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Author Topic: Kai Kagawa And The World's Cheekiest Parrot (Middle Grade)  (Read 949 times)
jenny99
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« on: May 14, 2017, 07:22:44 PM »

Hi there. I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions you might have. Thanks in advance Smiley


Dear Ms. X,

Eleven-year-old Kai Kagawa is furious. He told his friend Markus that going to the park to search for ninjas would be a mistake. It was. And now he’s grounded, again.

Stuck in the car on a winter road trip with Mom, the baby, and his aunt’s parrot, Kai has just two things on his mind. He wants to stay as far away from Cheeky the parrot as possible. And he needs to convince Mom to let him go to a movie premiere with Markus, so he can meet his hero—the actor who plays the sheriff in the movie version of his favourite video game.

But when the car breaks down on a remote road in the Rockies, it sets off a chain of events that forces Kai to face his fear of birds and to rethink his friendship with Markus. Ultimately, Kai must decide which is more important: meeting his movie hero or saving Cheeky from becoming a bald eagle snack.

KAI KAGAWA AND THE WORLD’S CHEEKIEST PARROT is a contemporary chapter book for middle grade readers, complete at 30,000 words.

My first middle grade novel, <name of book>, was nominated for the <name of award> in 2015.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 07:25:05 PM by jenny99 » Logged
Waterfall
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 08:38:36 PM »

Well, THAT sounds like a fun story. Thumbs Up

Depending on the agent, your use of Britishisms ("cheeky," favourite) might be fine. Specifically, I'd probably use a different word than "cheeky" for a US audience, where we more often use "cheeky" literally to refer to chipmunks. I'd also leave out "it sets off a chain of events that forces..." and just say that when the car breaks down, Kai is forced to face...

More importantly, if your 2015 MG novel was award-nominated, what's up with your current agent and publisher that they can't see the gold mine they already have?  Huh?
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jenny99
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 09:01:36 PM »

OMG - the Britishisms - I completely forgot. Thanks very much for pointing that out!
Any suggestions on an American equivalent for Cheeky?

I'm unagented, published by a small Canadian publisher who isn't currently open to submissions. Thanks for the vote of confidence Smiley
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Rachael846
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 04:31:52 AM »

I don't think there'd be a problem with cheeky. I know what that means.
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mgmystery
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2017, 08:46:57 AM »

I like the fun tone of this query! Cheeky works for me too, but in the interest of equivalent words, you could try power thesaurus https://www.powerthesaurus.org/ 
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maryj59
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 10:45:45 AM »

I agree with Waterfall; I'd modify the sentence that includes "chain of events" and just say, "Kai is forced". Otherwise, this looks great! Quick and funny. I have no problem with "Cheeky" as the parrot's name, btw.

Good luck with this! Let us know how you do.
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jenny99
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 01:38:38 PM »

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Here's my revised query (leaving Cheeky as is for now - having trouble finding a US equivalent that has the right tone):


Dear Ms. X,

Eleven-year-old Kai Kagawa is furious. He told his friend Markus that going to the park to search for ninjas would be a mistake. It was. And now he’s grounded, again.

Stuck in the car on a winter road trip with Mom, the baby, and his aunt’s parrot, Kai has just two things on his mind. He wants to stay as far away from Cheeky the parrot as possible. And he needs to convince Mom to let him go to a movie premiere with Markus, so he can meet his hero—the actor who plays the sheriff in the movie version of his favorite video game.

But when the car breaks down on a remote road in the Rockies, it forces Kai to face his fear of birds and to rethink his friendship with Markus. Ultimately, Kai must decide which is more important: meeting his movie hero or saving Cheeky from becoming a bald eagle snack.

KAI KAGAWA AND THE WORLD’S CHEEKIEST PARROT is a contemporary novel for middle grade readers, complete at 30,000 words.

My first middle grade novel, <name of book>, was nominated for the <name of award> in 2015.
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maryj59
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2017, 01:57:45 PM »

Awesome!  clap This is really tight and snappy now. If your query reflects the tone of your book, I should think a lot of people would be interested in reading it. Not very experienced at the querying thing, but I'd say send it out to five or six agents and see how it goes. Good luck!
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mgmystery
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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 07:28:11 AM »

Nice job!  Thumbs Up
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DownNineUpTen
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 06:46:29 AM »

I don't have any strong objections but just to give you some food for thought I actually wonder if the first paragraph was necessary or even important. They're driving in the car to go to a movie premiere, which is motivation enough.

An even smaller comment: I think "meeting his movie hero or saving Cheeky from becoming a bald eagle snack" sounds better without the "a" in front of "bald".

Otherwise, it sounds okay. No girl characters? How about a sister?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Here's my revised query (leaving Cheeky as is for now - having trouble finding a US equivalent that has the right tone):


Dear Ms. X,

Eleven-year-old Kai Kagawa is furious. He told his friend Markus that going to the park to search for ninjas would be a mistake. It was. And now he’s grounded, again.

Stuck in the car on a winter road trip with Mom, the baby, and his aunt’s parrot, Kai has just two things on his mind. He wants to stay as far away from Cheeky the parrot as possible. And he needs to convince Mom to let him go to a movie premiere with Markus, so he can meet his hero—the actor who plays the sheriff in the movie version of his favorite video game.

But when the car breaks down on a remote road in the Rockies, it forces Kai to face his fear of birds and to rethink his friendship with Markus. Ultimately, Kai must decide which is more important: meeting his movie hero or saving Cheeky from becoming a bald eagle snack.

KAI KAGAWA AND THE WORLD’S CHEEKIEST PARROT is a contemporary novel for middle grade readers, complete at 30,000 words.

My first middle grade novel, <name of book>, was nominated for the <name of award> in 2015.
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jenny99
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 03:28:08 PM »

Thanks DownNineUpTen!

Yeah, I've been trying to figure out how to tie that first paragraph in better, and you might be right that I could just remove it.
There's an older sister, but she's not critical to the main conflict so I haven't mentioned her. She's in the opening scene, so when I attach the first several pages (according to individual agent submission guidelines) she'll be there.

Cheers!
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