June 25, 2014

Would You Read It Wednesday #139 - The Bad Guys Breakfast (PB)

Hi everybody!!!

How are you all?  I feel like I haven't seen you in ages!  This is what skipping blog days does to me - I miss you!

So let's see... What have I done in the past week?

I went to Vermont... I signed books at the Millbrook Literary Festival where I got to say hi to some of my good friends (hi Iza, Nancy, Karen, Pat, Tim, Brian, Scott, Alison, etc. :)) and made a new one (hi Helen!)... I hopped over to the end of the Children's Nonfiction Conference in New Paltz and got to meet Kirsten and Sue in real life!!! - such fun!!! - and they are as nice and smart and beautiful in real life as they are online :)...  and I drove to Boston and fetched #4 for the summer :)  Probably some other stuff too, but that's all I can think of right now :)  Clearly my brain is in need of some type of nudge...

Gee, I wonder what would do the trick?

Perhaps... Something Chocolate! :)

Snickers Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake!
Recipe here: http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2013/05/28/snickers-peanut-butter-brownie-ice-cream-cake/
And seriously, how could anything be better than Snickers Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake?  It has Snickers - indisputably the world's best candy bar YUM! - brownies - YUM YUM!! - and ice cream - YUM YUM YUM!!! and perfect for summer!

Please!  Help yourselves!

Now that our mouths are full, let's turn our attention to Would You Read It :)

Today's pitch comes to us from Stacey who says, "I'm a pre-published picture book author and momma of two adorable boys who give me every ounce of writing material I need. When I'm not reading to, writing for, or raising kids, I'm usually collaborating with my writer's critique group, attending local SCBWI events, or eating chocolate. I'm amazed by the talent out there and happy to be just a small part of it."

Stacey blogs at http://staceydhan.blogspot.com/

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Bad Guys Breakfast
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)
The Pitch:  "It was just like any other morning, except a monster was sitting at my kitchen table."
Adeline K. Strauss has a problem with monsters in her house. Could there be a way to win over these “bad guys”? In The Bad Guys Breakfast, Addie discovers the way to a monster's heart might just be through his (or her) stomach. So, she invites them for breakfast. But when a witch, ghost, shark, and bear (...and maybe more) show up at her doorstep ready to eat, things can go only one of two ways.

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 Stacey 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.)

Now accepting pitches for September!  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.   Polish up your pitches and send yours for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Stacey is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to trying out that Snickers Peanut Butter Brownie Ice Cream Cake recipe! :)  Oh, and I'm also looking forward to attending the NJ SCBWI conference this weekend!  I've never been before, but I've heard tell it's awesome, and I think quite a few people I'm anxious to meet in real life are going to be there.  Anyone going?  Let me know in the comments!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!  See you next week! :)


  1. I would definitely read this! The pitch is concise, and I can almost picture the witch, ghost, shark, bear, and whatever else lining up at her door. My only minor comment is that you can probably do without the text in parentheses. Great job!

  2. I like it - especially the part about "the way to a monster's heart is through its stomach." I wonder if that might not be a jumping off point? She finds a way to soothe that savage beast and then its friends show up! So what do you feed a zombie, anyway?

  3. How did you know Snickers is my favorite treat? Thanks, Susanna! And Stacey, this is a real strong pitch that some small revisions would improve (I'm a revision nut myself). I'd keep the 1st line but ditch the quotation marks and substitute ADDIE for MY then segue right into: In "The Bad Guys' Breakfast" Addie discovers...and etc. I do believe GUYS needs an apostrophe (possessive case). It's a big YES for me.

  4. I gained 50 pounds (and a GYNORMOUS smile) just LOOKING at that cake. I could never do the recipe, because each component would be gobbled up before it made it into the mixing bowl.

    And this IS a yes for me too. I would MAYBE lead with the way to a monster's heart is through its stomach, definitely take out the title from the pitch itself, and perhaps rephrase that last sentence (the part in the parentheses didn't flow for me - wish I could figure out a way to hint at the additional creatures without it). Otherwise, I'm super impressed - AND interested! And I DO believe Linda is right about that apostrophe. :)

    And I have missed you too, Susanna!

  5. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJune 25, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I would read the book! Great pitch! :D YUM! Something chocolate! :D Glad your summer is going great, Ms. Hill! :D

  6. Thanks so much, Katie - I'm sure Stacey will be thrilled :)

  7. Good question! :) Thanks so much for chiming in for Stacey, Sue!

  8. Thanks so much for your comments for Stacey, Teresa! And I'm glad you're enjoying the cake. Really, it's the best of all worlds - Snickers, ice cream, brownie, cake...YUM :)

  9. Love the recipe!! Yup. I would read it. I like the idea of winning over the monsters rather than banishing them.

  10. Thanks so much for your helpful comments and enthusiasm for Stacey, Linda! And I'm so glad to know you have such excellent taste in candy :)

  11. Yeah... I would have that problem with the recipe too, Joanne! :) Thanks so much for your helpful comments for Stacey! I hope your summer is off to a lovely start :)

  12. I feel it's important to keep you sustained in your growth efforts, Erik. That is why I'm serving this scrumptious cake :) Glad you like Ms. Han's pitch!

