July 23, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #143 - Love, Emmett (PB)

Well, folks, here it is Wednesday again!  What a week it has been, and not a good one.

I like to keep things upbeat around here, so I won't depress you with details.  But I haven't got the heart for high jinx and shenanigans today.  Instead I'll just ask that if you have kids and they're near, give them a hug.  If they're not near, call them and tell them how much you love them.  Take a moment to be grateful if they're alive and well, even if sometimes they try your patience, and if they're old enough to be driving, remind them, even if they roll their eyes, that motor vehicles demand respect and caution at all times - at least twice as much respect and caution as they think.  Then hug them again.  And maybe once more, just because you can.

And now, I will be having at least two helpings of Something Chocolate, and I recommend you do the same.  Celebrate the good!  I picked something delicious and chocolatey but also delightfully cold since it's going to climb well into the 90s today.  Two layers of decadent chocolate cake with a layer of vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between all topped with hot fudge!  Really, what could be better than that? :)  Maybe chocolate ice cream in the middle :)
Milo Ice Cream Cake
http://www.brit.co/ice-cream-cakes/
Now that we have all enjoyed a sustaining snack, let's get right to Would You Read It.

Today's pitch comes to us from Erin who says, "My name is Erin. I have a degree in Biology, a job that has nothing to do with my degree, and an insane urge to write, which has nothing to do with my job! A couple of years ago, I discovered a box of books I had saved from my childhood and realized I wasn't pursuing my passion. I started writing picture books, taking online classes, and trying to learn my craft. And this year I've committed to putting my work out there for critique so I can eventually get to the next step--submission!"

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Love, Emmett
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Emmett loved books so much that he eventually loved them to pieces…literally. Going on daily adventures with a little boy will do that to a book. After his favorite one falls apart, Emmett saves the one remaining page to remember the book by, only he can’t seem to get the story quite right. When Emmett’s teacher asks the class to share their favorite books, Emmett must decide how to tell the book’s story. But his love for the book might just say everything.

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 Erin 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!

Erin is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to spending time with my family, including my sister and brother-in-law and my niece and nephews who are arriving this afternoon for a two week stay.  After this week, time with family is exactly what I want most.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)


Reactions:

89 comments:

  1. I wish I was an editor and not only would I read this - I would buy this. The words didn't matter because I could feel the emotion. Great job, Erin (from one fellow former biologist to another :) )

    Susanna-I hope everyone is safe! My heart twisted reading what you wrote.

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  2. Frances Moshos KalavritinosJuly 23, 2014 at 9:54 AM

    I would read anything about a boy who loves books. And I'm intrigued to find out what story it is that Emmett loves so much and must retell. As a metaphor, that resonates on many levels. Susanna--prayers for you and your family.

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  3. I would read this for sure. It sounds like it would make a great picture book. The end of the pitch works perfectly because I can't guess at how the ending turns out. And I want to know!

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  4. Yes! And what a great premise for a book--the love of reading. And the fact that the main character is a boy makes it even better, helping to encourage boys to read and getting away from the stereotype that girls are the ones that love to read.

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  5. Thank you so much for the kind words, Wendy! I appreciate you taking the time to offer feedback.

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  6. Thanks, Carol! The ending came to me first, and it was fun to work Emmett's story backwards.

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  7. Thanks, Kristi! It was important to me that the MC be a boy for all the reasons you mentioned.

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  8. Erin, good for you, getting your stories out into the world. I love your theme and the unique story you have to tell! I think editors will be as hooked as we are, because we are all in love with books. I would definitely read this!


    You have set up the character and the story well. The pitch might be a little out of balance:spending a lot of time telling us about how much Emmett loves books in general, rather than giving clues to this specific story. Also, the first and 3rd sentences focus on emotion, rather than action like the 2nd sentence. Maybe a bit more show and less tell, as you would in your story. Perhaps also consider dropping the phrase "to remember the book by" - your strong characterization makes it unnecessary.


