Query Hack: Critique #13 – Picture Book

Dear Query Hack,

I’d like to present SOUNDS LIKE HOME, a 470 word picture book, about an immigrant child who feels lost and alone in her new surroundings, until she plays her flute.

  • Awesome story concept! However, be careful of your punctuation. This first sentence should read: “I’d like to present SOUNDS LIKE HOME, a 470-word picture book about an immigrant child who feels lost and alone in her new surroundingsuntil she plays her flute.”

The tight knit artistic neighborhood, full of talented and diverse people, welcomes the young immigrant child into the fold with a neighborhood jam session. They don’t need to speak the same words in order to share joy, acceptance, and art. Music needs no translation.

  • While I love the elements here, I think there may be a little too much telling vs. showing. Instead of saying the people are talented and diverse and they welcome your protagonist into a jam session, show that. Here’s a quick example:

NAME and her family move into a crowded neighborhood in Astoria, where it’s very noisybeeping cars, wailing sirens, and the chatter of people in a language she’s still learning. Scared of her strange, new home, quite unlike the quiet fields of LOCATION/HOME, she often hides in her room. But when NAME hears the drumming of music outside her bedroom window, she clutches her favorite flute and ventures downstairs to where she can hear the echoes of laughter. Her neighbors welcome her, and she soon learns that music needs no translation. 

This lyrical book about human connection, art, and musical onomatopoeia inspired by bebop and jazz will appeal to fans of Maybe Something Beautiful or Ada’s Violin. I believe that books about not just accepting, but embracing, the diversity in our world is especially timely now, but important always.

  • I love the content here, but I recommend cleaning up your second sentencethe wording is a touch confusing. 

I am a member of SCBWI and I host the blog [BLOG NAME]. I sold a picture book [NAME] to [PUBLISHER]. I invest in my writing education with conferences, classes, and Highlights Foundation retreats.

  • All great stuff here, too, but don’t forget to vary your sentence beginnings so that not every sentence begins with “I.”

I write picture books, chapter books, and middle grade. I’ve been in sales for twelve years and have marketing experience. I visit schools with presentations on creative writing. I own far too many pets.

Thank you for your time.

  • Do you mean middle grade fiction?
  • Again, nice information here, but be sure to vary your sentence beginnings. Also, you’ll probably want to combine this paragraph with your above paragraph (starting with “I am a member of…”). 

 

 


 

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