February 13, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #76 - How Many Shoes Does A Princess Need? (PB)

Apparently, this is the week for voting.

Monday, I asked you to choose winners for the January Pitch Pick and Phyllis's Fun Photo Contest.  (P.S.  The vote for Phyllis's Fun Photo Contest is still open through tonight, so if you haven't voted, please do so HERE.  I will announce the winner on Friday after the Perfect Picture Book.)

Oh, and this just in!  Too late to be part of the contest (boo-hoo!) but just look!  Phyllis in a dress!  With Anne of Green Gables red braids :)

photo by Denise Bruce
...but I digress... :)

Back to the matter at hand, today, I have to ask you to vote again because we had a tie for the Pitch Pick winner!!!  Didn't that just happen not too long ago?  You guys are all getting so good at this that we're having a hard time picking winners :)  So instead of announcing the pitch pick winner, I have to ask you to choose between:

#1 Wendy - Civil - MG
Five seventh graders are thrust into a secret time-traveling society and are soon fighting for their lives in the bloody battlefields of Gettysburg. The sensitive jock, popular cheerleader, African transfer student, feared social outcast, and 9-year-old technical genius had better work fast: Their own world is becoming increasingly dystopian and their own school hallways increasingly dangerous.


#2 Linda - The Good For Plenty Bibs - PB - ages 4 and up
When Jake outgrows his birthday overalls, he calls them the "Good for nothing bibs," but Granny disagrees. With a stitch here and a stitch there, they travel through the rest of the kids. When the youngest, Annabella, also outgrows them, even Granny admits defeat: they’ve lost their midnight blue, their October sky blue, and even their milky morning blue. Now Annabella disagrees. With her brothers’ help, and a clever plan, their surprise leaves Granny speechless.

Please cast your vote by tomorrow, Thursday February 14, at 11:59 PM EST.

Now!  On to Would You Read It!!!

Although our Would You Read It snack is traditionally Something Chocolate, today's pitcher sent along her own festive snack!  Look how pretty!  And Valentine-y!  Please help yourselves :)

I could really get on board with this trend of pitchers sending along their own snacks!  Anyone who wants to in the future, please feel free!!!

Today's pitch comes to us from Sue who says, I've been committing environmental journalism for the past (number intelligible) years - Now it's time to hang up my press pass and follow my passion... writing stories for kids. I've got a handful of nonfiction articles in children's magazines, and write about science on my blog, Archimedes Notebook. I also review books at Sally's Bookshelf and for Ithaca Child (a parenting newspaper)
here are those links:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: How Many Shoes Does A Princess Need?
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch:  My sister's closet is stuffed full of shoes.
Mine has so few it looks bare.
Mom says I don't need more than I have,
But what would a princess wear?
This kid carefully documents the sorts of footwear needed by princesses, from frog boots to glass slippers and comes up with the ideal number.

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 Sue 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, so we could really use some new pitches!  It's your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Sue is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to finally getting an answer as to who won the January Pitch Pick!  Please vote, and get all your friends and relations to vote too!  No more ties!!!  I am also looking forward to Valentine's Day, which traditionally involves a great deal of chocolate :)

Have a great day, everyone, and Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!!! :)


  1. I voted!

    I'm a maybe on the pitch but think you have an idea on your hands that would make me a resounding yes if the pitch were polished up.

    To me the pitch doesn't pitch your story. The first thing that hit me is that it doesn't seem logical that a mom would tell her daughter she only needs the shoes she has when the other daughter has so many. Is this a Cinderella type set up where one daughter is treated unfairly. If so, I think that needs to be in the pitch. Otherwise, I don't get a playful feeling from the pitch but rather...my reaction was...How dare that mom!!! Now...skip to the last sentence which seems like an explanation as it stands now, but could become an appealing pitch. To me...that is your hook. If written correctly, to draw the reader in...this sounds like an adorable!!! concept. Very creative. I would sooooo read a book that explored the shoes the princess would need such as frog boots LOL! It sounds clever and funny! So tighten that pitch!

  2. Let the shoe lovers say Yes to WYRI! Yep! This pitch is different, coming in rhyme as well.

  3. That photo is adorable.

    I love the premise of the story, even though I'm not a lover of shoes. Except when it cold. Then I'm all for a cute pair of boots. :)

  4. I'm in agreement with Penny. I like the premise, but if you polish up the end so that it is in the same voice as the beginning, that would tie it all together. I also had the question of why she wasn't allowed more shoes if her sister has many. Can you touch on that? And I'm assuming she thinks she's a princess, versus actually being one?

  5. I love the playful voice in the premise and would definitely read it. I didn't understand the first line "sister's sister" and that did seem unnecessarily complex. Maybe it's just "other kids"? (that makes mom seem nicer, too!)

  6. oops - one too many sisters

    meant to say "my sister's closet".... how did that extra sister get in there anyhow?

  7. thanks. I don't usually write in rhyme... so this was really a leap.
    You make good points.

