Hi everyone,

No Gratitude Sunday post today because I am participating in Brenda Drake‘s Show Me the Voice Blogfest.  (btw, Happy Birthday Brenda!)  Here’s how it works: Participants post the first 250 words of a completed mss.  Blog followers and other participants can provide critiques (keeping them helpful and focused on voice) in the comments.  On March 22, we will incorporate any changes from the critiques and email the final 250 words to Brenda.  A panel of peer judges will choose the best 20, and will then forward them to agent Natalie Fischer, of Bradford Literary Agency, who is always on the lookout for writing with great voice.  Natalie will then choose three winners, who will win critiques of their mss or queries.

Here is my entry.  For full disclosure, I must tell you that I am both under the weather and on a spring break ski trip with my kids.  Therefore, I may not get to provide as many reciprocal critiques as I otherwise would.  But I promise to do my best.  Thanks in advance to anyone who takes a crack at this!

Name: Julie Hedlund


Genre: Picture Book Fiction

Ginny McMaudy loved all kinds of thrills,
Like riding her bike over towering hills,
Smacking a cannonball into the pool,
Swashbuckling swords in a pirate ship duel.

Turning a cartwheel with balance and grace.
Fooling the pitcher and stealing third base.
Just one kid matched Ginny for courage and pluck —
Her brother, advantaged by height and good luck.

Ginny thought, I can do anything Brian can do.
But deep down inside she knew this wasn’t true.
Because one thrill he’d had that she wanted to try?
An amusement park ride with a track to the sky.

So she raced Brian down to the Beck’s County Fair,
And waited in line for a ‘coaster called DARE.
Brian said, “Shorty, you won’t get to ride.”
“Just watch me,” said Ginny, and shoved him aside.

Ginny was crushed when she got turned away.
Worse, she watched Brian ride ten times that day.
Denied her first ride… what a whale of a bummer.
She grumbled, but vowed to grow tall by next summer.

“I might need to try an enchantment or two,
Or whip up a potion of TALLESTNESS brew…”
Ginny tried every known type of elixir.
Not even one of them managed to fix her.

She chanted a growth spell while waving her arms.
She dug a deep hole and buried six charms.
She danced round in circles; her head got all buzzy.
She read books about tallness; Her eyeballs went fuzzy.

One book advised, “To grow tall like Paul Bunyan,
Try bathing in fruit juice or suck on an onion…

So, lay it on me.  What do you think?

Categories: Agents, Children's Books, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I love it!

    The only stanza that I felt could be smoothed out a bit:

    Ginny thought, I can do anything Brian can do.
    But deep down inside she knew this wasn’t true.
    Because one thrill he’d had that she wanted to try?
    An amusement park ride with a track to the sky.

    I can’t say just why, but when reading your story to myself and out loud . . . I got snagged on these 4 lines.

    • Nancy,

      Thanks for commenting! I’ve been working on that stanza and changing things around, which is why the meter isn’t as smoothed out as it could be. Need to massage it some more. Thanks for reading it out loud! That’s essential for determining whether a picture book is working or not – especially one in rhyme.

    • BTW: I decided to enter. I’m #130 on the blogfest roster. 🙂

  2. I love this! I wish I could read the entire thing! I’d buy it for my daughter 😀

  3. I love this. It has such a great voice. Thanks for sharing.

  4. i love it. and one of my daughters is very short and just the right age (just turned seven last week) to find this book enchanting. She would eat it up. i can’t wait to see it on the shelves

  5. This is delightful, Julie! There’s immediate interest in Ginny, and a nice sense of voice. Your choice of rhyme-and-meter poetry is well done, but I did stumble a few times when the lines lost the established meter: /–/–/–/ . This was particularly noticeable during the first line of the third stanza and the last line of the sixth stanza. With a little tweaking I think you’ll have no trouble finding a publishing home for this. Good luck in this contest. Isn’t it fun?

  6. Lori and Cheree – Thanks for the encouragement!

    Amber – My daughter rode her first roller coaster at 7 last year and got to ride her first roller coaster. It was a BIG deal. 🙂

    Carol – Thanks for pointing out where the meter needs work. I recently revised a couple of stanzas, so I’m sure the meter is choppy in those parts. And yes, this contest is very fun!!

  7. Really great voice. My m/c is also too short 🙂

    What I really loved about this was the pictures you created with each line. Especially the first two stanzas, I could totally see the accompanying pictures in my head.

    I hope it makes it to a bookstore soon.

  8. A fun voice and fun story. My son (10-months-old) smiled as I read it him. Best of luck in the contest.

  9. I love the way this rides along. I don’t feel qualified to give a picture book critique but nothing grated with me. You did a fab job.


    Thanks for reading mine and for your suggestions. I actually posted my new improved model just now.

  10. Love it Julie, the story is paramount to the rhyming and it is so rhythmical, nice one!

    The line ‘Just one kid matched Ginny etc.” the one isn’t very naturally stressed to me. kid is more of the stressed word.

    And ‘She read books about tallness,’ etc. seems to have an extra syllable in. i would exchange ‘about’ for ‘on’

    It’s super Julie.I wasn’t on the ball getting to this blogfest, maybe next time. Good luck!

  11. I love it, and can’t wait to read more and see it with illustrations! I agree with what Margie said:

    “What I really loved about this was the pictures you created with each line.”

    You definitely created vivid mental images for us! Thank you so much for sharing your work. Best of luck with it.

  12. Margie and Dawn – I’m so glad you could “see” the pictures in your mind. It’s my hope that this would be a fun piece for an illustrator to take on.

    Catherine – It’s also a relief that you see the story coming before the rhyme – I guess I’ve had that beaten into me enough times by now – lol

    Denise & Stacy – Thanks for coming by and giving me encouragement!!

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software