July 9, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #141 - The Trouble With Keeping Vikings (PB) PLUS The June Pitch Pick!

Would you look at this?  It's Wednesday again!  Where does the time go?!

I miss seeing you guys on Mondays and Fridays, but it's a good thing I'm not trying to post 3 days a week right now - I'd never manage! :)

This week I have been to Massachusetts and Maine... where I STILL did not see a real live moose!  Everyone else on earth has seen a moose, but not me.  Nosirreebob!  I think they run away when they see Princess Blue Kitty approaching.  But I'm going to keep on trying!  I have spent many hours sorting through boxes of stuff that came home from college and needs to be washed and packed away for the summer - but don't be jealous - it's not as glamorous as it sounds :)  I got to visit with my daughter and son-in-law and granddaughters over 4th of July weekend, and also with my parents - lots of cookouts! Also lots of blueberry pie baking and eating :)  And today I have a school visit... well, technically it's a day care since school is out for the summer, but same idea :)  I feel pretty certain there's more, but my head is spinning from all the driving and I can't remember :)

So!  Onward!

First, it is my pleasure to announce that the winner of the May Pitch Pick is Todd!  Congratulations on an intriguing pitch, Todd!  It has already been sent to editor Erin Molta and I'm sure you will hear from her shortly!

Congratulations to all our other pitchers as well - you all did a terrific job!  Even with such a helpful and generous crew of readers as we are fortunate to have over here for Would You Read It, it takes a lot of courage to post your pitch for people to comment on.  I know I speak for everyone when I say you are very brave and committed to honing your craft and we all applaud you for it.

Let's skip merrily on to the June Pitch Pick now.

Here are the pitches:

#1 Kimberly - Sprinkles Goes To School - Picture Book (ages 4-8)
Sprinkles the Clown wants to fit in with her classmates on the first day of Kindergarten, but when her show-and-tell juggling act goes wrong, all the kids laugh at her, in a way even clowns don’t like. However, as a storm rolls in scaring all the students, Sprinkles puts her own fears aside and uses one of her true clowning skills to save the day!

#2 Katey - Dandelion Wishes - Picture Book (ages 3-7)
4 year-old Gia and her mother marvel in the changing seasons from their house on the hilltop until dandelion wishes disappear, and with them Gia’s sense of magic. She finds it again in her first experience of snow. A lyrical, share-able picture book at 578 words, Dandelion Wishes celebrates the everyday magic of nature and family.

#3 Amanda - Immortal Island - YA
Seventeen year old Aria Perin spent her life running from her mother’s demons. That is, until her mentally ill mother attempted to commit suicide. Now, Aria has awoken in the strangely familiar parallel world, Immortal Island, where life is eternal and her mother’s imaginary monsters lurk everywhere.
Her arrival has set off a chain of events that leads to the destruction of Immortal Island. The evil ruler seeks to slaughter Aria with hopes of saving her people and regaining her seat of power.
Against his mother’s command the ruler’s son, Julian, vows to protect Aria. He leads her to bargain away the life of an undiscovered sibling to cursed Muses, swim with flesh eating Sirens and cross hell to battle Nymphs of the Underworld all for the obscure hope of returning her home to safety.
As the connection between Aria, her mother and the island becomes clear, so does the true nature of the ruler and friends Aria has made. Her discovery will set both the Mortal World and the Immortal World on a path to complete annihilation. As her arrival brought catastrophe to the island, only her journey to find home can set everything right.

#4 Stacey The Bad Guys’ Breakfast - Picture Book (ages 3-7)

Brave Addie’s not afraid of the “bad guys” at bedtime. No way! But after a spooky night seeing a bear in her chair, a witch by her light switch, and a ghost eating toast—EEEEK!— Addie decides the way to a bad guy’s heart might just be through his stomach. So, she invites them over for a home-cooked breakfast. And when the troupe of bad guys shows up at her doorstep ready to eat, things can only go one of two ways.

Please vote for the pitch you think is most deserving of a read by editor Erin Molta in the poll below by Sunday July 13 at 5 PM EDT.

Many thanks!

Now, I don't know about you, but I am definitely in need of Something Chocolate!  And given the extreme heat, I think something cool and refreshing is called for...

Butterscotch ice cream sandwiched between chocolate chip cookies - YUM!
Recipe here: http://mom.me/food/8552-chocolate-chip-ice-cream-sandwich/

It is VERY hot, so if you need 2 or 3, you know, in the interest of keeping your core at a safe temperature :), please help yourselves! :)

And now that we are thusly fortified and cooled off, let's have a look at today's pitch.

