Thursday, June 25, 2015

QK Round 4: Eavesdropping Monkey vs. Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries

Entry Nickname: Eavesdropping Monkey
Word count: 650
Genre: Children’s Picture Book - Funny


When the monkeys overhear the elephants planning a family reunion they decide to throw a bash for their long lost relations, too. But they’re not the only ones. Family reunions are too good to miss out on and party planning spreads through the jungle like a Savanna grass fire.

Soon the watering hold is filled to capacity with animals of different species. Tempers flare as each fight to reunite with their own kind. Talk about a bungle in the jungle. Finally, a wise frog speaks up with a better idea that blows the family reunion right out of the watering hole.

FAMILY REUNION is an amusing tale of diversity and acceptance. At 650 words, this fun-filled, rollicking rhyme will appeal to children of the 4-8 age range.

First 250 words: 

On a hot, steamy day in the Jungle of Ghee,
A sly, nosey monkey swung from a tree.
He was eavesdropping on a large elephant herd,
And he hung there and listened to every last word.

“We’ll invite all our cousins from near and afar,”
Said the matriarch queen named Ali Dalmar.


Entry Nickname: Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries – Oh My!
Title: The Curious Curse of the Lonely Library
Word Count: 56k
Genre: Upper Middle Grade Low Fantasy


The Pickettsville library has moldered in silence for two hundred years, but Theodore Plumford can sense that it’s special. Not just any library was founded by a madman.

Left with relatives one summer, twelve-year-old Theodore coaxes his reluctant siblings to explore the unusually grand town library with him. Though the rest of Pickettsville refuses to darken its doors, the majestic building and its lively librarians soon enthrall the children. But when they discover that characters from the books are haunting the halls, an investigation into the founder’s mysterious life reveals a curse causing the library’s present predicament.

As the Plumfords and librarians unravel the past, the library’s future seems brighter. But Theodore’s impetuous brother Hugo would rather have an adventure than help the others, even if it throws the library into chaos. With the town clamoring to demolish the building and the characters fighting for their freedom, Theodore’s mettle will be tested when their lives and the library are endangered because of Hugo’s foolish choices. The bookworm who has always lived through others’ stories must learn how to be his own hero if he’s going to save the day.

First 250:

Theodore’s neck prickled when they drove past the building on their way into town. The rest of Main Street was a collection of shabby stores, but this place stood apart like a wild beast among tabby cats.

Six white columns guarded a wide double door, and cold, silent windows rose between the pillars. On top of the building, rosy light streamed through the panes of a glass dome. It looked like a ball of fire upon a mammoth block of ice.

“Mom, what’s that?”

Mrs. Plumford twisted in her seat to follow Theodore’s pointing finger. She squinted into the sun. “I’m not sure. You’ll have to ask your aunt.”

Theodore’s younger sister Lucy squirmed around to look at the building before it disappeared from view. “It looks scary,” she whispered.

“It looks boring,” said Hugo Plumford, elbowing Lucy in the center seat to make more room for himself. “Are we there yet?”

“Almost,” said Mr. Plumford. He turned the car into a neighborhood of prim houses in tidy rows, each so alike they might have been pressed from the same mold.

Hugo squashed his nose against the glass and groaned. “Can’t I go with you? I don’t wanna stay here.”

“No,” said Mr. Plumford. “I’d prefer you weren’t eaten by a crocodile.”

“But I wouldn’t!”

“Hugo, you’d be trying to measure its teeth the minute I turned my back.”

Theodore stifled a sigh and hunkered over his book, determined to ignore the hundredth round of this debate.


  1. Judges: reply to this comment to cast your votes. Thanks!

    1. Oh dear. I love monkeys. I also love libraries. I don't know how I can even begin to choose between these two strong entries...I keep re-reading them, hoping a decision will come to me! Honestly, I'd love to see both of these move on.

      Because I have to pick though, and because the message/theme appeals so much to me, I'll go with:


    2. Dr. T.J. EckleburgJune 25, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      Congrats on making it this far! Best of luck to you in the future!