    Is the last line a bit too sentimental? A bit vague? Does it convey enough of your ability to tell a satisfying ending? Is it linked strongly enough to the previous sentence which contains your hook?


    I'll be so excited to see where this story goes. I think you've got a very worthy idea here. Best wishes. Have fun with it!

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  9. That's cool. I sometimes get to the end of my story and don't know how to end it, even if I thought I knew what it was when I started writing. It would be fun to write a story from the ending on back to the beginning.

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  10. This is why I needed another set of eyes on it! Emmett's story is emotional for me, and I think that made me fall in the "telling" trap a few times in the story itself. And I can see what you mean in the pitch as well. I appreciate your feedback very much, Joanne!

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  11. I'd like to buy this book right now! We have a few books on our shelves that are held together with tape. This tugged at my own I-love-books heart strings. And Susanna, I'm sending you hugs (and hugging my kids). xo

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  12. i agree never say good bye to your kids without saying you love them. Let them know in as many ways as possible that that love is true.

    I would definitely read this. I Love books about boys loving reading. but these words "Going on daily adventures with a little boy will do that to a book." shift the POV from the boy to the book. I would try and keep the same POV through out.

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  13. Susanna, first I want to say that, from what you did say here, I hope it wasn't a serious tragedy that happened, but I fear it was :( I pray whoever's been affected, they get through it all as best they/you can.
    And as far as the pitch, I'm trying to cut back (unsuccessfully) on my social media time so am not examining it as far as wording, etc. and I'm sure others already have :) BUT I WILL say I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the premise, Erin! :D

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  14. Hi Susanna, I hope your week is going better now. It sounds like it's been harrowing. I sent my son off to a BMX camp today where they're driving in a van for an hour and a half or so each way. Then, of course, there's the actual BMX jumping and racing about in between and maybe a swim in a lake. You give them your love, send them off, and hope for the best. Best wishes to you and yours.

    Erin, As a mom of a boy who loves his books to pieces, I LOVE this idea. But I'd suggest you delete the second sentence and show the reader just HOW he loves those books to pieces. Then I'd delete the last line, leaving the reader to wonder how he decides to tell the book's story.

    Can't wait to see it in print!

    Jilanne

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  15. Our shelves are the same! Thanks, Coleen.

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  16. Very helpful. Thanks for the feedback, Clarbojahn!

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  17. Thank you, Donna Marie!

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  18. Big hug for you too, Susanna! My son liked such a cake for his birthday in April - when it wasn't snowing!

    Yes, I'd read Erin's book about books, adventure and story-love! I would suggest tightening the pitch (the second sentence could be omitted w/o losing too much) and adding more of the story's flavor/voice - try adding a sentence (or part of) from the text that you really 'love to pieces'. Good luck!

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  19. Rene` Diane AubeJuly 23, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Susanna, so sorry for your very difficult, heartwrenching week. I will remember you in my prayers. {{{HUGS}}}


    Yes, Erin, I would read it. I want to know how Emmett shares his favorite book with his class when he only has one page to remember it by!


    I wonder, though, if you can tighten it up by combining the third and fourth sentences into one idea. Would this make it more intriguing and more of a tease to get the editor to read the manuscript? I agree about the POV with the second sentence and leaving off the fourth altogether. I hope that's helpful. :)


    Thanks for another delicious dessert, Susanna! :)

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  20. Prayers have been said for you and your family, Susanna. Hang in there. Tomorrow is another day.


    Pitch-wise, I LOVE the idea of a boy loving his books to pieces. I agree with the commenters who said to cut the last line. But I happen to like the second sentence and I vote to leave it in - books going on adventures - what's not to like? Good luck with this one, Erin.

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  21. Adding my hugs for you, Susanna...and sending lots of good thoughts too!

    Thank you for the yummy looking cake; if I could trade it in to make everything better with you, I would.