It comes to us from Brandie who says, "In the library story time world I am known as Miss Brandie. At home I am mom, mama, or MAMA! Either way my life is centered around kids...and... books. After reading what has seemed like a bazillion books aloud to children, I decided that I wanted to read one of my own. Thus, my journey into the picture book writing world was born."

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Trouble With Keeping Vikings
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-6)
The Pitch: Having a horde of Vikings come stay for a visit sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong! From snot-snakes to clashing swords, the outrageous antics of these pesky Vikings seem to be never-ending. But who will come to the rescue and bring them under control?

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 Brandie 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 you've got a little time to polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Brandie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to catching up on all the work I didn't do while I was driving around the eastern seaboard!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!!! :)


Reactions:

87 comments:

  1. Yes! I would definitely read it. I love this idea! So much potential for mayhem. I like that you mentioned a couple of the possibilities. I'm just left wondering about the main character. Is it possible to get a mention of him/her, and maybe how the Vikings came to be invited? Good luck!

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  2. Hilarious! I'm sure the story will be a riot (literally and figuratively) from beginning to end. Perhaps you could place the Viking mayhem into context. Is this an all-purpose guide for your readers? Is this a story about one child / family who must cope with the horde?

    Does a visit from a horde of Vikings sound harmless? I would assume a clash of weapons would be typical, but perhaps something more personal? Like, they give your baby brother a haircut with their swords, mistake your poodle for mutton, or they turn your bathtub into a snake pit?

    One last nit-pick, the term "keeping Vikings" makes perfect sense, and I like it, though it may be above the extremely young target audience.

    With your experience, you'll know just how to make those preschoolers giggle . . . now for those pesky editors! Don't worry. Pitch-writing is an art unto itself. I've learned so much from the writers and editors here. You're in good hands.

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  3. Yes! I would read it. Sounds fun and vigorous and energetic. But like the comment below, I want to know who your main character is. The hint here is that it is the person who brings the vikings under control but in a pitch you don't want to just hint. You must say outright. And then tell in an engaging way how he brings them under control.


    Please work on it and give us more. I certainly want more. thanks so much for sharing. :)

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  4. Definite yes. Mayhem abounds, but why are they there, who invited them, and who is bringing them under control? How will you work in the weapons vikings would be carrying to a three-year-old world without glamorizing weapons? Will these vikings be adult vikings or children vikings? I think the latter would be a better fit. The premise does sound exciting, with lots of room for the illustrator to interpret and add in lots of details. Always good in my book. Good luck with this.

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  5. After following along on those bits and pieces of your grand adventures thus far, Susanna, I did feel the need to munch on a few of those chocolatey delights. Thank you.


    Congrats to the May Pitch pick winner and it was hard - and required another delicious cookie sandwich - but I cast my vote for June. It was difficult with each pitch being so unique and intriguing.


    As for today's pitch, I would read it. You just can't go wrong with Vikings. But I agree on enhancing the pitch with inclusion of the main character and what the Vikings were doing there in the first place. Otherwise, I am intrigued.

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  6. Too bad about the moose--that would've been cool! I'm glad you're having fun with family!

    Yes, I'd read this story, Brandie. It's a great premise and something, especially, little boys would find fun! The only thing I suggest about your great-sounding pitch is to change your questions into statements. I've heard statements are better.

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  7. Is it kosher to give suggestions? Viking hordes are fun, but maybe tighten the words for more punch:


    "A Viking Horde visit sounds harmless enough...until the Vikings clash swords, spew snot snakes (what are snot snakes, BTW?) and plunder the toy box (or whatever). Taming this horrendous horde won't be easy but (MC's name and maybe some skill he/she has) might be up for the task."


    It's hard to know without reading the MS, but for what it's worth there's some ideas if you're looking for them. Good luck. It sounds fun.

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  8. I love the idea of Vikings coming over... and causing mayhem. Sorta reminds me of when you invite the hockey team over for a picnic...

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  9. I LOVE to see that every one of the June took suggestions from WYRI? comments to improve their pitches! Stacey I laughed out loud when I read your revised pitch! Good luck to everyone and thank you to anyone that votes for me!


    Brandie I too work in a library so I have no doubt you know what kids would like to read about--vikings are perfect! I agree with a many of the previous comments that the pitch could use a little further explanation to perhaps include the main character.

    I can just picture a group of story time kids loving a story like this--good luck!

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  10. You know, I have never seen a moose in person either, and I'm Canadian...how embarrassing! ;)

    You sure have been having a craaaazy busy summer...do you not need to sleep? LOL!

    Voted and helped myself to an extra ice cream sandwich. I figured you made plenty!

