June 4, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday # 136 - Sprinkles Goes To School (PB)

Good Morning, Peeps!  Happy Wednesday!

As y'all know, I am frantically trying to prepare for the SCBWI conference this weekend - finishing critiques and preparing my presentation - and the upside of this is that I have no time to talk your ears off!  So enjoy this remarkably short post for WYRI!

Today for our Something Chocolate our pitcher requested something dark chocolate and minty - which sounded delicious - so I was happy to comply.  Of course, then I couldn't decide between two luscious-looking options, so we have an elegant and crisp mint chocolate bark


AND


a soft cake with creamy mint filling for those who prefer something in that department.

I, of course, will have some of each :) and I encourage you all to do so as well :)  It's important to keep up our strength, after all!

Today's pitch comes to us from Kimberly who says, "I keep pretty busy working at my local public library, owning a costume shop/balloon store, and working as a professional clown.  Therefore it's sometimes hard to find time for writing!  But it's my goal to focus on it more now which I'm doing by having participated in PiBoIdMo and 12x12 as well as being a member of SCBWI.  I previously had 2 YA pieces e-published though my e-publisher has since closed. 
I look forward to any comments or suggestions others have to share!"
I can be found on Facebook as Kimberly Sprinkles Cowger

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Sprinkles Goes To School
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: The first day of Kindergarten is intimidating for everyone, especially if you’re a clown.  Sprinkles the Clown tries to fit in with her new classmates but when her juggling act for show-and-tell goes wrong all the kids laugh at her, in a way that even clowns don’t like to be laughed at.  When a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and uses one of her true clowning skills to try and save the day!

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 Kimberly 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.)

Kimberly is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to getting all this work finished so I can stop worrying about getting all this work finished and come catch up with you all!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


Reactions:

72 comments:

  1. Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by to consider if you would read my book based on my pitch! Any suggestions or comments on how to make my pitch better are greatly appreciated, I'm always striving to make my work better.
    Thanks so much to Susanna for this opportunity and for not just one but TWO dark chocolate minty recipes--all while you're getting ready for an SCBWI conference! Don't forget to pack your Wonder Woman cape! I hope the conference attendees know how lucky they are to learn from you in person.
    Thanks again for reading my pitch everyone, have a great Wednesday. :)

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  2. I'll take some of each of those chocolatey minty treats. I DO need my strength, Got to get over the hump in this day, after all. Great choice Kimberly and a great pitch for WYRI. I would read it. The pitch contains the essential MC, inciting act and what the MC can do in response. I think it sounds great.

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  3. Yes, it sounds darling. I don't think I've seen that premise before-- clowns and kindergarten. Maybe u can eliminate that 1st sentence by adding the word "kindergarten" in front of classmates in the 2nd sentence. ??

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  4. Have fun at the scbwi event, Susanna. Even though I harbor a fear of clowns (wtg, Stephen King!) this sounds unique and adorable. I don't think the 1st sentence is necessary. Basically it's a definite YES for me.

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  5. Love this idea, Kim! I remember your sensitivity and kindness to our students at MHS, and know this will be an important element of your work. I would love to read this to my grandchildren!

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  6. I would definitely read it - a couple suggestions are, as others have suggested, remove the first sentence and add "kindergarten" to the (now) second sentence, and take out "try and" in the last sentence. It's a stronger statement without those two words. Definitely a creative, unique premise, I think.

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  7. Thanks so much for your kind words Angela, I appreciate it!

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  8. You don't see to many picture books with clowns, I'm hopeful I can change that. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  9. Ah yes, Stephen King as a great writer, but he's ruined clowns for sooooooooo many people! I completely understand that there are many people with a fear of clowns so Linda I appreciate that you could put that aside and give an honest opinion on my pitch! I once entered a contest where the reader wouldn't give me a single comment simply based on the fact that she did not like clowns.

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  10. Best of luck with your SCBWI presentation! I'm sure it will be awesome. Thanks for the yum, too.

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  11. Thanks so much Kathleen!! How great to see you on here! I appreciate your kind words about my work with students at MHS and about my work. Hopefully you'll be able to read this book to your grandchildren someday if I can get it published!

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  12. Thanks for your (and others) advice on tightening up my pitch Joanne. In the world of picture books we have to learn how to make every word count, right?!

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  13. I would definitely read it! I like the suggestions for firming it up. Great job- interesting idea. I've been following the pitches and I think it is very hard to be descriptive, evocative and brief!

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  14. Vivian KirkfieldJune 4, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    Thanks for the minty chocolate...I did enjoy a piece of each. ;) And best of luck, Susanna...you will be GREAT! And they will LOVE YOU, just like we do. :)
    Kimberly...what an awesome story! Love the clown slant to the anxious-about-kindergarten theme! Maybe just a bit of tightening...but it's really a super pitch!
    Here's a thought:
    Sprinkles
    the Clown wants to fit in with her new classmates on the first day of kindergarten, but her juggling
    act for show-and-tell goes wrong and all the kids laugh at her, in a way
    that even clowns don’t like. When
    a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears
    aside and uses her clowning skills to save the day!

