A picture book query to critique! Hooray! I’ve been hoping somebody would submit one of these.
I found your profile in Publisher’s Marketplace and noticed you were interested in exhilarating, potential series picture books. I thought my Azalea’s Mysterious Key would suit you.
Azalea’s Mysterious Key is a children‘s book that combines fantasy and adventure all within 830 words. This is a little on the long side for a picture book. This picture book is plot driven, but also utilizes the opportunity to educate and stimulate young minds, ranging from the ages of six to eight. The word count and target ages are good, but the rest of this I could do without. Let the synopsis speak for itself.
When Azalea finds a key in her backyard, she looks for the assistance of her friends Taylor, Tyler, Be careful when you have two names that are very similar to each other and Max to figure out what it unlocks. Working together, the group is able to conclude it fits a door of an Oak lowercase tree located in the middle of Azalea’s backyard. Azalea, Max, and the Twins never want to depart from their new found discovery. But where does it lead? A magical treehouse? A secret fantasy land?
Azalea’s Mysterious Key can be followed up with another picture book, Azalea’s Adventure. At this point, everyone has had enough fun. Again, this leaves me wondering where exactly they went in the first book. Unexpectedly, the key gets stolen. I don’t think you need to say unexpectedly. People typically don’t expect their stuff to be stolen. Using problem-solving skills the gang must retrieve the key with the aid of a few inhabitants. You can maybe get away with this if the agent or editor specifically asked for a series, but usually it’s best to focus on selling one book at a time.You’ve already established that it’s a series, which is great if I like the first book. Spend the rest of the query making me want that book… and all the others that follow.
Azalea’s Mysterious Key can be followed up with another picture book, Azalea’s Adventure. At this point, everyone has had enough fun. Unexpectedly, the key gets stolen. Using problem-solving skills the gang must retrieve the key with the aid of a few inhabitants. Um, not sure why this is here again, but I’m guessing it’s unintentional.
The possible Azalea series would really fit in the market of six to eight year olds. This has already been stated. At this stage of life one is able to think through actions and understand causes of events. The idea of working together and continuing to try is tough for a youth of this age to grasp. Seeing, the main characters accepting failure and continuously trying will reiterate these two important concepts to readers. I like to keep the focus more on the story than what the child will learn.
In addition to the picture book, a glossary can be included in the back. There are a handful of “advanced” words within each book that can easily be interpreted through the use of context clues. Readers will be able to expand vocabulary while using critical thinking skills. I feel like a glossary would be sort of hit or miss. Some might like it, others might hate it. I’m a little on the fence.
I’ve worked extensively with young, school aged children and have seen them yearn for more thought- provoking manuscripts, which are also challenging.
Thank you for your consideration, this is a nonexclusive submission. I look forward to hearing from you!
The query is a little on the long side, though part of that may be due to the repeated paragraph.