  8. Another tie! How exciting, although more work for you, Susanna. It was so difficult to choose, though...
    As to Sue's pitch, I think the premise is interesting & fun, but I think the pitch is more confusing than it needs to be. I confess to not knowing who the sister's sister is, and the pitch seems to change perspective midway through. I look forward to reading a pared-down pitch at the end of the month.
    And thanks to you both for the early Valentine's treats!

  9. I love the premise. Frog boots and glass slippers is hysterical and also a great way to connect with playful kids. I agree that the last sentence is out of place. "This kid" isn't quite right. You could play with keeping it in the 1st person, or if you want, since you are also switching out of rhyme, maybe starting with "this imaginative princess". Also "documents" is a harsh and institutional word. Maybe "investigates" or something that hints at creativity rather than a black and white list? Also, you end with "comes up with the ideal number." That may be technically true for the story, but is that really the main point of your story? Coming up with a number of pairs of shoes? I wonder if you could leave that out altogether, or perhaps come up with something more abstract, along the lines of "learns something along the way" but not so cliched or generic. :) Good luck! I love the idea!

  10. good food for thought. Thanks. Speaking of food.... heading down to the kitchen for cookies....

  11. POSTED FOR ANDREA at www.andrea-mack.blogspot.com

    I love the idea of the princess's many different kinds of shoes and what she would use them for, so I would read it. But I think the pitch could be stronger with a better sense of the story conflict.

  12. I love the premise of the story and the idea of frog boots and glass slippers. But, I wondered if there was something else going on. Why would a mother favor one sister over the other, unless this is a play on Cinderella? What is the problem and conflict. This is a very cute story, you just need to polish the pitch a little more and make it stronger.

    I voted. Difficult choice!

  13. How gracious to bring baked goods when visiting. What good manners. Susanna, I
    voted and can't wait to hear who the winner is. Oh and how adorable is Phyllis with red hair. She's sure to catch the eye of Gilbert Blythe I'm sure.
    As for the pitch, I
    KNOW I would enjoy reading about a little girl exploring the
    different kinds of Princess footwear. But how does your mc get from what seems a sibling rivalry to wondering about shoes of Princesses? Does the rivalry cause her to imagine herself a Princess? There are two different ideas (both wonderfully intriguing) that could support and work so well together. However, the pitch doesn't connect the two ideas I'm excited to learn more. I want to know how this turns out. Please let us know!.

  14. I'm a yes to the story. How fun to have a girl study princess shoes. I'm a no to the pitch though. I think Penny shared some thoughts on it best. Maybe I'm feeling wacky as a parent right now, but I do not like some of the parent character/actions in several stories I've read lately. Parents do buy stories. So unless it's a Cinderella-type, I say Boo on the mom. Or, Is there some reason why she's not allowed more shoes - runs through mud puddles, growth spurt every week? As it's written now, it makes mom a bad guy, who favors the sister. I also like to know character names, too. Instead of "this kid," maybe share her name. Good luck. Thanks for the cookie!

  15. OK, back now & dribbling cookie crumbs on my keyboard. Great comments and thank you SO MUCH to everyone who is piping up with comments. Lots of really good things to think about... I hadn't intended the mom to be mean, just practical. But now.... the whole Cinderella thing? ooooh, I never thought of that.
    As for the "documenting" business - ah, that is my journalism spilling into a kid's pitch. She would investigate and maybe even take notes or draw pictures. But "document"? never! I gotta learn to watch my language around kid's writers. Here, have another cookie....

  16. Thanks for voting, Penny, and thanks for your very helpful and articulate comments for Sue!!! :)

  17. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Angela - I'm sure Sue will be pleased :)

  18. I know, isn't it the cutest? Beth had a great idea - she said it was PunxsutANNEy Phyllis :) And thanks so much for your thoughts for Sue!

  19. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Sue, Katie! :)

  20. Thanks so much for your thoughts for Sue, Wendy! And sorry about the sister's sister's - that was my mistake while typing!

  21. More work for YOU, you mean, having to vote again :) But seriously, both of those pitches got so many votes... and they still ended up tied! Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Sue - the sister's sister's thing was my typing error, I think, so sorry about that!!! Enjoy the Valentine's cookies :)

  22. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and helpful comments for Sue, Wendy! :)

  23. Hello! I downloaded chrome again but I think I know what to try next time, not go through google to get here.
    I feel same as Stacy on the pitch. It sounds like an interesting story.
    Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow Susanna!

  24. The pitch had me at frog boots--intriguing and cute!
    Now I need to make some tea to go with those cookies, YUM!

  25. Thanks for voting...again!... Pat! And thanks for your thoughts for Sue!

  26. It really is the height of good manners, isn't it Pam? :) And yes, I think Phyllis looks adorable :) Thanks so much for your perceptive and helpful comments for Sue!

  27. Thanks so much for your very helpful thoughts for Sue, Stacy! And help yourself to another cookie - there are plenty :)

  28. Loved Penny's thoughts here, so helpful.

  29. Thanks for your dogged determination to comment here, Catherine! I really and truly appreciate it! And thanks also for your thoughts for Sue! :)

  30. I know! It's hard to walk away after frog boots! Enjoy your tea and cookies! :)

  31. I love the opening! I'd read it! :D Good luck with the tie - I voted!

  32. I would read it, but I, too, am concerned about the pitch. Until I read the other comments, I hadn't really thought about why the mom was the way she is, but now I wonder about that in the story.

