Sunday, March 2, 2014


Title: Paloma and the Bow Wow Bar Mitzvah

Genre: contemporary early middle grade chapter book

Word Count: 14,500


Impulsive, fur-phobic, nine-year-old Paloma Perez needs cash fast, or she’ll miss celebrating her best friend’s birthday at the most epic-i-lious concert ever.

Pet sitting a lost and most-likely dead cat isn’t working out, so Paloma literally turns herself upside down. Ka-ching! She comes up with a brilliant money maker--Paloma Perez Party Planner Extraordinaire. But she ignores her best friend’s warning, and her first event, a Doggie Bar Mitzvah, unloads a pooper-scooper full of trouble.

Paloma scrambles to pull together a furry fun-a-palooza, but amid the chaos of cat party crashers (they come for the herring) and yarmulke-eating canines, Paloma’s worried she could fail. And even worse, she could lose her best friend too.

First Page:

Summer Vacation Rule Number One: if you’re trying to save the planet, don’t use left-over Easter egg dye as hair color.

I, Paloma Perez, have a lot of hiccups. Not the mini-heart-attack, can’t-breathe-for-a-second kind of hiccups. The Paloma-what-have-you-done-now kind of hiccups. But those are my mom’s words. She calls my oops-I-made-a-mistake hiccups, disasters.

Hiccups aren’t disasters unless you’re Charles Osborne. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for hiccuping for sixty-eight years. Can you believe he hiccuped every ten seconds, even when he was sleeping? I used a calculator. That’s over two hundred million hiccups.

I’m only nine. I bet I don’t have a thousand hiccups. Even if I add the regular kind and the mistakey kind together. But it’s only the first day of my summer vacation.

Anything could happen.

I could drink too fast and laugh too hard and ka-powie! Hiccups. ,

Or my planet-saving hair color could stink like pickles. Which it does. But I told my mom, that’s not a disaster.

I didn't convince her. She banished me from the back of Lucia's Divas Hair Salon, to the front. My mom’s Lucia. She’s the owner, and we live above the salon with my grandmother.

So I’m sitting at the scratched wooden table called the reception desk, when Nina, my best friend, flies into the salon like she packed her Tori Skori backpack with jet fuel.


  1. I love the narrative voice here. Paloma sounds like a wonderful girl. She sort of reminds me of a character from a Beverly Cleary book. I was a little confused by the first half of the pitch, but the first page more than made up for it. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate it.

  2. This character is adorable! I like her already. Pitch was fantastic. Fur-phobic is a super way to describe her in minimal words. We learn the story problem/goal right away, which is great. The only things that caught me off guard were:

    1) "Turns herself upside down." At first I thought this had something to do with hanging from the bars at school or something. Not sure what a better word choice would's just something to think about.

    2) (they come for the herring). This is cute, but the parentheses took me out of the pitch for a moment. Not sure if those words can be added in to the regular text or not. Party-crashing-red-herring-eating cats ?? Not sure if that's any better :/

    Otherwise, adorable pitch. Adorable voice. I'd read on.

  3. I thought the pitch voice was very confident, and that's appealing. I was a little confused by the possible contradiction between "fur-phobic" (which I took to mean, scared of pets/animals) and Paloma's cat-sitting and Doggie Bar Mitzvah jobs. Why is she doing anything with pets if she's fur-phobic? Or does "fur-phobic" mean she loves animals and would never dream of wearing furs? When she "literally turns herself upside down," does that imply coins fell out of her pockets and gave her the idea of party planning? I wasn't sure what the connection was. I pondered these questions instead of feeling the flow of words at times.

    I was also curious why Paloma's disastrous pooch party might cost her her best friend. Is it because the BFF warned her against doing it, and Paloma didn't listen? Or is there a separate correlation between bad doggie party / loss of friend? (Lack of funds to attend the friend's party?) A little more clarity on that issue might help round out the end of the pitch nicely.

    In the pages, I though the hiccups / Guinness Book of World Records stuff was great, though I felt a little tripped up by the amount of hyphens in the second paragraph. Overall I felt that Paloma was a super fun, breathless narrator, and readers immediately understand her dynamic with her mom. To me, Paloma seemed instantly likeable and vivid. Nice work!!

  4. Thanks for the comments on the pitch. Glad Paloma's voice came through and rang true.


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