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  15. Thanks Teresa, what a good point about repeating a word. Once again, every word counts!

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  16. Arlene, you are correct, getting a pitch to a point where it is juuuuuust right isn't easy. That's why I'm grateful that Susanna does this every Wednesday. I feel I learn from all the ones I see, plus all the comments I'm getting on my own!

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  17. Thanks so much Vivian, I like your way of thinking. I'll definitely be taking everyone's advice for tightening up my pitch!

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  18. It is minor, Kimberly...and the overall pitch is really excellent! :)

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  19. I like the twist on the typical go-to-kindergarten tale. A bi tot awkward wording with "laugh at her, in a way that even clowns don’t like to be laughed at." Maybe "Her classmates laugh in a way that was really not funny." I would read this book. Take out "try," also. As Yoda says, Do, there is no try." Sprinkles does save the day. Good luck,

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  20. Thanks for your comments Kathy. I will try to, umm, I mean I WILL utilize them! :)

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  21. Sorry for my absence. I've been reading to a bunch of preschool and kindergarten classes. I don't see many clown books in my children's section, so that would be interesting in itself. Even better is that it pertains to Kindergarten (which I do a whole display on before school starts and the books fly off the display!) So...another big plus! Start the first sentence off with Kindergarten so it sounds less awkward. Overall, I think it's a pretty good pitch. :)

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  22. I just read through all the comments and lots of really good suggestions were already made, so I don't think I need to chime in and possibly reiterate on the pitch. What I DO want to say, though, is I love the fresh take on going to school. I don't think I've ever seen a kindergarten-age clown before, let alone in a book :) I think it makes for a lot entertainment :)
    I've had ideas for clown-based concept books, but never did them. Maybe some day. It's because I, too, have done clown work, so I guess the brain just goes there, right? Kimberly, was Sprinkles YOUR clown name? :) Or is that for the book? My "name" was Pockets, but I gave that up years ago. It became way too stressful pushing through "the show must go on" stuff on the days my disabilities made that extremely difficult to do. Still, a lot of it was fun and my favorite age group was from about 3 to 5-year-olds because they still have that sense of wonder :) Now I just do the occasional face painting which suits me just fine 'cause I don't have to be "up" to perform! How long have you been clowning?

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  23. Thanks for your comments Brandie, I'm hoping my book could be utilized for parents and teachers with new kindergarteners. The story also touches on bullying, another factor that I'm hoping could make it useful in schools.

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  24. Sprinkles is my own clown name Donna, for simplicity purposes that's the name I used for my character as well! I've been clowning since I met my husband, Sparkles, who's been a clown since he was 6 years old. Believe it or not, it was Santa Claus that introduced us, another clown story I hope to write some day. :)

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  25. I would love to read about a clown at school! But the first sentence tells me it's about first-day fears. But is the core more about fitting into an existing class with one's skill set, or lack of them? If it's not a 'first day' story, I would reformulate the opening. Also, I would take 'try and' out of the last sentence. Sounds like a lot of fun! Good luck!

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  26. And good luck, Susanna - just in case, pack your pockets with chocolate!

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  27. I keep thinking of my dad warning us to "not clown around" at school.... and wondering whether Sprinkles got a similar warning. It would be hard enough on the first day of Kindergarten with a name like Sprinkles... not to mention being a clown kid. I definitely want to know what she does to save the day...

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  28. Thanks so much for your comments Julie!

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  29. That would be a funny addition Sue, however, to cut down on the word count of my story I reluctantly had to cut the clown parents out of the story since they didn't actually add a whole lot overall (but I imagine the pictures sure would have been fun!).

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  30. Oh I hope Sparkles is a character too! How adorable, Sprinkles and Sparkles. Yes, it is a fresh approach to an old problems kids face in a familiar environment. So I envision Sprinkles juggling and things go wrong (embarrassment) then a storm rolls in and the kids are frightened but Sprinkles helps them. Is this a story that is more about kindness than acceptance? Staying true to oneself rather than following the crowd? Like the book Suki's Kimono? I struggle with themes, not sure if there are too many or they should be consistent across characters.

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  31. Kimberly, you have a clever take on kindergarten and a great solution: a clown makes everybody forget the storm. I agree with deleting the first sentence and tightening the pitch, and would clarify exactly how she saves the day.


    e.g.: Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in on her first day of kindergarten. But her juggling act goes wrong, and all the kids laugh--just not in a good way. Then a storm rolls in, scaring all the students, and Sprinkles [performs magic, something specific] to save the day!


    In a more general way, I was wondering how people fit voice into their pitch. I'd come at it via the character's voice, making sure it's in the pitch. How do others do it?