  13. Susanna I’m so glad that desert is only a picture and not sitting here in front of me because there’s NO WAY I could resist that in person! I’m certainly glad you can take in calories by looking at such a delicious picture!

    Stacey, I LOVE the concept for your book, what fun, so yes, I’d
    probably read it. I would definitely work on tightening up the pitch though, as it seems a little long for a picture book. Remember, just like in a PB manuscript, you need to make every word count in your pitch.

    There have already been a few good suggestions made already so I’ll add: Unless the difference in your main character’s full name and nickname are important to the story, I don’t see a need to
    mention both in the pitch.

    And I’d make sure to watch the contradiction too. At first you mention the monsters being at the kitchen table (in the house) but then say they show up at her doorstep (outside the house). And when you mention monsters, I imagine Monsters, Inc type monsters. In my mind at least, I wouldn’t consider a witch, a ghost, a shark, or a bear a monster.

    And I wonder if you shouldn’t leave the ending quite so vague. While you DO want to leave the reader eager to read more, you don’t want to leave them wondering what on earth the “two ways” could be.

  14. First of all...THANK YOU! My beautiful copy of Mr. Wuzzles arrived today! WOW...I'm going to have to read this book several times to understand all the subtle nuances that are going on...young kids will LOVE the illustrations...and the alien bugs.

    Second, you are so busy, Susanna...Vermont and Boston...I'll bet you passed pretty close to my neck of the woods...I'm glad you had fun at the conference.

    And last, but not least, I would definitely read Stacey's story. :) Here's a thought for tightening up your already great pitch, Stacey: Hope it helps. :)

    The Pitch: It was just like any other morning, except monsters are sitting at Adeline K. Strauss' kitchen table. Addie invites them for breakfast, but when a witch,
    ghost, shark, bear...and maybe more...show up at her doorstep ready
    to eat, things can go only one of two ways. (or, instead of 'things can go only one of two ways'...perhaps: Addie must - whatever she tries to do to deal with the situation - and ultimately discovers - whatever the takeaway is.

  15. Thank you so much, Vivian! The economy of language is my biggest challenge (as my husband would certainly attest to.) I appreciate your tips!

  16. Great advice, Kimberly! These are great points that I'll be taking a close look at.

  17. Apostrophe will be added! :) Thank you for these comments!a

  18. Yay! Thanks so much, Linda. Very helpful!

  19. I know chocolate is the way to many of our hearts it seems :) Especially with these great photos Susanna's been posting! I love the idea about a zombie - I may have to work that in. (And, just a tease - The witch is a vegetarian in the complete story.)

  20. Thank you very much, Katie! Bon appetit!

  21. Thanks much, Rosi! That was the inspiration for the story - my son's fear of a witch. Feed 'em, I say!

  22. Appreciate your enthusiasm, Erik! Chocolate rules. :)

  23. Will do, Teresa. Appreciate your tip!

  24. You're going to the NJ SCBWI Conference? Hooray!

  25. Congrats on all the exploits, Susanna! Sounds like you're definitely in demand.

    Stacey, I love the whole concept of a bad guys' breakfast: feeding the baddies to calm them down. The pitch has a few good topic sentences, though. I'd pick the most catchy, and tell us what conflict and stakes Addie faces at the end.

    e.g.: When a whole troup of bad guys show up at her door, Addie invites them to breakfast. But X happens (like a particular baddie wants to eat something nasty), and Addie must do Y--or Z happens.

  26. So glad it was helpful, Stacey! I am a lover of words as well...if I can say it in 100 as opposed to 10, I usually do...which for picture books, is not a good thing. :)

  27. Fun idea, Stacy! I could see a child relating to the idea of eating something gross (How to Eat Fried Worms is coming to mind...). Love it - thank you!

  28. How fab you went on your travels and met so many online friends Susanna. Wish I was one of them. One day!

    I love the pitch and would just leave out the bit in brackets.

