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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Canadians Do It in Colour

  • Now I assume that many of you out there subscribe to the free online newsletter Notes from the Horn Book which gives you a taste of the well-written commentary found in an issue of Horn Book without having to pay so much as a cent.  Recently there was a great section on audio books written by one Martha V. Parravano.  In New York audio books are useful for walking down the street, but since many of us do not drive on a regular basis they are listened to sporatically at best.  For that very reason, I rely on people like Ms. Parravano to keep me updated on changes or new releases.  This part of her reviews struck me as particularly choice too:

"Families with young children can head over to Number 32 Windsor Gardens: accomplished British actor Stephen Fry narrates More About Paddington (5–8 years) with cool aplomb — bringing just the right note of gruff gravity to Paddington Bear and just the right edge of exasperation to the beleaguered Mr. Brown. Jim Dale, the voice of the Harry Potter books, works the same magic with Alice in Wonderland (7 years and up) — keeping multiple characters distinct (his White Rabbit is unforgettable!) and drawing listeners in with his assured, intimate delivery. Actor Tony Shalhoub’s reading of The Cricket in Times Square (8–12 years) breathes new life into George Selden’s story of friendship, music, and adventure in New York City’s Times Square subway station."

Tony Shalhoub?  I love Tony Shalhoub!  And not because of his acting in Monk (which I hear is quite fine) but because I enjoyed him in Galaxy QuestGalaxy Quest: The only good move Tim Allen ever made, seen by only a few and appreciated as a kind of bizarre cult hit.  That’s my movie recommendation of the day.  If you haven’t seen Alan Rickman imitating Leonard Nimoy then you have not lived.

  • The other day my husband and I were talking about how the name "Fresno" is funny.  Some cities have funny names (Kalamazoo, Brainerd, Fresno) and some do not.  The very next day my boss shows me a postcard received from the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature located in . . . . Fresno!  How appropos.  Turns out, Fresno is home to "one of North America’s leading research centers for the study of children’s and young adult literature."  Well I’ll be hornswaggled.  They’ve recently received a cat collection (not real ones but portrayals of them in children’s literature) that is mighty fine, though there does not appear to be any info about it online.  In any case, if I ever happen to be in Fresno I’ll make a point of it to stop by and see what they have.  Be sure to check out their fun list of Literary Society Links.  I can’t think of anyone they missed.  Can you?

  • Can I say how incredibly frustrating it is when PW Children’s Bookshelf finds ALL the cool links ahead of me?  I mean, I’m grateful for the knowledge, but it gets a little embarrassing when I have to keep crediting them with news over and over and over. That said . . . .

  • You know, while movies based on picture books tend to do rather poorly (think of Mike Myers, and then stop immediately) musicals based on picture books are another beast entirely.  There’s still padding, of course.  Oh, the padding.  But I’d much rather watch padding in the form of a show stopper or dance number than an annoying subplot involving how the Grinch didn’t get enough love as a child.  So when I heard that someone had adapted Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick into a full-length musical in Boston, my instinct was to growl and wonder why Boston gets all the luck.  First The Horn Book, now this (though a quick reading of The Minders of Make-Believe will, of course, show that Boston had all the good stuff first anyway).  The Boston Globe was a fan. "Like the best of Van Allsburg’s work (which to my taste sometimes has a heartless, airless solidity that can make his dreamscapes more oppressive than inviting), the show is muted, delicate, poised on a finely penciled line between innocence and experience. It leaves room for both heartbreak and wonder."  Maybe the New Vic will get it here in NYC or something.  I haven’t seen a great children’s musical since that crazy/wonderful adaptation of The Wolves in the Walls .  Thanks to the PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.

  • Gris Grimly has been talking up a storm about the problems he’s had with the creation of Sipping Spiders Through a Straw all thanks to Scholastic’s discomfort with his art. The book is a bit darker than his comparatively mild The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Neil Gaiman title The Dangerous Alphabet.  In the interview there’s an interesting moment where he expresses bafflement over being allowed to show kids playing jumprope with their intestines but he wasn’t allowed to show a dead baby fetus in a jar. Uh . . . . really, Gris?  You’re not sure why one would be okay with the publisher and one wouldn’t?   Well, here’s my theory.  I’m no fan of censoring an artist’s vision, y’know, but basically I think this comes down to posters.  Have you ever seen political groups shouting at cars and in front of buildings with big posters of kids jumping rope with their own intestines?  Howzabout fetuses?  I suspect that’s where Scholastic was going with this one.  As it happens I’ve the book sitting on my To Be Reviewed shelf.  The jar in the illustration in question now holds a random critter in it instead. Mr. Grimly is interviewed over at (and this cracks me up)  Thanks to the PW Children’s Bookshelf (again) for the link.