    Have fun at the conference, Susanna! Make sure your students bring a little something chocolate for you.

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  32. Keila I haven't read Suki's Kimono but seeing as I work in a library, I just went and grabbed a copy off the shelf! I'll read it and see how it compares to my story.
    While Sparkles doesn't make an appearance in this book, he may in future books I write!

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  33. Stacy you make a good point. I always seem to get hook, pitch, and synopsis confused. I know one is supposed to make the reader want to read more whereas the another tells everything that happens, including giving away the ending. Can anyone please straighten me out on which one is which???

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  34. Kim PfennigwerthJune 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    I'm quite late joining this discussion but here is my take, I would read it. I think it is a fun concept. I do agree with all the great suggestions on tightening it especially Tina's where kindergarten could be in the 2nd sentence. Sprinkles the Clown only wants to fit in with her kindergarten class. A juggling act gone wrong in show-and-tell has everyone laughing at her in a way that even clowns don't like. But when a scary storm rolls in Sprinkles clown skills save the day. Good luck, Kimberly!

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  35. My brilliant suggestion was to cut the first sentence, and start with the second, with some added details. By 4:30pm, that suggestion has been done to death a million times over. Anyway, I love clown stories, I love first day of school stories, and I love fitting in stories. I would definitely read this. And you are the PERFECT person to write it! Good luck with it.

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  36. This all sounds so serendipitous and charming :) I know I'd love to hear about Sprinkles and Sparkles' "meet cute." :)

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  37. I think the pitch could be tightened a bit, but I love the idea of the story, especially that Sprinkles puts aside her own fears. Yes, I would definitely read it.

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  38. From what (little) I know: A pitch teases you, leaves you hanging, so you want more--like a book jacket. Some agents prefer a synopsis, a summary of the story that includes the end. A hook is the first line of the pitch, a catchy one-liner that reels the reader in. Crazy hard part for me is getting it to "sound" like the book.

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  39. Thanks so much for you comments Rosi!

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  40. Thanks so much Kim!

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  41. Thanks so much for your kind words Genevieve!! I've been having my doubts about this story lately but you and everyone else have definitely give me a confidence booster!

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  42. Thanks for your input Stacy, like I said, I always get those things confused!! If that's the case though I wonder if my first sentence above, which many have said to cut from the pitch, could actually be considered a hook? Guess it doesn't matter too much as the ultimate goal is to find the right editor or agent that likes it!

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  43. Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to read my pitch and make comments and suggestions. Your input is greatly appreciated and immensely inspiring as I've been having my doubts about this story lately. Thanks to all of you I've got a new foundation of confidence to stand on as I get ready to dive into another round of edits on a story that I know a number of people would like to read.

    Thanks again everyone! I look forward to reading and commenting on other people's pitches in the future.

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  44. Catherine JohnsonJune 5, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    Oh I think that's brilliant! And what a busy lady. I'm still not getting posts even if I search for you on Google Susanna. Have a great conference!

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  45. Thanks so much Sue!

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  46. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJune 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    I just had a piece of a chocolate Easter Bunny (it was in the freezer)! :)
    This book sounds good. I like the pitch a lot. I'd read the book! :D

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  47. Thanks Erik!

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  48. No Easter Bunny ever lasted that long at my house - freezer or no! :) Thanks for your comments for Ms. Cowger :)

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  49. Oh no! Why are you not getting posts? Here I go, hating technology again!

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  50. Thanks so much for your comments for Kimberly, Genevieve! :)

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  51. Thanks for chiming in for Kimberly, Kim! :)

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  52. Thanks for your very helpful comments for Kimberly, Stacy! And what a great idea! Make the students bring chocolate! :)

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  53. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Kimberly, Keila!

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  54. Thanks so much for chiming in for Kimberly, Sue :)

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  55. Thanks for your thought-provoking comments for Kimberly, Julie!

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  56. Thanks so much for making time to come over and help Kimberly, Brandie! :)

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  57. Thanks for stopping by to help Kimberly, Kathy!

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  58. Thanks for your very helpful comments for Kimberly, Vivian, and for your (probably misplaced! :)) confidence in me :)

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  59. It's very hard indeed, Arlene! Thanks for following along, and for your comments for Kimberly!

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  60. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Kimberly, Teresa! I wish you would be there too - a friendly face would be nice - or, it might make me more nervous :) Ya never know :)

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  61. Thanks you, Sheri! And you're welcome :)

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  62. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment for Kimberly, Kathleen!

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  63. Thanks so much for your positivity for Kimberly, Linda! :)

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  64. Yes, Angela! You certainly DO need your strength! And thanks for your comments for Kimberly!

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  65. Right on schedule after the whole conference week thingy... but you're very welcome, Kimberly! I'm so glad if it was helpful! And I think a Wonder Woman cape would be VERY useful! :)

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  66. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJune 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    It was about 2 feet long. :)

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  67. Yep. Still wouldn't have lasted around here! :)

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