  29. Wow, I just read through all the comments, and like any great recipe, everyone had a great ingredient! With all that in my head, this was a take I came up with to add to all the others:

    The Pitch: It was just like any other morning, except a furry, green monster was sitting at Addie’s kitchen table pouring maple syrup over his French Fried Worms. And if that wasn’t enough, when she’d figured out the best way to a monster’s heart was through his stomach, Addie couldn’t have foreseen the outcome when she thought to invite all his friends, too! Figuring out how to satisfy the palates of a witch, ghost, bear and zombie wasn’t the only problem she was about to face!
    I took out the shark simply because it doesn't make sense (fantasy or not) that he's out of water so it didn't feel like it would work to me. I removed "monsters" because I agreed that the other characters aren't typically called "monsters." They're just "the bad guys" :D Regardless---I LOVE the premise :D Good luck with it, Stacey!
    And as for you, Susanna, and your sinfully Snickery cake! I'm salivating here! lol How is ANYone supposed to lose weight around here, huh?! ;) So glad you had a fun and eventful week. Sounds like a blast and you'll have another one this coming weekend! :D :D :D And if you're a praying woman, please throw one up there to ask that I feel well before then! Two days of dizziness and other fun stuff. I just want it to pass *sigh*

  30. This is indeed a sweet recipe, Donna Marie! Thank you so much for your time crafting this.

    Actually, I have a story behind the "shark" bit and why I included it - one of my mommy friends told me how afraid her daughter is to go to bed at night. They've talked about the little girl's fears, and the latest one is that she's afraid a shark is in her room at night. Her mom tried to reason with her: "sharks live in the water, not in your bedroom." The little girl replied and pointed to her window, "but, Mommy, look outside!" - it was raining. Water right? Kids have the greatest imaginations! I thought the shark might be fun to have over for breakfast.

    Thank you for the re-work of this pitch!

  31. Thanks Catherine!

  32. Ha! I hear ya on that...It's an art, for sure. :)

  33. Excellent point about showing not telling, Keila. And it looks like the use of the word "monsters" needs to be re-thought. I will work on these! Thank you!

  34. You're welcome, Stacey :) I hope it helps a bit! Then maybe the shark can wear snorkeling headgear only instead of air coming through the tube, maybe a container of some type with water :) I guess he'd have to eat through that or through a straw? Just an "out there" suggestion to an "out there" situation :) And yes, kids have WILD imaginations :) They don't yet have the barriers adults tend to develop with knowledge and experience. Something we should always keep in mind, I think :)

  35. I glanced at several of the comments and see that the slight issues I had with the pitch have already been addressed so it looks like Stacey should have the tools ot strengthen the pitch. And Yes! I would read it. It's a very intriguing premise that makes me want to find out more.

  36. That's awesome, Angela! These are all very helpful. It's incredible how many elements there are to consider for each idea, phrase, and word. Thank you for your encouraging comment!

  37. THANK YOU, Susanna - the copy of Mitchell Goes Bowling arrived today!! Sounds like you've been having a great start to your summer!

    The premise sounds like a LOT of fun!! But why does she need to find a way to their heart instead of just getting rid of them? It might help to understand the core of the story. In general, I'd suggest getting right to the point and tighten. Good luck, Stacey!

  38. I think calling them bad guys and/or monsters doesn't give us enough. The illustration potential is great with these crazy characters, and I'd definitely read it. I think you just need to clarify what (who) her problem really is. Good luck with it.

  39. Jessica Maree DudikJune 25, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    Love this, would Definitely read!! Great idea for a kid to face their bad guys/fears and possibly realize maybe they're not so bad after all?:) cute, funny and sweet

  40. Thank you, Genevieve!

  41. Great feedback - thank you so much!

  42. I appreciate your thoughts on this, Julie!

  43. Susanna, it was so fun to meet you in person. You are so sweet to drive all the way to New Paltz!

  44. It was my pleasure, Kirsten! And really not that far - I drive a lot all the time - New Paltz was like nothing :) So great to finally meet you!

  45. Thanks so much for your comments and enthusiasm for Stacey, Jessica!

  46. Thanks for your helpful thoughts for Stacey, Genevieve!

  47. So glad it arrived safely, Julie :) And yes, the summer is so far so good :) Thanks so much for your insightful comments for Stacey - good point!

  48. Thanks so much for chiming in for Stacey, Angela! :)

  49. Thanks for your comments for Stacey, Donna! And I do hope you feel much better! Looking forward to meeting you :)

  50. Thanks for your help for Stacey, Catherine! And I know! I wish we could meet in real life too! How far away in Canada do you live? Maybe I can figure out a good reason to be driving by :)

  51. Thanks for your great suggestions for Stacey, Vivian! And hmm... are you by any chance on the way to Maine? Maybe we could take a small detour :) I'm so glad you like Mr. Wuffles! David Wiesner is amazing, isn't he?

  52. Thank you for your excellent thoughts for Stacey, Kimberly - very helpful! And I couldn't resist that cake in person either! Not in a million years :) That is why I serve virtual goodies that we can enjoy without having to go run 10 miles :)

  53. If you make the recipe, Rosi, let me know how it turns out. I don't dare - I'll eat too much cake :) Thanks for your comments for Stacey!

  54. Thanks for your very helpful comments for Stacey, Keila!!! :)

  55. Thanks, Stacy! And thanks for your helpful comments for Stacey :)

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