SCBWI members — be sure to login regularly to SCBWI's main site to take full advantage of your membership.

Main Menu
SCBWI welcomes you to their "new" Discussion Boards. Everyone interested in children's literature is encouraged to join and participate in ongoing discussions. Play nice, have fun, and enjoy sharing with your peers from around the world.


PB Query critique

Started by AndyC, April 13, 2024, 03:54 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Hi All,

I was a finalist in the PB party competition (illustrator category) and I have over a dozen requests to see more work and dummy. So I have my hands a good way. :)

I have written my first ever query and would love some critiques as I want to start submitting in the next couple of days.

Note: In my query I have section in parentheses [ ] where I will add in some personalisation for each agent letter.

FYI - I have written a short version but I felt the magic was list a little.


I was thrilled to see your interest in my Picture Book Party submission and your request for a query. For reference, I was #23 in the illustrator showcase. [INSERT PERSONALIZATION & WHY A GOOD FIT]. I am excited to present my work and children's picture book, RUPERT LOSES HIS SHINE, to you.

In this whimsical adventure, Rupert, an eager-to-please rainbow, dramatically loses his colors while trying to impress others. Rupert embarks on a colorful and character-filled quest to rediscover his shine and learns valuable lessons about embracing one's true self.

RUPERT LOSES HIS SHINE (589 words) is a heart-warming, modern tale crafted for young readers aged 2-5, written in prose and focusing on themes of self-expression and inner happiness. It draws inspiration from heart-warming journeys of inner happiness, such as Shine by Patrick McDonnell, and modern whimsy found in titles like Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows. RUPERT LOSES HIS SHINE will stand out with its charming narrative, memorable characters, and captivating illustrations.

Residing in Sydney, Australia, the son of a librarian and a parent myself, I value the power of engaging storytelling for young minds. My passion lies in picture books, backed by courses, numerous manuscripts, and active involvement in critique groups. With over two decades as an Art Director in graphic design and advertising, I offer a unique blend of creativity and craftsmanship, ensuring that RUPERT LOSES HIS SHINE entertains and resonates with its audience.

Please find a link to my Book Dummy here.
Please find a link to my art here.

Thank you for considering my submission. I look forward to the possibility of working together to make Rupert's story shine bright on bookshelves everywhere.


Debbie Vilardi

This is a good start. I think it could use a little tightening and the description of the story reads as generic to me. Perhaps give me some specifics that show how this heartwarming journey differs from all the others.

So, in the first paragrpah, you can combine ideas:
we compost our food scraps at homes, schools, the office, or joyful gatherings."Thank you for liking my picture book party submission. For reference, I was #23 etc. Rupert Loses His Shine is a 589 word picture book focusing on self expression as a journey toward inner happiness.

Rupert ---plot and comps.

For the paragraph about yourself, the first sentence can be cut. Be careful of using adjectives in your query. The agent/ editor is the judge of whether your work is heartwarming, etc. But your work experience is very relevant.

I hope this helps. Congratz on the likes and good luck with the submissions. 
Twitter: @dvilardi1

Having trouble registering? Does something on the board not work correctly? If so, use the Contact button at the top of the page and we will get back to you. Note: questions about writing, publishing, or "how to post" are NOT answered through the Contact button. If you are registered, scroll the Home page to find categories where you can post. Only registered members can post.