    What a sweet pitch this is. I would love to read Erin's book because if my older son weren't such a little fuss-budget and handles his books like they were fine china, he would have loved his books to bits too. :) I suggest changing the "one" in "saves the one remaining page..." to "last" -- i.e. "saves the last remaining page"(just so that "one" is not repeated twice in the same line). The last line of the pitch is intriguing but vague, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. Good luck to you, Erin!


    More hugs for you, Susanna!

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  22. Catherine JohnsonJuly 23, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I adore the pitch! So sorry you've sad stuff going on. I'm always deeply affected by sad news. *hugs*

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  23. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea! It's familiar, it's a fun twist on an idea, and something everyone will relate to. I couldn't quite tell hold old the MC was from the pitch, but that might not make a difference. I do think the first sentence could be shortened--you don't need the first phrase as the second seems like enough. :) Good luck!

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  24. I typed and deleted that last line numerous times, so your suggestion is food for thought for sure. Thanks, Jilanne!

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  25. Great advice, Julie. Thank you!

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  26. Very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to offer feedback!

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  27. Thank you, genevieve!

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  28. Good suggestion about the word "one." Thank you for the feedback, Teresa!

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  29. Thank you, Catherine!

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  30. Hugs Susanna.


    Erin, Yes I would read. The concept of a little boy loving his books to pieces is a winner. As others have suggested, the pitch could use a bit of tightening-- I am by no means a pro at writing them, but thought I would take a stab at a possible revision. I have found this to be helpful when others have offered the same to me -- it seems to unlock my brain and allow me to draft several choices ( not sure if this is a much shared brain lock phenomenon, but it definitely happens to me -- i write it, i know what i want it to convey and so it does -- or maybe not). That probably makes no sense at all, but anyhow, here is a rewrite offered as a 'brain key'.


    Emmett loved books so much that he eventually
    loved them to pieces. With one page remaining to his favorite book, Emmett must
    decide how to tell the book’s story.


    Best of luck with this.

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  31. HUGE HUGS, Susanna! :0)


    Erin, I love the pitch, would buy the book and read it over and over to pieces! You go, Girl!

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  32. The pitch has made me curious enough about the book that I would say I’d read it. It sounds like a wonderful idea. I think it would be a good idea to write the whole pitch in present tense. I can’t help but wonder why Emmett would only have one page left of his favorite book. What happened to the other pieces? I don’t get a sense of what’s at stake if Emmett can’t figure out how to tell the book’s story. Not that it is a requirement that a pitch include that type of information, but for me personally, I’m looking for information that makes me “feel” something related to Emmet’s challenge and something that raises questions that would compel me to open the book. I hope this helps. A story about a child who loves his books to death is a great concept.

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  33. Oh my gosh, NOW I am starving! Chocolate!!!! I also am curious enough to want to read the book, but I really want to know more, like Alayne Kay Christian said about why it is important the Emmett can't tell the story right or only has one page left. That in itself is intriguing. I would try to condense the pitch to the essentials and give just a peek more at the plot.

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  34. Kim PfennigwerthJuly 23, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    It has been a very crazy month for me so I am sorry for missing some of these posts. Susanna, sorry for what sounds like a very rough week. I have also sent prayers and hugs. The ice cream cake looks delicious and it would be lovely to share a slice. For the pitch - I would read it. The first line is wonderful and I agree with everyone else that the 2nd could go and the rest need tightened and a bit more of the character's voice. And let us 'see' the ending or have a better sense of it. So we are really hooked :) Good luck! It's a great concept!

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  35. Whatever is going on, Susanna, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family always. And though my Chipmunk isn't old enough to drive, I will make sure to give her hugs and kisses.


    The chocolate offereing today is so delectable. DELISH!


    And as for today's ptch, I'm intrigued enough to go for a Maybe because I love stories that involves a love for reading. However, I had to read the pitch a few times and I think it may have to do with not understanding the staks for the story. That could just be me though. Others have commented on tightening the pitch and it could be that, as is, I get a bit lost in the pitch. But tighter, the premise, stakes and direction will be clearer.

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  36. pennyklostermannJuly 23, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Sending hugs, Susanna.