  • And PW Children’s Bookshelf even managed to get some movie news that somehow slipped by my usual source Cynopsis Kids.  Like Skellig by David Almond?  Well, like it or not it’s getting movie-fied.  Made-for-tv movie-fied, but still.  The Sunday Sun has more info.

  • Got $800 burning a hole in your pocket?  Want to pay money to have someone make a book video for you that you could do on your own for a very low cost?  I was just baffled when I heard about TurnHere.  The title of the press release is TurnHere Unveils New Bookvideo Products That Enable Every Author And Book Title To Establish An Online Video Presence. Trouble is, they don’t offer anything you couldn’t do on your own.  A 30-second trailer that includes glimpses of your cover art?  $500.  And then the kicker is that distribution (which is something that would justify the price) not only doesn’t appear to be included within that amount but includes sites that everyone can ALSO post on.  "Distribution is also available through TurnHere’s extensive network of content partners, including AOL, Barnes & Noble, Blinkx,,, Facebook, Goodreads, Google, iTunes,, Powell’s Books, Red Room, Yahoo! and YouTube."  Heck, even I could post my videos on most of those sites if I wanted to.  Ah well.  Thanks to YPulse Books for the link.

  • Daily Image:

I will be heading to Canada on Wednesday to attend the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.  I do this once a year and it’s a blast.  While there, I hope I hope I hope I get to see this quarter used somewhere.

I won’t, of course.  It’s just a gift quarter, but a girl can dream.  Thanks to Sara O’Leary for the link and Just One More Book for the picture.  Also, check out Just One More Book and their incredibly in-depth podcast  on Anne Shirley and her 100th Anniversary.

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. Sarah Miller says:

    Interesting — all that talk about Sipping Spiders on and not one mention of the book’s author, Kelly DiPucchio. I’d be curious to hear Kelly’s take on all this, seeing as the intestinal jump ropes were her idea in the first place…

    And am I the only one who finds “baby fetus” a tad redundant? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Good point. Re: baby fetus, the term “baby” usually equates with human in my mind. But yeah. Much with the redundant.

  3. kelly dipucchio says:

    Fuse, I think you hit the “baby fetus” on the head with your theory about why the publisher took issue with the “pickled, shriveled guy” in CREEPY, CREEPY LITTLE JAR.

    Hey there, Sarah Miller from Michigan! As the creator of the controversial “intestinal jump rope”, I’d just like
    to point out that the jump rope line came from the
    poem, DO YOUR GUTS HANG LOW? I never used the word
    “intestines” in the song, and while that might seem irrelevant
    because the words have the same meaning, I do think “guts”
    is a slightly tamer label. Picky, I know – but if an artist has the right to defend
    every picture, an author should have the right to defend every word.

    All innards aside, I absolutely love Gris’s illustrations in SS. I have
    to admit, that even I was a little nervous that some of the art and poems might be too disturbing for some conservative parents and educators, but so far, the response
    has been overwhelmingly positive. I created this collection, in part, for
    all of those young boys out there who think that poetry is all lovey-dovey,
    mushy-gushy blather about sunsets and roses and romance. Poetry can
    be a lot of things, including disgusting, and if this collection encourages
    even one young boy to think of the genre in a different, albeit slightly darker light, then Gris and I
    have done our job.

  4. Fuse #8 says:

    Thanks, Kelly! Always good to get different looks at issues like this. I’m so glad the blog is back. >sighs<

  5. SHEILA RUTH says:

    I love Galaxy Quest!

  6. Fascinating to hear from the Sipping Spiders author! I’m always telling kids that poetry can be gross … and that intestine jump-rope proves it!

  7. LAURA LUTZ says:

    As if I didn’t have enough reasons to love you! Galaxy Quest! “That was a hell of a thing.” Best line. Or the bit about the “miners”. That’s a good one too. Or Sam Rockwell’s “Crewman Number Six” bit. That’s the best. Too many, too many…

  8. Fuse #8 says:

    Yep. That was the film that introduced me to Tony Shaloub and Sam Rockwell. And Alan Rickman in the oddest bald cap imaginable.