Monday, March 25, 2013

Become an Agent #16

Title: Big Hole to China
Genre: Chapter Book (Fiction) Ages 7-9
Word Count: 13,000

Nobody can actually dig a hole to China, right? That’s what Squirt thinks when little brother, Bubba, tries to tunnel through the Earth with his grandfather’s special shovel. But what starts as a simple hole becomes a vortex that carries Bubba and Squirt to the other side of the world – to Xi’an, China! There they face the ghost of China’s first emperor, Ch’in Shi Haung-ti, who insists they must find his missing burial pendant if they ever want to return home. With the help of some new Chinese friends, Bubba and Squirt learn about China and unravel the mystery of the pendant.

Bubba and Squirt’s story, BIG HOLE TO CHINA, is a 13,000 word chapter book which introduces young readers to the language, history, and culture of China. This book can stand alone, but I envision it as the beginning of a series in which Bubba and Squirt travel through the hole and experience different countries. I have outlined adventures in France, Belize, Italy, Egypt, and Russia. Each book will contain a recipe so that readers can have a “taste” of the country as well.


  1. No - while a great premise, it feels a bit too complex from the query.

  2. My vote would be no. The premise is intriguing, but it seems there is too much going on. As it is a query for a chapter book, I do not know the appropriate or recommended word count, but I'd like to learn more about why some of these events are happening. Best of luck.

  3. This is not one of the queries I've been assigned to critique, but I have to chime in and say I love it. I love the recipe inclusion, too. Kids won't mind a bit that it sounds a lot like Magic Treehouse, but agents may want to see a bit more what sets it apart. Good luck!

    1. I'm going to count this as a Yes — you are allowed to vote Yes on a few more queries outside your required ones :)

  4. A resounding YES! Lots of Voice and cool storyline. Big thumbs up.

    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell

  5. No. Interesting, and I like the set-up and visiting different cultures, but I wasn't drawn in to the story. (And, this is a personal preference, but Squirt has always had not-so-great connotations to me, so that may be a factor--probably not something you'd have to worry about with an agent, but I thought I'd throw that in there :) I do really like the recipe thing--great idea!

  6. Yes! Love it. It's concise and gives just the right amount of information on plot and character. Also, I think children can connect with the premise because I remember wanting to dig a hole to China when I was a little girl.

  7. I say yes to this one. Fun premise, however I have two caveats:
    1) Squirt is usually a name given to a younger brother, not an older one. And it's jarring.
    2) We need a little more information on how the emperor can get them back home.

    I think this a great way to introduce ancient China's history to young readers.

  8. Yes. I think the query could use some work. I'm not crazy about the word vortex, it seems like a dime store word the way it's used here. Overall though, I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to get and it's probably timed right to get some agent interest.

  9. YES. Great query and great set up.

    I want this series for my kids! Where do I sign up? :)

    Best of luck!

  10. It's super-cute, but just vague enough that it seems like a synopsis rather than a true query. Might not want to use the dreaded rhetorical question as an opening. It's a no for me, but I like it!

  11. No, I love the idea of travels in other places but for me it just didn't catch my interest enough, maybe you need more info?

  12. This query seems a little short. I want to know more about the boy's background and what makes the shovel special. Also what prevents them from jumping back in the hole and going home? I think a few more details would help this query a lot.

    It does have great voice and I think this query is one of the best. Yes.

  13. Chiming in to congratulate the winner, and see what the query looked like. I love it! :D Magic shovel and trip across the world? Kids would love it.

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