    Brandie, I would read the book today based solely on the title! It's a terrific one. The pitch itself is pretty good too, though I also agree with the others that you need to have a very clear MC from the get-go. We need to have someone (or something if it's an animal or even an object) to connect to. Otherwise, watching a bunch of wacky Vikings is fun, but there's no emotional tie to the story for the reader. Good luck with it!

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  11. Vivian KirkfieldJuly 9, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Glad you had lots of family 4th of July fun and are home safe from college tours, Susanna!

    Brandie - I didn't even need a pitch - you had me with the title! I would DEFINITELY read this - and so will every young kid. :)

    I think, though, that I need a little bit more in the pitch. Is the MC going to save the day? Or deal with the Vikings? Maybe your pitch can begin with the MC:


    MC is excited when a horde of Vikings come to stay at his house. From snot-snakes to clashing swords, the outrageous antics of the pesky Vikings are never-ending. But when (something happens), MC must (what does he do - overcome a fear or whatever) and discovers (the theme or takeaway).

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  12. Alayne Kay ChristianJuly 9, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Brandie, this pitch raises enough curiosity that I would want to read it. The viking theme is unique, and it sounds like it will be an action-filled book with lots of fun kid friendly attention grabbers. However, I think I would like to know up front who is having the trouble with keeping the vikings. I'd like a hint of what he does about it. I know you don't want to give it all away in the pitch, but is there a way of giving a hint to create more curiosity. Rather than ask, "But who will come to the rescue and bring them under control?" What can we learn about the rescuer to make us curious about how he/she gets them under control? This is all assuming that the MC is the one who gets things under control. This is a fun story idea, and I wish you the best with it.

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  13. Oh Susanna! You need to come up my way to Alaska. I'll guarantee a moose... unless it is the fall, and hunting season. Then they are nowhere to be found!

    I would definitely read The Trouble With Keeping Vikings, if only to know what snot snakes are! And Vikings. That's enough for me!
    I agree with other comments in including the MC in the pitch, and also a hint as to how the day is saved. In the eyes of the agent/publisher I would want to know for sure that the MC is the one that solves the problem. Very clever and witty. It would be a perfect read to go with those ice-cream sandwiches! I wish I could snuggle up with my kids and read it right now!

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  14. Vikings! I would definitely read it! Though I would tweak the pitch a bit - i.e., When a horde of Vikings visits (MC’s name) they wreak havoc that calls for a (“hero-sized”; or “creative”; or “?”) solution. Fortunately, MC’s name has a plan to bring those pesky Vikings under control. Best of luck with this great story :).

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  15. Ooooo.....I really like that. My MC is the author. It's written in the first person so I am still trying to figure out how to get that across in my pitch. Thank you for your reply. It was very helpful and much appreciated! :)

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  16. This sounds like a fun read that kids would love. I agree that the main character needs to be more prevalent in your pitch and that there should be a hint at the ending. Good luck. I hope this becomes a book some day so that I can read it.

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  17. The main character is the author so I'm working on how to incorporate that into my pitch. And it's the vikings mamas that save the day! :)

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  18. Thanks so much for your reply. It was very helpful. And I've visited Alaska. It's beautiful!!!! My husband and I were so close to voving there about 10 years ago. :)

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  19. Oh what a funny twist! Love it.

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  20. Thanks for your suggestions! I will def take them into consideration. :0

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  21. Thanks for your helpful suggestions! This is written in the first person so I am trying to figure out how to incorporate that into my pitch. I've read it to 16 Kindergarten class as well as a slew of preschool and the kids/teachers love it! Just trying to figure out how it get it published. :)

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  22. Thanks for your helpful suggestions! :)

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  23. Thanks for your suggestions. Will start editing my pitch to make it more clear! :)

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  24. Sounds like a new picture book in progress to me. :) And thanks! :)

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  25. Thanks for all your awesome suggestions! Every one is much appreciated! :) And snot snakes is a term my oldest son uses when his brother has a very bad runny nose. You know...the nasty, thick green streams pouring out your nose. lol

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  26. Thanks! I will def take that into consideration. :)

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  27. Thanks so much for your reply. I am def taking all the suggestions into major consideration. :)

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  28. Thanks for your suggestions. I've actually read my story to several hundred kids from preschool to kindergarten. They loved it. There is minimal weapon usage and it's pretty much glamourized and only in one scene. The Vikings are adults. The MC is a child, but written in first person. Again thanks for all your helpful suggestions. They are most appreciated. :)

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  29. Thanks for your awesome suggestions! My MC is a child, but it's written in first person if that makes sense. And I will def work on my pitch to get it into tip top shape! :)

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  30. It is NOT hot here in Michigan - high barely in the 70s. NOT complaining! But I will still absolutely enjoy that ice cream. Yuuumm. And good to hear from you, Susanna! NO idea how I will survive August LOL

    And I REALLY liked the pitch - would ABSOLUTELY read it. I haven't looked at the other commenters, but I do have a couple minor suggestions.