    My concern was with the rhyming pitch, although I enjoyed it. We keep hearing that publishers are leery of rhyme, and I'm concerned that having the pitch in rhyme might turn someone off before the story even gets its chance. I don't know -- I found it fun (and I'm not usually a fan of rhyming picture books).

  33. P.S. And I confess I'm kind of glad there was a tie for the pitch contest, because I was late to the party and didn't get to vote... until now!! yay for ties!

  34. I've never commented here before, but who could pass up this delicious title?
    With so few words in the pitch, I wouldn't waste them with rhyme, just a straightforward hook.
    I see so many comments on the sisters and the mom--my first thought was, do we need them? Why not just a princess who's closet is too full? That gives her an excuse to go through all her styles. If you need a "bad guy" then how about some kind of pushy palace attendant?
    Consider comparing the main character to a sister who has a reasonable amount of shoes. Maybe that will help.
    Bottom line: I love this idea. 'Can't wait to see all the wacky shoes she owns!

  35. I can't believe you're making us choose One. More. Time! ;)

    There are a lot of good comments here already about the pitch. I am also of the "yes to the idea, but only maybe to the pitch" mind. I agree that a rhyming pitch is not the best idea, even if the actual story rhymes. If you must do a rhyming pitch, it has to be a seriously knock-out poem to work. "This kid" in the last sentence threw me, as it did some other commenters. How did it get from first person to third person POV? I'd be interested to see how Sue rewrites the pitch. :)

  36. I agree with everyone else, Susanna...it was hard enough to pick the pitch the first time...these were my top two before.:) But I did vote...although ALL of the stories need to be out there...each idea was great.!

    Sue...I LOVE the story idea...how cute and clever...to examine all of the shoes that a princess might own. So it is a definitely YES on the story. I've only read a couple of the comments...but my take would be that the pitch doesn't need rhyme...and the rhyme, whether in the story or the pitch, needs to be spot-on and meter-perfect. I love to write in rhyme, but it can be really tricky to put the story first...I often wind up sacrificing story to make the rhyme work.:)

  37. You're probably right about the rhyme - a straightforward pitch would make more sense. Thanks for your comments.

  38. Thanks for your thoughts - looks like rhyme in the pitch isn't the best idea.

  39. Wow! Thanks for showing me yet a different direction this could head.... what a neat idea. I think a grouchy palace steward would be perfect. "another pair? Really!"

  40. Thanks for your insights. I've heard that about publishers too.

  41. A big heartfelt thanks to everyone who commented! I truly appreciate your feedback & have some better idea of where to go with this.
    A couple people raised the question of how a publisher/editor would feel about rhyme in a pitch. So, why don't we all ask that question at the next SCBI conference we attend? I promise - next pitch I toss will not be rhymy & will be accompanied by brownies.

  42. Thanks for sharing your opinion, Erik, and for voting!!!

  43. Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Sue, Beth. The rhyming pitch is a tricky one - I rather like it, but it is unusual. I'd be interested to hear from Erin whether that kind of thing is a good idea or not!

  44. Hi Joanne - I'm so glad to know you're out there reading, and so glad that you wanted to chime in this time! Thank you for your wonderfully creative thoughts for Sue - I'm sure she'll find them helpful! I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on other pitches!

  45. It's not my fault! The pitches were so good! Thanks for voting AGAIN, Teresa :) And thanks for your thoughts for Sue - I'm sure she'll find them helpful - and it will be very interesting to see how this pitch gets revised for the pitch pick... I sense another tight competition coming up for February :)

  46. Thanks for voting again, Vivian - I know it was a VERY tough choice... which is how we got in this fix to begin with :) And thanks for your comments for Sue - very helpful!

  47. Thanks. You can thank Julie Rowan-Zoch for the nudge.

  48. I liked this part: "from frog boots to glass slippers and comes up with the ideal number." I would consider giving "this kid" a name, especially in a query pitch. Yes, I would read the book.

  49. I hadn't even realized that the pitch rhymed. Not sure if that's good or bad. I do agree that the pitch should NOT rhyme.

  50. I most certainly will! :)

    Joanne Roberts wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    Thanks. You can thank Julie Rowan-Zoch for the nudge.

    User's website
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  51. Thanks so much for chiming in for Sue, Christie! :)

  52. oh Thanks for posting Rilla's picture, Susanna :) She was thrilled to pose with Phyllis :) Next will be the book at Green Gables. I've yet to get there since I told you!

    I say yes to the book. Rilla would absolutely love this. I can't believe I haven't written any princess story yet, but just can't think of one ... yet ;)

    Everyone has said everything I picked up on the pitch too. Great suggestions by everyone.

    Going to send you my pitch now :D
    Denise Bruce of Ingleside, PEI


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