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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Holiday Cheer: Nitwit Tidbits of Kidlit

  • This week I’m getting a lot of my links from my husband. While I cover children’s literature, he covers screenwriting and graphic novels. Sometimes our interests converge, as they did with a recent link called 10 Best Animated Movies for Traumatizing Kids. Note the appearance of Watership Down. Though, admittedly, it can’t really compete with that crazy raccoon movie mentioned right after it.

  • Want to help out a school in New Orleans this holiday season? I received this note from a fellow lady librarian in the NYC librarian social networking group Desk Set. Read on:

"Hello, being a native New Orleanian, I have been saddened by the excruciatingly slow process of recovery from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Recently, my friends and I were searching for a way to make a difference, and decided that one step we could take was to "adopt" an elementary school in the city. I called my mom for help, and she located a school that had been devastated by the flood. The A. P. Tureaud elementary is located in New Orleans’s 7th Ward, a economically disadvantaged neighborhood even before the hurricane and both students and staff have suffered. She contacted Latoye A. Brown, a teacher, who sent out a survey to her colleagues to see what books they would like. That list is now on Amazon, as a wish list. To view the list and buy a book, go to My mom kindly offered to have the books shipped to her house, and she will deliver them all at once after the Christmas break. She’ll take picture of all the books together before she delivers them, and I’ll send it out to all of you after the holidays."

If she does send a pic, I’ll pass it on for you guys to see. A good cause.

  • Another from the man of the house.  Here is how the Stan Lee story, The Witch in the Woods, is described: "When Stan Lee wrote ‘The Witch In The Woods’ in 1953 for Menace #7, comics were under direct assault by parents and teacher groups, from the pulpit and even from investigators in the government. Considering the avalanche of criticism burying the comics industry Lee’s satiric story seems tame, not so much a ‘repel all boarders’ defense as a gentle and funny rejoinder to the critics."  The result is this story.  It’s condensed for the sake of time (no breadcrumbs or witch feeling the bones Hansel pushes through the bars) but you get the point just the same.  I just find it funny that the comic begins with a boy trying to figure out if a werewolf could beat a vampire.  Has anyone else noticed that it’s impossible to separate the two creatures in literature and movies these days?

  • Speaking of funny, looks like The New York Times is now rewriting Scholastic’s press releases.  Not literally, of course, but the article Scholastic Plans to Put Its Branding Iron on a Successor to Harry Potter (branding iron?) gives one pause.  Sounds a bit forced, does it not?  I like Mr. Riordan just fine, but talk about consciously building a franchise from the ground up.  Sheesh.

  • Co-worker Rebecca was pleased by the latest paperback cover of Squashed:

Though I see that it may have only got the upgrade because of her new novel Peeled:

Now that’s a purdy piece of cover work, that is.  Mighty purdy.

  • Some news from Cynopsis Kids says: "the new animated series Toot & Puddle (26×30) based on the books of the same name by author Holly Hobbie, premieres in fall 2008." And also: " There is happiness in Middle Earth this week as director/writer/producer Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have made peace, which means the much discussed and long-awaited Hobbit movies (The Hobbit and a sequel) will actually make their way to the big screen, they are currently slated for release in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  With the help of MGM Chairman Harry Sloan, Jackson and New Line have resolved all litigation relation to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy .  Details of the new agreement include:

  • New Line and MGM will co-finance and co-produce and share worldwide distribution rights to the movies, with New Line handling North America distribution of The Hobbit movies, and MGM taking the international distribution responsibilities.
  • Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (their married) will as Executive Producers on both movies.
  • New Line will manage the production of the two movies, which will be shot simultaneously.
  • With Jackson signed on to Executive Produce this leaves the question, who will direct?  Sam Raimi had recently expressed interest in the project, under the right circumstances.  Stay tuned on this, I imagine deals will happen quickly from here."

So… let me see if I have this right.  "The Hobbit and a sequel" refers to… what exactly?  Are they splitting The Hobbit in two?  Might not be a bad idea.  A show of hands from everyone who watched that old Rankin and Bass version back in the day.  You know the one I mean:

Awwww, yeah.  John Huston, you will always be the one and only Gandalf for me.  And was it weird to have a crush on Hans Conreid as a kid?  Cause I totally did!  Oh… wait.  It was weird?  Really?  Huh.  Guess that explains a lot.

  • Librarians now have one more defense against the parents that walk into their lilbraries and demand that their reluctant reader 12-year-old children read "classics".  The term "illustrated classic" isn’t new or particularly brave, but since Marvel started adapting The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island, and The Three Musketeers we’ve seen the first major comic book company trying its hand on a new format.  In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, comic adaptor Roy Thomas had this to say:

PWCW: Are these adaptations primarily intended for educational use?

RT: They have a potential educational function, of course. Though I hope both that they would never be used for a book report, in lieu of actually reading the book, and that they would be good enough that they almost could be used for that purpose. But the fact that they’ll be sold in their ultimate graphic novel form through bookstores as well as to libraries and in comics stores means they are intended primarily as entertainment.

And why not? Over the centuries, The Iliad and Treasure Island and the rest have entertained even more people than Fantastic Four and Spider-Man—and have some of the same sources. Is it just a coincidence that The Man in the Iron Mask was one of the first books adapted by the company that owns Dr. Doom?

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Maybe the sequel is The Silmarillion?