November 6, 2013

Would You Read It Wednesday #111 - Rashad Saves The World (PB) PLUS Straight From The Editor PLUS The October Pitch Pick!

My goodness, we have a busy day today!

What with all the Halloweensie hoopla, there hasn't been time for much else, so we have a packed agenda.  In the interest of moving things along and not making this post any longer than necessary, I will try to keep my usual charming ramblings to a minimum :)

First, if you haven't yet had a chance to read the Halloweensie Contest finalists and vote for the one you think deserves to win, please go HERE.  The poll is open until 5 PM EST today.

Next, we'll skip on to Straight From The Editor.  You will recall that Kirsti won the September Pitch Pick with her pitch for Upside Down In Frown Town.

Here is her pitch:

Where Sam lives, smiling is frowned upon. But, no matter what he tries, he can't wipe the smile off his face. Even a frowning contest doesn't make a frowner out of Sam. When he can't change himself, he decides to change the town instead.

and here are editor Erin Molta's thoughts:

This sounds cute! And I know people tend to “frown” at the use of standard popular phrases, but in this case, I think it would work like a charm. J What if, instead of saying: When he can't change himself, he decides to change the town instead, you said: When he can't change himself, he decides to turn those frowns upside down.
I think that really gets the idea across and might make an editor smile . . .
Good luck!
I really like Erin's idea!  It's always so interesting to hear her insights!

Now I think we could use a little break.  Something Chocolate, anyone?

It feels like a Chocolate Lava Cake day, don't you think?

Let's dig in :)

And now, without getting chocolate all over your keyboards, let's tackle the October Pitch Pick!

Here are the pitches, thoughtfully revised after your very helpful feedback.

#1 Kari
The Great UFO Hunt - ER
Seven year old Mekayla, who's an aspiring astronaut and lover of all things space, is convinced she sees a UFO crash land in the woods behind her house. Weird stuff begins to happen around town: lights are going on and off in an empty house, a strange girl keeps showing up out of thin air, and Mekayla finds what she believes is part of the space ship. But despite all the evidence, no one believes her!  Can Mekayla and her friends save the town before it's overrun?

#2 Linda
Proberta Gerber And The Terrible Mess PB (ages 4-8)
"Clean one thing at a time." Proberta's brother suggests. "Start with your bed.” But Proberta can’t find it in the terrible mess that used to be her bedroom. She blames the Dust Bunnies, but Mom isn't buying it. Proberta hopes for magic but discovers she should be careful what she wishes for!

#3 Rosi
Iris The Rainbow Girl PB (ages 2-5)
Iris sees a sparkling rainbow.  It's so beautiful, she decides she wants to be one. Her parents tell her all the reasons she cannot, but Iris is determined and won't let anyone hang a dark cloud over her idea. Soap bubbles have little rainbows on them, but when she covers herself with them, they burst and wash away. After dreaming about rainbows, Iris comes up with a way to achieve her goal.

#4 Julie
Broccolilocks PB (ages 3-6)
CRUNCH! To satisfy Broccolilocks' GIANT appetite her parents plant every inch of their community garden plot. But a mysterious stink leads her nose down the rows to find that something has been munching on her favorite: broccoli! Inviting hungry friends to keep pesky aphids in check, and Broccolilocks fed, may be just right!

I know you may be a little burned out on voting :) but this one should be a little easier - only 4 choices instead of 12 :)  Please cast your vote for the pitch you think deserves a read by editor Erin Molta by 5 PM EST on Sunday November 10.

Many thanks for voting... again :)

Finally, we have today's pitch which comes to us from Steve.  Steve says,  "I spent 20 years as a teacher of small children in London. Reading aloud was my favourite part of teaching. This means that I absolutely know what a PB, Lower MG should sound like. The challenge is to make my own writing sound right!"

Steve is currently in New Zealand and wants everyone to know that if he doesn't respond to your comments right away it's because of the time difference.  He is greatly appreciative of everyone's input and looks forward to hearing from you!