      This is a tough one, as these are such different works and you both did a great job. What it comes down to is: Monkey had multiple errors in the query, with the misspelling of savannah and putting "hold" instead of "hole." I can't stress enough the importance of proofreading. Since I'm undecided between you, this is how I'm breaking the tie.


    3. Things get brutal during the later rounds. I love both of these entries, and I've voted for both of them in the past.

      With that said, I'm never going to have any reason to pick up a picture book and read it. But I do read MG, so VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS, CURSES.

    4. Princess of LlamasJune 25, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      These are both great! I've never read the Librarians one before, but I can see how it made it this far. And of course, the Monkey concept is cool. For purely subjective reasons, Victory to LIBRARIANS!

    5. This definitely isn't easy. Both of these entries are great. Congrats to both of you for making it this far, and remember you're doing a great job. At this point it just comes down to subjectivity for me as well.

      Victory: LIBRARIANS

    6. Congrats to you both for making it this far! I hope to see them both on store shelves.

      As awesome as Librarians is, it comes down to subjectivity. And I have to throw all my support to my fellow PB writer.


    7. Jackie Jormp-JompJune 26, 2015 at 12:42 AM

      Nice work both of you! Really solid entries! I love how Monkey has a nice arc, obstacles, and offers the characters a chance to grow and change through their experiences. I think that's important for a PB and comes through loud and clear in the query and will really help sell it. And I absolutely love the final sentence of the Librarian's query - goosebumps, seriously. So, it's a tough choice, but I'm going to award...

      Victory to LIBRARIANS!

    8. Monkey: This sounds charming and colourful and the writing has a nice rhythm. Only comment is that ‘eavesdropping’ is perhaps a bit tricky for the younger end of your age group and also a bit of a mouthful for a read-aloud, but I’m absolutely not an expert on PBs so I could be wrong.

      Libraries: There are a *lot* of magical libraries in kidlit. Despite that, I do love the sound of this story, and the query lays out the plot well. My only other comment is some of the word choices make it sound like it was written by a grown-up rather than Theodore talking (predicament, impetuous, mettle...) Nice first page, well-written and love the line about measuring the crocodile’s teeth, a great way to show Hugo’s character. Only real comment is that opening a book with moving to a new place (as I’ve mentioned before) has been done so many times before.

      It’s really hard to judge a picture book against a novel, especially as such a large part of picture books is, well, the pictures. Plus since I rarely read PBs I can’t tell you if, for example, jungle settings have been done a lot before – unlike with MG where I know we’ve had a lot of magical libraries. So... very tricky! These are both good but in the end I’m going to give VICTORY TO MONKEY.

    9. I want both of these books to read to my little one, stat, okay? I've loved Librarians since round one and it still grips me from the query. Monkey I'm seeing for the first time and while I think the idea is enormously clever and the 50 is so well-done, I'm really struggling to visualize what the resolution looks like in my head. This is purely subjective, as we must be in the round, but VICTORY TO LIBRARIANS.

  2. Great job on both of these entries! It's a hard decision, but I have to go with the one that grabbed me from the very first line of the query. Never underestimate the power of the opening hook. VICTORY TO LIBRARIES!

  3. These entries are both so fun and interesting! I wish you both the very best of success, and believe you will find it. Because I have to choose one, my choice goes to the one who got me from the beginning, and I love it so much.


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  5. We read a lot of Picture Books as well as MG in our house, so both of these caught my attention, and quite frankly I probably would have bought both of them already had I seen them on the shelf. While I think the queries for both are strong, I felt introducing five characters in the first 250 made the beginning of Librarians, Curses, and Mysteries a bit too confusing and thus gave the other entry the edge (but I would definitely read further based on the premise!). Plus, our sons would howl at the idea of the animals getting into a big quarrel.

    So for me it's going to be Victory to EAVESDROPPING MONKEY!

  6. These is a tough one for me as I'm not an overly big reader of either PB or MG. I think my issues are the same for both of these in that the concepts are a little overdone. The big thing for me here is that there were some typos for Eavesdropping Monkey, but the entry for Libraries was really clean.