Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team Krista #10: THELMA BEE

Title: THELMA BEE
Genre: MG adventure
Word count: 34,000

Query:

Eleven-year-old Thelma Bee might turn red as cherries when she’s embarrassed, but she’s no wallflower. Thelma has adventure in her blood. There’s not a whole lot of opportunity for exploration in her hometown of Riverfish, Massachusetts, though, so she and her best friend Alexander Oldtree are often left to their own devices--with mixed results. The full-scale Viking Longship, for example, was a magnificent flop.

But one October night, Thelma’s sixth grade year takes a turn for the peculiar. A ghostly visitor kidnaps her father, leaving her alone and scared to death. Her only clue is a centuries-old jewelry box and one cryptic word the ghost whispered into her ear: “Return.”

That one word draws this adventurer-in-training into a world where her family tree unfolds a mystery that’s more extraordinary than anything her imagination could concoct. With her team of amateur ghost hunters, Thelma delves deep into the New England woods, where the lines between folklore and reality become dangerously blurry. It’s there, where the creaking trees have long memories, that she comes face to face with the devious Mr. Understone, who has been stalking her bloodline for centuries. Thelma has something he wants, and he’ll keep her dad until he gets it.

To save her father, she must find the bravery to overcome a dark magic…and discover just what she’s made of.

First page:

Thelma Bee had short, confident bangs, a heavy red backpack, and no idea that a very strange thing was about to find her. When the final bell rang that Wednesday afternoon, she closed her eyes and the sound transformed into a celebration of mariachi trumpets. Just one more school day until the long-long weekend. She busted out of the front door with the excitement that only 2:30 p.m. can bring, and navigating a path through a weird-smelling ocean of middle-schoolers, Thelma set a course for her dad’s antique shop.

Mr. Henry Bee was the proud proprietor of Bee’s Very Unusual Antiques--which was, in Thelma’s opinion, a bit of false advertising. Sometimes they sold items that were quite ordinary, like an old chipped mug, and sometimes they sold things that were not antique at all, like Mrs. Edelstein’s homemade cookies. Maybe, she thought, the shop should be named something more like Bee’s Very Unusual Antiques and Also Some Very Normal Antiques and Also Cookies. Not very catchy, but honest.

“Hey, Dad!” She threw down her backpack and plopped herself on an overstuffed avocado-and-orange-colored chair from the 1970s.

“Hey, kiddo!” hollered Henry. He emerged from his workshop in a worn-out brown apron.

Henry Bee sported the kind of thick eyeglasses that had been fashionable in the 1950s, as he had a passion for the old and unique. Once a journalist for the American Post, Henry had traveled the globe reporting on strange occurrences from Albany to Antarctica. In fact, it was there in Antarctica that he’d met Thelma’s mother, Mary “Goosefoot” Bee.

25 comments:

Michelle Mason said...

Yay for #TeamKrista MG! I love your description of Thelma as an adventurer-in-training and the quirky details in the query. I want to know how her mom got the nickname "Goosefoot" ...

Noelle Henry said...

This is exactly the kind of Middle Grade I'd love to read to my kids. Something adventurous, and intriguing, with a lot of heart and great details.

Sarah said...

Such voice! Such a short excerpt and I can already picture Thelma. Go Team Krista!

Ann Bedichek said...

You had me at full-scale Viking Longship!

This sounds so fun. Yay middle grade!!

Becky Mahoney said...

Yes yes yes! Love your voice and your premise, and as a born and bred New Englander, I can picture the setting perfectly. I'd buy this in a heartbeat!

AllieS said...

What a cute voice!

loritayseastep said...

Go Team Krista MGers! I love this... can't wait to see it on the shelves one day. :)

Julie DeGuia said...

Your first sentence is awesome! A "thing" not a "someone" is very mysterious and intriguing.

And yay for middle grade!

Ryan said...

I love that the actions starts sooner in your first 25o. (I still love that description (and name change) of the shop. Hilarious!

Lisa K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa K. said...

Both the query and the first page are just oozing character and whimsy and all the things I love about a book. Great job! Go Team Krista!

T.L. Bodine said...

Love it. Especially love the details about the antique shop.

Ben Spendlove said...

If I remember right, the query is even better than before. Likable characters right from the start.

Jennie Bailey said...

This was my kind of adventure book when I was growing up! I adore this idea and I can see my neice picking it up today! Great job!

Dana said...

Cute! I love the name, Thelma - it oozes with character!

TYHatch said...

I love a good MG heroine. Thelma is awesome, I can already tell.

Good luck!

Becca C. said...

Yay Thelma Bee! Love it. Love, love, love. That is all.

Leigh Ann said...

"where the creaking trees have long memories..."

*sigh* that is beautiful. And just in the query!

Thelma Bee sounds like one spunky girl! Rooting for her - and you!

April Wall said...

Always love seeing the other wonderful MG entries in this contest! Good luck!

erica m. chapman said...

Great MG voice. The writing is beautiful too ;o)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I love the voice and the MG appeal. I teach many kids I'd love to recommend this to. Even the first line of your query has strong voice - pulls me right in. Good luck!

Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary said...

I vote for you!

Susan Hawk said...

I vote for you!

Louise Fury said...

I VOTE FOR YOU!

Tara Dairman said...

#10 THELMA BEE

Query:

I like the opening sentence of your query, but to me it suggested more of a contemporary story than the paranormal one that seems to develop. In fact, the whole first paragraph does. I think you can cut that paragraph substantially—for instance, the best friend doesn’t get mentioned by name again, so it’s not important to give him a big intro here. Get the ghost/kidnapping stuff from the 2nd paragraph up in there instead.

(Also, hyphenate “sixth grade” when used as an adjective before “year.”)

First page:

The tone here is very cute and middle-gradey—I especially love all the jokes in the second paragraph. My hang-up is that it doesn’t match the tone of the query at all. And that really gives me pause. What kind of story is this going to be—the dark and devious one promised by the query, or the light and quirky one of the first page? Neither the title nor your listed genre are giving me any clues to this, and I can’t read the next few pages, so I’ll just say that if it’s the latter, you may want to rethink your query some.