Here is his pitch:

Working Title:  Rashad Saves The World
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 5-8)
The Pitch: Rashad is tired of being the youngest and the least important member of his family, so when he learns at school that he can save the world, he leaps straight into action. Which leads him straight into trouble with the rest of his family. And when he accidentally demolishes the garden of his Rottweiler Next Door Neighbour, his career as a Super Hero seems to have come to an abrupt end. Will he still be able to save the world? Or will somebody special have to step in to help?

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 Steve improve his 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 January 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!

Steve is looking forward to your thoughts on his pitch!  I am looking forward to announcing the Halloweensie Contest Winners tomorrow, along with some other little surprises!!! :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  And see you tomorrow for a very special Halloweensie Winners Post!!! :)


  1. Sure, I would read it. Couple of things: You might want to try tightening the lead in, something like: Rashad is tired of being the youngest and the least important member of his family. When he learns at school that he can save the world, he leaps into action and lands smack into trouble with the rest of his family.

    The last sentence was a stopping point for me. Can you re-write it to show how Rashad solves the problem himself?

    Thanks for the extra 1,000 calories, Susanna. I needed lava cake like I needed a hole in the head! :0)

  2. My vote has been cast and I enjoyed the advice Erin provided. For today's pitch, I would read it. Sounds like Rashad has a tall order he wants to fill. I would suggest clarifying what he can save the world from. Save the world from being overrun by dust bunnies? Save the world from overuse of grammatical errors? Clarifying that can help add to the interest.

  3. Up until seems to it's a great pitch. I would hint at the follow up to the trashed garden. North island or South Island. I used to live south Auckland.
    Yummy cake!

  4. Good advice from Erin and a really cute pitch from Kirsti!

    Mmm...lava cake! I made that once and my son keeps begging me to make it again, but I've been too lazy. :}

    I really enjoy Steve's pitch and story idea! One thing I'd correct is the incomplete sentence ("...he leaps straight into action. Which leads him straight into trouble with the rest of his family.") to "...he leaps straight into action, which leads him straight into trouble with the rest of his family." Donna's suggestion of how to tighten the beginning would also eliminate the incomplete sentence problem too.

    LIke Angela, I'd also like some clarification on how exactly he can save the world.

    Lastly, I'm a bit unclear about this "Rottweiler Next Door Neighbor." It makes me think that either this is a story with animal characters (anthropomorphized) or that maybe he's got a special antagonist in the dog next door. Also, random capitalization is a bit odd, so the reason for doing so must be made clearer.

    Best of luck with it, Steve!

  5. Mmmm. The cake looks great.

    I would probably read the book, but I would want to know more about how this little boy is to save the world. What did he learn in school? I wasn't clear on the Rottweiler Neighbor Next Door. What does that mean? Good luck. Pitches are so hard to write!

  6. Yep, I agree with the other comments re: saving the world. I think a couple details of HOW that would be accomplished would rev up the pitch. I always like a good underdog story!

  7. I agree with Donna. The last sentence should be focused on how he will solve the problem, not someone else. Along with some tightening at the beginning, it could really catch your attention!

  8. We had a Molten Chocolate Lava Cake for BFF's birthday 2 weeks ago. YUM . . .

  9. Four great stories... I voted for my favorite pitch.:)
    Great advice from Erin...she gave an already great pitch some extra pizazz!
    Chocolate molten lava cake...oh yes! We all know that dark chocolate is a necessary item in our emotional first aid kit, right? So kind of you to provide some for us, Susanna.:)
    I would definitely read Steve's story...I like Donna's pitch fix very much...and agree that leaving the last sentence off would be better.:)

  10. I thought Erin's idea for my pitch was great too! Thanks for hosting the pitch contest, Susanna! I voted my for favorite pitch!

  11. Sounds like a fun story Steve. The title told me Rashad saved the world, so the last question gave me a pause. Does he or doesn't he?

    Is Rashad a boy or a dog, since there is mention of his Rottweiler Next Door Neighbour?

    Is the garden the key to him saving the world? Maybe mention the incident facing the world... I feel like the reason the world needs to be saved should be in there. Is a vegetable crisis? Is it an imbalance over family order?