    Yes, I would read. It sounds very cute. I do agree that it would be more appealing if it was tightened a bit.

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  37. Susanna, thinking of you and sending you cyber chocolate.

    I like the idea behind Erin's pitch, but I think it could be more succinct. Maybe take out the second line, since it doesn't add much? That might help tighten it up.

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  38. Sending you lots of prayers, Susanna. So sorry for your difficulties.

    Definitely a cute idea - I also want to give it a maybe. Intriguing idea, I think, but wordy and vague in places. Taking out the second sentence and condensing the last few would help - as would raising the stakes a bit - and clarifying last sentence.

    Just a thought - could you start somehow with Emmet walking around with that one page? Something to consider.

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  39. Sorry to hear bad news. Great advice to hug and love and remind us about cars. Drivers of all ages need to be reminded. I'm short on time, so I haven't read other comments. The title really intrigues me, because it seems like a sign off for a letter or note: "Love, Emmett."Does he write a love letter to the book? I don't think you need the first line in the pitch, focus on the heart of the story his favorite book and that one page. I also wonder why he can't remember the story? If he loves the book/story so much, one might imagine he can recite it without having the book. For me as an adult, "things" are sometimes a great trigger for memory, so I wonder if the page is a trigger for Emmett to remember the book and its story in all the senses? Good luck.

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  40. Dearest Susanna - you know my heart is with you and your family - I will keep you in my prayers.

    Erin, I would definitely read your story - I love the concept of a boy who loves a book so much that it falls apart from usage. ;) I think it would help to work some details into the pitch - here's an idea - but without the details - maybe you can pop a couple in. ;)

    After his favorite book falls apart, Emmett saves one page, only he can’t remember the story quite
    right. When his teacher asks the class to share their favorite
    books, Emmett must find a way to tell the story and ultimately discovers that his love for
    the book might just say everything.

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  41. Thank you for the suggestion, Wendy!

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  42. Thank you for the revision, Teresa! That gives me ideas for tightening my pitch.

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  43. Thanks for your kind words, Donna!

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  44. Trying it in present tense is a good idea. Thanks for the feedback, Alayne!

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  45. Thank you so much for the feedback, Maria!

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  46. Thank you for the suggestions, Kim!

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  47. Thank you for the compliment and revision suggestion, Stacy! Much appreciated!

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  48. Thank you for the feedback, Angela! You've given me good food for thought.

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  49. I definitely need to work on tightening it. Thank you for the feedback, Andrea!

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  50. Great suggestions for tightening my pitch. Thank you, Joanne!

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  51. Imagining he could probably recite the story is something I struggled with a bit while writing the text, so I'm glad you mentioned it. It's definitely something I should revisit in my story and pitch. Thank you, Stacy!

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  52. Your revision helps me see how my original pitch is a bit wordy. Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback, Vivian!

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  53. sending you a virtual (and chocolate-smudged) hug, Susanna.
    Now for Erin's pitch: I would def. read it. My only thought is maybe one favorite book he loves to death? And reads and re-reads. Then I can see him taking that book on some adventures and ending with a tattered, muddy page for book-sharing at school.

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  54. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJuly 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Oh my. I hope it all works out, Ms. Hill.
    The book sounds great. I would definitely read it! :)

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  55. Susanna, I sure everything is okay with your kids.
    I love the idea of a boy reading a book to pieces. Yes, I would read it!

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  56. Oh Susanna! Hoping and praying that
    your kids are fine. Had to stop by to say that. Your yummy chocolate pic always makes me hungry and your words are a delight! I love Erin's pitch and would definitely read it.

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  57. Thanks, LL. I so appreciate your concern and your thoughtfulness in coming over. Thankfully, my kids are okay, but it's one of those but for the grace of God situations. Glad you enjoyed the chocolate and thanks for your thoughts for Erin!

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  58. Thank you, Rosi. My kids are okay, except that they have lost a friend. It's been a sad week. Thanks for your comments for Erin!

