Sunday, February 23, 2014


Sidewalk Chalk

Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy


Thirteen-year-old Jake meets Galen, an artist whose brain-meltingly awesome works of 3-D sidewalk chalk art serve as a portal to the magical worlds beneath the streets of New York.

When one of Jake’s friends runs into a drawing, he sets off a chain of events that ends with Blake, the most annoying kid in school seeing him and following him in. The next morning Jake finds Blake’s boat-sized footprints in the chalk, along with claw prints from the hundreds of creatures that crawled out behind him.

After finding weapons of water and drawing an army of their own, Jake and friends chase the creatures through Central Park to destroy them. If they fail, New York will be overrun and the door will remain open forever.

SIDEWALK CHALK is 41,000 words of Home Alone meets Despicable Me where sidewalk-drawing, monster-hunting, minion-leading, middle-schoolers have chalk creatures crawling out of their drawing issues.

First Sentence:

Sidewalk chalk is only good for drawing bases in the middle of the street, and filling the extra-long socks of my extra-long older brother to hit my friends with on Halloween . . . or so I thought.


  1. I really love the premise behind this. My only suggestion would be to cut down on mentioning the unnamed friend (if he isn't important enough to the story to warrant a name here, maybe leave room for more details about what comes out and stakes). Maybe you could just give a sentence about Blake opening the door for the creatures to come over? I'm also not sure how it is Blake's fault, and not the other friends, since they both went in? Or, did his friend not come out? If that is the case, mention that. The "weapons of water" also confused me. Are the creatures actually chalk drawings too? I think with some tweaking, this could be really strong. And again, I adore the premise, and bet this is a really fun, cute story. Good luck!

  2. Jodie, thanks so much. You know these contests are funny. I had my previous Query out and they said "take the friends name out. Too many names!" The friends name is Dozer, as in Bull-Dozer.
    It's not really Blake's fault and that comes out later in the story. The water is essential because yes the creatures are chalk as well. (didn't want too many dead creature bodes around in MG :-)

    Thanks again. Pete

  3. Hi! I love this concept, as you know. A thought occurred to me: Is there a way to change "When one of Jake’s friends runs into a drawing" to something like "When one of Jake’s friends enters one of the drawings, twisted Mary Poppins style" (or something to that effect)? That is what I am visualizing every time I read this pitch. Of course, I could be way off...just a thought!

  4. Hello! This sounds like a terrific adventure, and your humor is shining through. The second paragraph of your pitch was a little tricky for me to read and understand. What about a framework like this:

    When one of Jake’s friends runs into a drawing, the most annoying kid in school follows him in. The next morning, Jake finds boat-sized footprints in the chalk, along with claw prints from the hundreds of creatures that crawled out, too.

    I appreciate your kind comments on my #72, and I think I am typing to a fellow artist? Best of luck to you-

  5. I'm afraid this pitch feels a bit muddled to me. The entire second paragraph makes it difficult to keep characters straight (an issue which is not helped with the sound-alike names of Jake and Blake). The "weapons of water" is also awkward--do they fashion water into a weapon, ala Wonder Twins? Or do they just use super soakers or something? With your comparison to Home Alone and Despicable Me, I think there is likely a fun, madcap adventure in this book, but as it's written there's not enough to make it stand out from other portal stories for me. Good luck!

  6. This really struck a chord with me, nice job! Your first sentence especially hooked me. A few minor things: I'd like more of a feel for Jake's character and I'm not sure about Galen only being mentioned once. I can see why other commenters want a little more clarification on the weapons of water would help, but for me, weapons of water just make sense when you have a portal drawn from chalk.

    1. My answer to your last sentence would be "Right? Those type of weapons are the only ones to use against chalk monsters." In the story some of the weapons are Hoses, sprinklers, fire hydrants, a Zamboni (yes you heard that correctly, a Zamboni) and ponds and water features throughout Central Park. I didn't mention Galen more than once because people took exception to too many names in a Query. Thank you so much.


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