    To tighten it up, I might ... (I always feel so impertinent for doing this, but it's easier than trying to explain it all)

    Rashad is tired of being the least important member of his family, so when he learns he can save the world, he leaps into action and straight into trouble. When he accidentally demolishes the neighbor's garden his career as a Super Hero seems to have come to an abrupt end.

    Good luck Steve.
    Voted. Ate Chocolate. Yay for the day.

  12. I almost forgot to vote in the Halloween contest! Heading over there now.

    Yes, I'd read it! I hope the MC doesn't give up on trying to save the world. :)

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  13. Wow, have just got up - 8am here in NZ (Wellington), to your kind comments. I'll reply here to you all. Yes, great call re the tightening of the start. And yes, the last sentence needs changing. The person who helps him is his mum and it does make sense in the manuscript, but clearly doesn't help the pitch, in the way I've ended it. I might also change the 'rottweiler' neighbour simply to the 'fearsome' neighbour. (I just liked the illusion!)
    It's a story about ecology and Rashad learning to save the planet but it becomes very super hero stuff in his mind and just keeps going all wrong. After he demolishes the neighbour's garden (he was only trying to 'borrow' a branch off her tree because he's desperate to plant his own tree) Mum realises how much money she's actually starting to save, so they go off and buy a proper tree at the Nursery and she tells him that he has saved the world..
    Maybe I'm trying to be too cute with the super hero stuff in the pitch but I'm trying hard to be a little tantalising!
    Really appreciate all your comments.

  14. Thanks very much. I've replied above.

  15. Lots of fun stuff today, Susanna! :-) And yes, I'd read it. It sounds like a fun story! My one suggestion would be to maybe explain a little more how he plans to save the world or how he leaps into action. Perhaps mention his plan to be a super hero a little sooner in the paragraph? I hope this is helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thanks and it is helpful. But how long are these things allowed/encouraged to be? I'm kind of working on a shorter-and-sharper-the-better ethic but honestly, I find the pitch harder to write than the manuscript!

  17. So much chocolate! So much voting! Feel like I can take over the world!
    Such a cute story, Steve. I like the super hero aspect, and like the others, think you can clarify what you have so right and tighten it to 3-4 sentences.

    My attempt:
    Rashad is tired of being the youngest and the least important member of his family. When he learns at school that he can save the world, he leaps into action--and lands smack into trouble. His super-hero antics have done X, Y, and Z (e.g. demolished his neighbor's garden). But maybe a little tree-thieving is what the world needs.

  18. I understand! This side of writing is still new to me. I'm not an expert, but I think it's a good length now. I was just a little unclear on what he learned about how to save the world when I read it through the first time. But looking over some of the other comments, it may just be me. lol. :-)

  19. I'm more worried it's me! 8-)

  20. Hah - that's a nice thought. There's a bit where he unplugs the freezer and turns the ice cream into soup, that could be Y, the garden is definitely Z. This is fun. 8~)

  21. I lie this, Stacy- concise and precise! Steve, the copy editor in me would add a comma after "garden' and take out the "have" before "come."

  22. I agree, Catherine, to give a little hint of what's to come.
    And yes, yummy cake!

  23. Yes, good advice to hint at the solution.

  24. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikNovember 6, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Hmm... I would (along with what the others said) take out the "Or will somebody special have to step in to help?" part. It suggests that all hope is lost and that he MIGHT not get to save the world, but it doesn't say that someone helps him (that was my immediate thought - Someone HELPS him). I am also confused if Rashad is a dog or person. I like the idea of him being a "superhero" and it getting him into trouble, and yes I would read it! :)

  25. Yep, the Rottweiler is gone. 8~) And the last sentence is history too. My first time here, and this has been absolutely brilliant. I really appreciate the support and advice.

  26. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikNovember 6, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Good luck with your book Mr. Moran! :)

  27. Voted, ate, and enjoyed the comments about today's pitch. Everyone has given some great suggestions. I just want to say I LOVE that mc's name is Rashad. That's my youngest brother's name. I just sat in on a webinar on bias and cultural diversity in books and look what I find on WYRI! I would definitely read it. I would love to see what scrapes our prospective superhero gets himself in.

