It seems like no matter how I rework it, folks seem to hate on the dragon. I'm a bit at a loss as to how to resolve that, since he is central antagonist of the plot. I will try to re-clarify his place in the story. Long sentences seem to be an issue as well, so I will try to shorten them while keeping the main points. I will also cut the ends off concerning word count and dear agent, for the sake of brevity.
Thanks for your feedback.
Roland Hobbs and his neighbors are
Starting your query off this way is too passive.
Try and avoid starting sentences with:
They were, They are, She is, He was...etc.
Rearrange the words and it will be much stronger.
For example, off the top of my head:
After cutting down a forest of cursed trees, X-year-old, Roland Hobbs...
Also, voice is one of the most important elements in middle grade.
You have to wow with your voice. Don't worry about it too much while you're
still in the drafting stages of your query and trying to get all the info down, but
when you're in the polishing stage, make sure it comes through.
transformed into woodland animals when they
mistakenly cut down the enchanted trees holding a dragon's ghost prisoner. Partly to blame for the disaster, Roland the fire fox sets out to reclaim his lost humanity, and save the forest and his friends from the re-awakening power of Golthag the dragon.
1. Kill your adverbs, unless it changes the meaning of your sentence. He was dead vs He was nearly dead.
Nine times out of ten, if you're using an adverb it's because you need a stronger verb.
My editors only allow me two or three in an entire manuscript.
2. You need to tighten this up and get rid of unnecessary words. This is reading like a summary and you don't want that. You need to grab me with an awesome MG voice and not let go.
3. Think short and snappy.
Roland journeys south to seek the horn of a legendary unicorn, the key to restoring his people to human form. Roland must learn the ways of magic to
safely lock Golthag away forever before he can return the relic to the protection of its sanctuary.
Be careful of too many clichés. So far this doesn't stand out. You have a hero's journey, the search for a relic, and some legendary creature. That's fine if you have them in your story, but don't play up all these clichés in your query because they make your m/s sound like a gazillion others.
Find what makes yours unique and focus on that.
I'd say the fact that Roland is now a red panda is more where you want us to look.
The Bonebriars pursuing Roland are powerful thralls who seek to obtain the horn before he can. Roland and his companions must find the relic before it can be delivered to Golthag’s allies, who hope to fully resurrect the dragon, and use the Bonebriars to cover the four middle kingdoms in an age of darkness. There are too many unnecessary words. This is not reading like a middle grade voice. It sounds like a summary. Short and snappy. Lure me in.
Even if he can defeat the Bonebriars, and win the trust of the relic’s new guardians, Roland will still have to overcome his failings as a novice magician in order to safely wield the power of the unicorn’s horn. If used rashly, he might summon the apocalyptic power that the relic holds, and magnify the terror he helped to unleash.