Phew! I didn't think I'd manage to get this done in time,but here it is, my first attempt at writing a query! I look forward to your advice :)

Dear Lora

‘Teacher for the Day’ was the prize and Emma had won it fair and square. Now was her chance to prove to the teacher that a list of classroom rules was totally unnecessary for keeping chaos at bay. With her classmates 100% behind her, there was no way could she fail to deliver to deliver a perfect, fun-filled Friday, or could she?

“Teacher For The Day” is an 800 word picture book aimed at elementary school children aged 7 to 10 years old. The use of refrain (This isn’t at all how I imaged my fantastic, fun-filled Friday!) helps to create and maintain a humorous tone throughout the book. The theme of the book is about boundaries and the role they play in allowing people to enjoy a sense of freedom.

I am a Savvy Authors blog articles assistant and have completed various writing workshops, including one on the art of picture book writing. I run my own blog ‘Dilettante to Dynamo’, which I make regular posts to on the subject of writing for children. I am also an active member of The CBI Clubhouse, Savvy Authors, and the Wellington Children’s Book Association.  

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to read the complete manuscript. Thank you for taking the time to consider my query.

Yours sincerely
Vicky Bruere

School Street
New Zealand


  1. Vicky, this is really your first query? Wow, great job! I think your first paragraph is great. It catches my attention and clearly lays out the character and problem in the story.

    I find the age group for the book a bit surprising, since most picture books are for a younger audience (e.g. 4 to 8). Also, I'm wondering if the phrase in brackets is the actual refrain and whether you need to explain its purpose. But I don't usually write queries for picture books, so maybe wait and see what others think.

  1. Hi,

    The premise of a kid getting to run the class is a great one.

    I think you've got the concept down, but don't give a very clear idea of the narrative. I would have liked more of a sense of what she had planned as 'better than Teacher' ideas, and also the sorts of things that go wrong for her. How inventive you are in coming up with problems for her to deal with would give a good indication of the kind of book it will be, I think.

    btw did you mean 'imaged' or imagined? Imaged sounds an odd word for a kid to use.

    My query is at: Moody Writing

  1. Oh, I like it! I'd totally let me kids read this book. The first graph needs some love -- start from scratch and try the book's teaser again. I always find that a second effort (even if you toss it out) really helps.

  1. I agree with Mood about not knowing the true premise of the ms. You might also look at making the paragraph a bit more active (i.e. ____yr-old Emma _____ just won ____________________.) Packs quite a bit more info in the first sentence and leaves you with more room to explain what she wants and how she'll achieve her goal.

  1. LOVE this story (especially as a classroom teacher)! I'd expand the ages from 5-10. Also, instead of just stating it has a humorous tone, I'd mention one or two humorous things she does as "Teacher for the Day." Other than that, well done. Can't wait to read this book to my class:)

  1. Very cute story idea! I am a bit of a stickler for repeating words too often in a short amount of time. Paragraph one says Teacher for a Day and then says she wants to impress her teacher - could you replace the second teacher with Mrs. So and so instead? After that there are a few bumps in the first paragraph. Read it over and you'll see what to fix.

    I'd like to see more examples of the story and bring the ages the down to 4-8. Or say school-age picture book.

    Great job! How do you feel having accomplished this first?

  1. Hey Vicky,

    This picture book sounds so cute. I did notice you said to deliver two times in a row. I loved it other than that:)

    If you place on submitting this for the contest, please email the final to me by 12PM ET Tuesday.

    Good Luck!

  1. As a retired teacher, I can appreciate the concept of your picture book. BRAVO!

    In your query letter, I would look to change the 'to be' verbs to stronger verbs that say more.

    Instead of explaining the use of your refrain, I would give some examples of what went wrong and follow with your refrain.

    Hope this helps.

  1. Hi Vicky,

    Congrats on writing your first query. They aren't fun, I know. I've written over fifteen of them and have learned a lot along the way. So here is my advice:

    A query should always be written in the present tense, so you'll need to change that up front. At the end of the frst paragraph, you say "to deliver" twice. Just a typo type error, but be sure to read your query a million times before hitting that old send button.

    I think, though this is short picture book, that you need to show some of what Emma delivers in her fun-filled day. A query has to show the story, not the premise of the story.

    Always spell out numbers up to one hundred (a hundred percent) and write your book's title all in caps (TEACHER FOR THE DAY) so it stands out from the rest of the text. 7-10 years old seems really old for picture books. You might reconsider your target audience.

    Also, in the second paragraph, you tell what you do instead of showing what you do.

    Leave all that blogging stuff out and only include your certifiable credentials.

  1. Hi Andrea, thanks for taking the time to give me some feedback. I'll definitely change the age range...not sure why I put 7 down. And after visiting other blogs I've certainly got a bit more of an idea about how to represent the story a bit better. For now I'll keep working on it!

  1. Hi Moody, thanks for your insight. I see what you mean about hooking the agent in with events from the story. My experience in this area was non-existent until now but after reading the queries of others I'm starting to get a sense of how to tackle your advice. I'm sure it's going to harder than people make it look, but I'm up for a challenge :)

    P.S. It was a typo! Better proof reading necessary on my part!

  1. Hi Amber, thanks for your advice. It really is in need of a total makeover. This whole process has been a great learning experience though and I feel really positive about giving it another go...and another and another etc. until it sounds just right.

  1. Thank you so much for your practical advice Alleged. I'll certainly make use of your suggestions in the rewriting. I don't know why I wasn't able to think of it myself yesterday. I guess sometimes it's necessary for someone to whack you over the head with the sensible stick!

  1. Hi Jamie, thank you for your advice. I visited your blog this morning and I have to say this whole process has been such a huge learning experience; far more beneficial than simply reading a book on how to write a query :)

  1. Hi Laura, it's great to finally have made an attempt at this hurdle! thank you for your suggestions. I'll certainly put them to good use in the rewriting of this query. Normally I would have double checked and changed repeated words as I too find it a bit clunky when that happens. I was just so keen to get it out there and take part in the first part of this contest. A couple of weeks of sickness in our family has really killed off my writing flow so I'm just pleased to have managed to make a post!

  1. Hi Kathy, thank you so much for your feedback. I hope to get round to reworking this query today and I'll certainly be heeding your advice.

  1. Hi Nancy, thanks for your feedback. I'm definitely going to get my proof reading back up to standard...way too many typos in this one! Your advice is very specific and exactly what I needed. I've started a checklist using your advice and I'll be sure to refer to it as I rewrite - and for all future attempts too!

  1. Wow! Congrats! Your voice in the first paragraph is so strong. I think you can eliminate most of the second paragraph. If you beef up your first paragraph as the others said, you don't need to comment on the theme, it will show through your writing.

    Wonderful work!
    ~ Rachel

  1. I'm not knowledgeable on kid's books, but this sounds good to me! Lots of voice, which is always great in a query.

Post a Comment