  28. Rashad was a dear little boy that I once taught. He's now a much bigger boy and rather impressed at the idea of being in a book. I'll be really impressed if he ends up being in a book too! 8-)

  29. Yes, I am a day late, :-( but Yes I would read this because I am curious HOW he will save the world. Intriguing pitch. I also agree with what the others have said: Rashad must figure it out himself.

  30. Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions for Steve, Donna! And as for the cake... I live to serve :)

  31. Thanks for voting, Angela, and for your helpful comments for Steve. And I'm glad you enjoyed Erin's thoughts - I always find them interesting!

  32. Yes I would totally take this book home to my kids. The concept is perfect for them.

    My attempt to revise the pitch itself, hope you don't mind!

    Rashad is tired of being the youngest in his family, so when he learns at school that he can save the world, he leaps into action. Which leads him straight into trouble. When he accidentally demolishes his neighbour's garden, his career as a Super Hero seems to have come to an abrupt end. Will he still be able to save the world?

    I just deleted repetitive stuff, which maybe leaves more room for more colorful description? Good luck Steve and thanks for letting us read it!

  33. Thanks for chiming in for Steve, Catherine, and glad you like the cake :)


  34. Glad you enjoyed Erin's advice and the lava cake, Teresa :) And thanks so much for your very thoughtful comments for Steve!

  35. Thanks for your thoughts for Steve, Rosi, and enjoy the virtual cake :)

  36. Thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Steve, Katie!

  37. SO good, isn't it Nancy? There's a restaurant near us that makes it and it's worth going there just for dessert! :)


  38. Thank you for voting and complimenting my taste in cake, Vivian :) I'm glad you enjoyed Erin's comments, and thanks so much for your helpful thoughts for Steve!

  39. I'm sl glad you found Erin's advice helpful, Kirsti! And thanks so much for voting!

  40. Thank you for taking the time to give Steve such helpful feedback, Stacy! You're a gem! Thanks for voting! Hope you enjoyed the chocolate :)

  41. Thanks for reading and voting, Laura! And thanks for your thoughts for Steve :)

  42. Thanks so much for your helpful suggestion for Steve, Cheryl!

  43. I believe it has been scientifically proven that chocolate gives you super powers, Stacy :) Thanks so much for your helpful suggestions for Steve! :)

  44. Thanks much for your eagle eye comments for Steve Iza, very helpful!

  45. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments for Mr. Moran, Erik! :)

  46. Thanks for voting, hope you enjoyed the cake, and what fun that you have something in common with today's pitch! :) So right about diversity! Thanks so much for your comments for Steve, Pam! :)


  47. There is no such thing as Late around here, Linda :) Thanks so much for chiming in for Steve!

  48. Thanks so much for taking the time to give Steve such helpful feedback, Beverly!

  49. Sounds exciting for sure! Is Rashad a dog or is just the Rottweiler a dog? A little tighter here and clearer there will give the pitch pop.

  50. Thanks so much for chiming in for Steve, Lauri - I know he really appreciates all the helpful feedback!

  51. Yes! I would definitely read it! I think children will be able to relate very well to this story , and how sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and bite off more than we can chew (even as adults; especially as adults!) but there's always a friend to help us tailor it down and get us on track once again. Kudos, Steve!

  52. Yes, I would read this book :) I think we need more superhero's the save the world! Or at least more kids wearing capes....

    I don't know if I'd state that the youngest is the least important member of the family (maybe I'm taking it personally because I'm the youngest...) but typically the youngest is favored from most of the families I've been involved with.

    This is how I would tighten the lead.

    Being the youngest in the family, Rashad decides he doesn't want to be treated like a baby anymore, and establishes himself as the family Superhero. This leads to a series of unfortunate events involving each member of his family (and his neighbor's petunia's) .....

    I'm not sure if Rottweiler is the neighbor or the dog?

    I'm excited to check this book out Steve, great pitch!

  53. Thanks for your very thoughtful comments for Steve, Lyla! Very kind of you to take the time to be so helpful :)

  54. Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Steve, Beth! I know he appreciates everybody's input!



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