Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January Secret Agent #25

TITLE: Picklehead Popcorn Blue Dog Socks
GENRE: MG Contemporary

Blue dog socks were meant for fun days.

If only --

“Maddison, hurry up!” her dad hollered from downstairs. “Betty’s here!”

“Okaay. Coming.”

There! Squeezed in the very back corner were the . . .


“We’ll meet you in the car,“ her dad called again. “Don’t forget the questions. And your banana.”

Maddie looked around. Her bedroom had turned into a jungle!

She heard the house keys clank. Dad-Code for, ‘thirty more seconds.’

“Picklehead popcorn blue dog socks,” Maddie said and she let the door bang, just a little bit.

Maddie’s dad turned in the drivers seat. “Now, you’re sure you have everything?”

“D.a.a.d . . . “ Maddie rolled her eyes.

Betty giggled behind both hands.

“Seriously, “ her dad said. “Last minute checks are important. How about, ‘paper’?”

“Check,” Betty said and patted her backpack.

“Okay then. Pen?”

Maddie squeezed her pant pocket. She scrumpled her jacket.

“Got it!” Betty pointed at the pen hanging from Maddie’s T-shirt.

“See? We’re done!” her dad said. “Class project, here we come.”

Maddie pushed the door open.

The wind chimes tinkled and she inhaled warm plastic, resin and plaster dust.

Nothing else smelt quite like, Toby Depp’s Limb Centre.

“Uncle Toby, we’re here for our research,” Maddie sang out loud.

Betty starred at a leg leaning against the wall, its toes painted pearly-pink. Her mouth scrunched sideways and she sidestepped past.

It reminded Maddie of her first time.

“Morning Tom. Hi M.B.,” Uncle Toby said as he ambled down the hall.

A blush warmed Maddie’s face. Uncle Toby never called her Maddie.


  1. You've got an interesting mc, which I like, and it's a fun start. I think this would benefit from on occasional descriptive sentence so we have a better idea of what's going on.

    Also, I think you mean "Betty stared at a leg leaning against the wall...:

  2. Interesting title and first line. After that it's a little hard to follow. I agree with btbalog. We could use some descriptions.

    I find the sentence "It reminded Maddie of her first time." to be very intriguing.

  3. You got me! I was enjoying the opening but thinking it was a bit mundane (even though real-feeling) with the only thing going on being a choice between blue and green socks...until Toby Depp's Limb Centre appeared. I laughed. I love it. I think young readers will like it even more than I.

    One little quirk that I would have added: when you have trouble choosing, take one of each.


  4. I also thought you could use a bit of description here and there. And you might add a sentence that shows them driving. She gets in the car and gets out, and they're there, without any traveling at all.

  5. Like the others, I wanted a little more description. For me, it was lacking for the setting. I wanted to feel more grounded with where she was at--both the room and then the car. A little goes a long way, and you can use those setting descriptions as a means for getting to know the character more too (how she views her world through her unique lens). I love the humor and that your story starts in-scene. Lots of promise for a very enjoyable book!

  6. I have to say that I had a hard time following this. It jumped around so much that I couldn’t figure out where the characters were. I love funny middle-grade, but this feels disjointed. The layout of one-sentence paragraphs makes it even more so. I can’t say that I was hooked. Perhaps if it hadn’t felt so disjointed and there was more context, I might have been.