slinky, so he has no belly button at all... I also may have to change it as I have recently realised, that Slinky may be a patented word.... Thanks so much for joining us today.

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  31. Thanks Vivian, that is a great help. Pasting that into my feedback document now he he... I will get tightening....

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  32. Thanks Wendy, yes I realise I have to remove the mum in the equation, as it takes the focus from main character. Thanks so much for joining us today.

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  33. Hurray Sue, thanks for chiming in, yes it is the traditional kind of slinky, but after feedback, I am leaning towards, changing it to Linky, thanks so much for joining us today....

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  34. Thanks Catherine, I have the vacuum to the query as we speak, he he, thanks for joining us today.

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  35. Thanks Pam, as Susanna suggested, yes he is shaped like a Slinky toy, so he can stretch and bounce really high into trees, he he. Thanks for chiming in....

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  36. Thanks Donna, that is a great suggestions, I struggle with how to end things, he he. Thanks for joining us today.

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  37. Great feedback Teresa and I will definitely raise the age suggestion. Yes I was trying for a spoof on a title, but I figure it takes so long to get anything published, maybe I will get away with it, he he, I am leaning towards diary of a linky kid, to eliminate the slinky confusion too.... Thanks for stopping by

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  38. Thanks Angela, great feedback, I will get tightening. Glad you could join us.

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  39. Hurrayy Penny, thanks so much for your think tank, awesome ideas. In the story, they start on the high ropes course in gym, so when you reach up your t shirt springs up and you can see your belly button, but not so for Herman, he is hiding his, as he has no belly button, but instead a torso shaped like a slinky.. he he. Thanks for your great ideas, and that is just what I want an illustrator to do, bring even zanier ideas than I can think of and illustrate them into the story, hurray. Thanks for stopping by.

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  40. Thanks Cecilia, I am tightening it with everyone's feedback so this is really helpful to know. Great you could join us today.

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  41. Thanks Iza, you are right, I have tried to allude too much. It is tough to know how much to reveal, but all this feedback has been so helpful.

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  42. Hurrayyy, Tina, yes it is like a Slinky Toy and yes it could morph into a chapter book. I love the Flat Stanley reference, I had forgotten about him. Thanks so much for chiming in.

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  43. Thanks Anne, great feedback, I will do my best to detail exactly how it is in my next pitch. Thanks for stopping by.

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  44. Hurrayy Kim, thanks for your kind thoughts. I was hoping someone would say this could be high concept, hurrahhh. I know it is a stretch using the word genes, but I figure, I want to stretch kids to help them understand how he is that way, it is because of his parents etc, but that is still ok. Great feedback and thanks for stopping by.

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  45. Thanks so much for stopping by and yes, I will clarify Slinky, as in the slinky toy, but I am leaning towards changing it to Linky, thanks so much for stopping by.

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  46. Thank YOU for bravely stepping up with your pitch, Julie! And no worries about the timing - everyone understands. We're all over the globe :)

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  47. Thank you so much for your help for Julie, Beth! Glad you enjoyed the soup :)

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  48. Thanks so much for chiming in for Julie, Rosi! :)

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  49. What do you put between your toes? Hee, hee!

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  50. Good luck, Julie

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  51. Julie,
    I'd definitely read it. I like the title. BUT, I get the feeling this book is going to be front heavy, meaning it has too much background before you reach the problem. I need to know more about the daring rescue during a normal day. What is the problem at school that Herman faces for which he is uniquely qualified to solve?

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  52. Thanks so much for your perspective, Joy - I'm sure Julie will find it helpful!

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  53. Thank you so much for your thoughts for Julie and your helpful rewording of the pitch, Stacy! And oh boy... I can hold a donut while I eat it, but you're right - couldn't do it for someone else :)

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  54. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikFebruary 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM

    This sounds great! I LOVE Chocolate Soup (or at least, the idea of it)! ;)
    Great pitch Ms. Grasso! I like the idea of it, but how does Herman save the day? ;)

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  55. I would read it. I like the suggestions below about getting the problem out there right away. That said, having a slinky tummy is a hilarious, and unusual super power. So much fun! Good luck with it.

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  56. Is chocolate soup hot cocoa or melted chocolate ice cream? Looks good.
    I would read the story about slinky boy, who comes from a long line of slinkys or slinkies (lose the apostrophe). I'm not sure I like the phrase slinky status. I think pitch focuses too much on his emotions/self-esteem, rather than the action.

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  57. Here's my 2 cents:
    Herman is a slinky. He hides the part of his body that doesn't look the same as the other kids because he just wants to fit in. But when xxx happens, he springs into action and xxx (however he saves the day)

    Cute way to show it's okay to be different! Susanna, hope you didn't strain any muscles in your new endeavor. hehehehe

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  58. I would read it as well. Only concern I had - how did he keep the coils from showing through his clothes and bending too much. Such a fun idea tho.

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  59. You're right, Julie! As long as the process takes, the current hubbub over Diary of a Wimpy Kid would have subsided and your title would then be a clever take on it. Smart! :)

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  60. Woohoo…extra helping of chocolate soup! :D

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  61. Yes, I would definitely read this. When I read "Herman comes from a long line of slinkies," I was hooked. An illustrator will have a field day with this one!

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  62. LOL thanks so much Jill, that's the hope, he he, so glad you could stop by...

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  63. Great point Bev. I picture him wearing a puffer jacket, and wearing very low hanging pants, hehe. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  64. Thanks Belinda, the slinky status has been mentioned before, I will trim it and thanks for the apostrophe pick up, I loathe them, he he, they never go where I want them to....Cheers

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  65. Thanks Erik, I will be sure to elaborate more on the action....Thanks for stopping by, he he....

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  66. Great points Joy, I am not just amending my pitch but manuscript to so this is very helpful. Thanks for stopping by...

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  67. I'm late as in Friday "technically" late. Congratulations Beth!

    So late I'm not reading any other comments...

    Herman has the right number of fingers and toes, but he's different {and doesn't like it??} as he comes from a long line of slinkys. When another day at school turns into a daring rescue mission {who/what is he trying to rescue}, Herman reluctantly reveals his slinky status to save the day. {Does he realize he's comfortable in his own skin/slinky middle/?}

    I'm the queen of failed pitches, but wondering if it can be tightened up. I really like the "right number of fingers and toes" because it immediately gave me a "normal" image and then it's like whoa - he's a slinky? Also not certain about the mother's role throughout the story. She seems like a main character in the pitch. Is slinky a trademarked toy?

    And, I'm a yes. I also love the name Herman! :)

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  68. Thank you so much for your thoughts for Julie, Stacy! You know there's no such thing as late around here - help is help whenever it arrives :)

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  69. Thanks so much for chiming in for Julie, Jill!

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  70. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Julie, Bev! :)

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  71. Excellent two cents, Keila! Thanks for pitching them in. And thank you for inquiring after my well-being. I'm happy to report that although I was a little tired after such exertion, there was no permanent damage :)

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  72. I think either will of, Belinda - any form of chocolate and cream works for me :) Thanks so much for your thoughts for Julie!

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  73. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts for Julie, Genevieve - it does make for an entertaining-sounding story, doesn't it? :)

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  74. My sister and I used to make our own chocolate soup by stirring chocolate ice cream around in a bowl until it was soupy. Then we would pretend it was our medicine and administer it to each other by the (very large) spoonful :) Thanks for you thoughts for Ms. Grasso, Erik!

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