    "come stay for a visit" in the first sentence is repetitive - I would shorten it to just "visit." Also, you use "Vikings" twice in just these few sentences - I might change the second on to pesky pillagers (or something like that - though personally I kinda like the alliteration). I also might work your MC's name into it somewhere.

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  31. Thanks for your plethora of awesomness! I've actually made up note cards with pictures on them to go with my book. I've read it to a few hundred kindergartners and preschoolers to all of which have loved it! lol That was the easy part. Getting it published...yeah....I'd rather swim in a pool full of poisonous snakes! lol

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  32. Will def work on that. The MC is a boy child but written in first person so I'm trying to figure out how to write that in my pitch. Thanks for all your help. :)

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  33. Hehe, Kimberly, re: muffins and moose.

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  34. Thanks for your helpful suggestions! :)

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  35. Thanks for all your awesome suggestions. I will def be re-writing my pitch to coincide with everyone's input! :)

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  36. Thanks for your input. I will def take everything into consideration. :)

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  37. Oooo....I like pesky pillagers! :) My MC is actually the author ( a child written in first person) if that makes sense. lol

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  38. Thanks! I will take everyone's input and rework my pitch asap! :)

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  39. I think your pitch sounds lovely - but in a snot snake kind of way. I wish it wasn't "but who..." If the Vikings aren't the main character, then I think we need to know who is.
    Susanna- I actually have ice cream cookie sandwiches in the freezer - I really can have the snack today!!

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  40. Brandie - wonder if you could write the pitch in first person. Not suggesting - wondering. Cuz I don't know if that is a no-no or not. Just giving you the thoughts, no matter how crazy, that come out of my brain. :)

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  41. Hmmm....I don't know, but I will look into it. And I like crazy! :)

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  42. Lots of lovely pitches today! Congrats to Todd and everyone who crafted those awesome June pitches.
    Brandie, I love your title--LOVE it--and the whole idea of "keeping" ornery Vikings. I agree with those who suggest starting with your MC, the boy who narrates the story. The pitch doesn't have to be in 1st-person POV; but it can be from his point of view, how he sees the story, how he would sum it up.
    I've also heard editors and agents don't love questions in the pitch--but, if you answer those questions, it may be a great opportunity to get specific: exactly who the main character is, what the conflict he faces is (love the snot snakes), who does the rescuing.

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  43. Who doesn't have a Viking helmet in their dress up collection?! I would read it. And agree with others about adding a bit more about the chaos and what the mc does to resolve the problem.

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  44. Oh, yes, I'd read it, but WHO has to deal with the pesky vikings?

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  45. Thanks for your reply! :)

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  46. Thanks for all your helpful suggestions. I will def be incorporating these into a new pitch! :)

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  47. Thanks so much everyone for your helpful suggestions. I'm re-working my pitch as we speak. However, I have a question? If my MC doesn't have a name how would I go about describing him in my pitch? My brain has died for the day..... :(

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  48. Thanks for your thought-provoking question for Brandie, Julie! :)

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  49. Dress up collection? Who doesn't have a Viking helmet in their formal wear collection as well as their everyday collection? A Viking helmet is the perfect accessory to every outfit, don't you think? :) Thanks for your comments for Brandie, Keila!

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  50. Thanks so much for your helpful and thoughtful suggestions for Brandie, Stacy!

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  51. Thanks for your helpful comments for Brandie, Lauri! And ooh! Lucky you! The perfect chocolate snack for a hot day :)

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  52. Thanks for your very thoughtful and helpful comments for Brandie, Michelle!

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  53. Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions for Brandie, Annie!

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  54. Water is important in hot weather, Jill - almost as important as ice cream :) Stay hydrated! And thanks so much for your insightful comments for Brandie!

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  55. Apparently you live in the good weather area of the world, Joanne :) I wonder if we need to look at any colleges in Michigan? :) Luckily ice cream is a snack that is good in any weather :) Thanks so much for all your helpful thoughts and suggestions for Brandie - I like the pesky pillagers :)

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  56. I know! Isn't it great how everyone learns and improves? Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Brandie, and oh yes! If I see a moose I will DEFINITELY offer him a muffin!!! :)

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  57. It does sound like tons of fun, doesn't it? But which do you think would smell worse? The Vikings or the hockey team? That's a tough call! :)

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  58. Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions for Brandie, Johnell! And yes! Suggestions are always welcome - that is how we learn! - as long as they are given in a spirit of helpfulness as yours are. Thanks so much for chiming in!