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  59. I'm glad you're enthusiastic, Erik - I'm sure Ms. O'Brien will be thrilled :)

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  60. Chocolate-smudged is the best kind :) Thank you, Sue. And thanks for your helpful thoughts for Erin!

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  61. Thank you, Vivian. Such a terrible thing. Every time I think about it, I start to cry. My poor friend, Sarah. Thanks so much for your very helpful thoughts for Erin and your pitch re-wording!

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  62. Thank you, Stacy. I know they have to grow up and leave the house, but gosh it would be wonderful if there was a way to keep them safe always! Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Erin!

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  63. Thank you, Joanne. I'm on the periphery, fortunately - it is my friend Sarah who has the difficulties. I'm sad on her behalf, and because my kids have lost a friend. Thanks so much for your suggestions for Erin!

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  64. Thank you for the cyber chocolate, Andrea. It's helping already :) And thanks for your thoughts for Erin!

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  65. Thank you for the hugs, Penny. And thanks for your helpful thoughts for Erin!

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  66. Thank you, Angela. That means so much. And one day when Chipmunk is old enough to drive, make her promise to never ever drive at excessive speeds. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Erin!

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  67. Thank you, Stacy, you're very sweet. And thanks so much for your thoughts for Erin and your helpful pitch rewording!

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  68. Thank you for the prayers and hugs, Kim. And thanks so much for your thoughts for Erin!

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  69. Thank you for your comments for Erin, Maria, and go get Something Chocolate right away quick :)

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  70. Thank you for your enthusiasm for Erin, Wendy. I'm sure she's thrilled!

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  71. Thanks for the feedback, Sue!

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  72. Thanks for your kind words, Erik!

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  73. Thanks for taking the time to read it!

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  74. Yes, I would read it because I'd like to see what Emmett says to the class and how he handles the situation. I love the idea of a book he loves that much. It sounds like there's potential for character development and growth, too.

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  75. disqus_xkUvROpuwpJuly 25, 2014 at 8:58 AM

    Hope all is well with the kids now, Susanna! Hugs!


    As for Erin's pitch, I would certainly read it! She had me at "favorite book" what a relatable experience!

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  76. Sounds interesting. the pitch almost sounds like 2 books - one about loving a book to pieces and one about a book report. So tying those together would make it stronger and clearer. Also saw this on PW today: Charlesbridge pages through the season with The Boy & the Book by David Michael Slater, illus. by Bob Kolar, the tale of a boy who loves a particular library book a little too much;

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  77. Melanie EllsworthJuly 28, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    So sorry to hear about your children's friend, Susanna.

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  78. Oh what a NEAT idea. I like stories that take sayings and play with them literally... (Amelia Bedelia anyone?????) and this sounds very cute. I would DEF want to read this. I think it's smart too, because the people that you're usually pitching too are book lovers as well, so you've already connected with them in some ways, because they can probably relate! My only comment might be this: I'm wondering if you can do some quick showing instead of telling with the line: "Going on daily adventures with a little boy will do that to a book." Can you maybe give a one or two word example? "Making sandcastles and climbing trees alongside a little boy will do that to a book." I'm sure you'd do it better than that, but I wanted to give an example. Just a thought though, it's a great pitch as it is!!!

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  79. I just want to thank everyone for their helpful feedback. This was such a fun opportunity and great experience. Many thanks to Susanna & her readers!

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  80. For my part you are very welcome, Erin! We are so lucky to have such a great bunch of helpful, generous readers over here :)

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  81. Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions for Erin, Erika! :)

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  82. Well, they always say there are no new ideas :) Thanks so much for helping Erin out, Lauri!

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  83. Thanks so much for chiming in for Erin, Elaine!

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  84. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for Erin's pitch, Alisha - I know she'll be thrilled :)

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  85. I can totally relate to young Emmett. I would definitely want to read this story to find out what his favorite book was and how he put it back together in his own words to share it with others. Great idea!

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  86. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm for Erin, Shar - I'm sure she'll be thrilled :)

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