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  59. One of these days I'm going to see a moose... just hopefully not at 60 mph in front of my car! :) Thanks so much for your thoughtful suggestions for Brandie!

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  60. I'm so glad you enjoyed the ice cream treats, Angela! That is why they are here :) Thanks for voting and for your helpful thoughts for Brandie!

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  61. Thanks so much for chiming in with all your helpful thoughts, Sue!

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  62. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with Brandie, Clar! Very helpful :)

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  63. Thank you so much for all your very helpful comments for Brandie, Joanne! I love the idea of mistaking the poodle for mutton :)

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  64. Such a good point, Genevieve! Thanks so much for chiming in for Brandie!

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  65. Come by anytime! It is certainly worth a visit (at least once), and I can promise lots of chocolate. The moose love to be right in the middle of town (no fence is high enough to keep them out). In fact, one came by when we were playing with the kids at a play ground. I put it at the end of my welcome video for my site.

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  66. Oh wow! That is so cool! Now I must come see your welcome video immediately! :)

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  67. Now I've seen it! That was amazing! The moose just walked right by! Was that a big moose or a little moose?

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  68. It was a little one (a yearling) if you can call any moose little. It was close. The kids were safe up at the top of the jungle gym and had a great view!

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  69. I'm late to the game, but I agree with much of what I'm reading here in the comments. The idea and imagery is great - I adore the "snot-snakes," for example! It alsp seems very marketable and fun! However, it would be a much better pitch if it was in a more active voice. You can try breaking it down to ABC's (Actor, Behavior, Condition) - as in "Tommy (A) must convince the pesky Vikings to mind their manners (B) before his mom comes home and finds the mess (C). Keep that very simple and direct, then add the imagery and adjectives you need to give it a voice that matches your story.

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  70. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJuly 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    YES!!! OF COURSE I WOULD READ THE BOOK!!! I LOVE vikings! :D This book sounds hilarious!
    Great food choice, Ms. Hill!
    I voted!
    Erik

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  71. Brandie, I love the idea for this story with Vikings :) I didn't read all the comments as I usually do, so will simply say I'd like to see the first sentence changed simply because "the average person" would never think Vikings would be harmless :) BUT---the MC could, so maybe something like:
    "MC's name" wondered how he ever could've thought a visit from a horde of Vikings could be harmless.
    Good luck with it! And Susanna...those ice cream sandwiches! *sigh*

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  72. Thanks so much for your comments for Brandie, Donna! And as for the ice cream sandwiches, I believe it's the butterscotch ice cream that makes them so especially sigh-worthy :)

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  73. I knew you would like this idea, Erik! :) And the snack! Thanks for your comments for Ms. Reedy!

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  74. Thanks so much for your very helpful suggestions for Brandie, Maria!

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  75. Very helpful, Katey, thank you for chiming in for Brandie!

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  76. Thanks! It is quite comical...or at least I think so. Lol

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  77. Yeah, I thought maybe it was young... hence its visit to the playground :) So awesome!

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  78. Chuckle, chuckle. :)

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  79. This sounds like a really funny book that boys would love. Sure, I would read it. I agree what others have said about having a more active voice.

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  80. YAY! I know it's too late to comment, Susanna, but WOO HOO! I can get here through my google chrome! I'll remember next week! Happy Friday! :)

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  81. YAY!!! It is never too late to comment, and I am THRILLED that you found a way to get through! I hope you're not having to jump through too many hoops! Happy Friday to you too, and an apple for Georgia :)

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  82. Thank you so much for sharing your two cents with Brandie, Rosi! I know she'll appreciate it! :)

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  83. The outrageous antics (snot snakes!) have me intrigued. :)
    I haven't seen a moose! On our road trip though we saw plenty of moose crossing signs. My hub really wanted to see one. I did too, but not on the road while driving!

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  84. Stina LindenblattJuly 14, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    You need to visit me, Susanna. I saw a young moose in my neighborhood last year while I was going for a run. Fortunately it didn't have any antlers yet.

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  85. I would love to visit you! I know you're in Canada though... probably a pretty long drive... :) You'll have to make sure the moose is hanging around if I drive all that way :)

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  86. I know! I want to see one grazing majestically in no danger of a run-in with my car :) Thanks for your comments for Brandie :)

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  87. Ha! Okay. My son would think that was funny.

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