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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Rights, Radicals, and Rex, T.

You may have a passing acquaintance with the Thurber House of Columbus, Ohio where author/humorist/cartoonist James Thurber once lived.  If so, you may be aware of their writer-in-residence program, which allows a lucky author the chance to spend a peaceful month of solitude in Thurber’s attic space. In the past the honor has gone to Deborah Wiles (01), Kathryn Hewitt (02), Natasha Tarpley (03), Laurie Miller Hornik (04), Shelley Pearsall (05), and Sam Swope (06), and Lisa Yee (07). This year it went to Alan Silberberg and he’s ready to tell you all about it.  FYI, Nominations for this program in 2009 will begin in September so for more information be sure to contact Patricia Shannon, Director of Children’s Programming, at

  • I knew that if we let Winnie-the-Pooh out of the Donnell Library that he’d come to no good.  Now it seems as if he’s been slumming in Japan.  Don’t believe me?  Then check out the article ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ Attacks Onlookers.  The proof is in the pudding.  Thanks to Now Public for the link.

  • Is the face of children’s literary tie-ins about to change as we know it?  Possibly.  According to Publishers’ Weekly and their piece S&S Goes Hollywood with Gotham Group, a new arrangement between Simon & Schuster and the management company The Gotham Group means that "S&S Children’s will get a cut of films based on literary properties it retains film rights for that Gotham turns into movies."  No big news there.  The real reason people are eyeing this new deal skeptically has to do with the creation of new material.  "S&S will not be investing money in production. Instead, because the house controls the materialthe deal pertains only to works that S&S has the film rights forit will share the revenue with Gotham. And, in a symbiotic relationship with Gotham, S&S will also turn certain projects from Gotham into books."  Oh goodie.  In a recent New York Times article To Reach Children, Publisher Tries Films that process will begin with, "a middle-grade book series by the filmmaker David O. Russell, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2009…. Mr. Russell has written several drafts of a script for an ‘Alienated’ film, which could be produced in tandem with the book series. The story is centered on two children who work for ‘an old tabloid that covers the world of freaks and aliens,’ he said."  I found this article interesting particularly since it seems to say that the Spiderwick film was considered a commercial success.  Good to know.  Sometimes it’s hard to judge these things. 

The New York Times article also says, "Publishers and Hollywood producers refer to the arrangement as an ‘end-in-mind relationship,’ where decisions on what is made into a book or pitched as a movie are made long before a book or a script is written."  This has more than a couple people up in arms.  But really, how different is this from the early acquisition of film rights movie studios make before a book’s publication?  Remember Savvy and the fact that it sold its rights long before it hit bookstore and library shelves?  More to the point, remember Clive Barker’s Abarat?  Oh, it was going to be the biggest thing in the world.  There was going to be a movie and Disney was talking about theme part potential and all kinds of stuff.  And what happened instead?  Bupkiss.  So I wouldn’t get too worked up about Mr. Russell here.  We’ll see if S&S cooks up a phenomenon here or not.

  • Exhibits I wish I could have seen: Raising Rebels: An exhibition of radical children’s literature. I was particularly interested in their take on Lois Lenski.  The poor woman is basically my go-to source when I get graduate students in my branch looking to find circulating copies of books that "show gender stereotypes".  Racial stereotypes?  Piece of cake.  But gender is darn difficult and I have to fall on poor Lois every time.  Glad to see she was featured in an exhibit of the "radical".  Thanks to the child_lit listserv for the link.

  • Everyone says that the first line of a book is the most important.  What if that wasn’t true?  What if everything, in fact, came down to the second line?  Doggone it.  Now I might have to start keeping track of the cool second lines I run across. Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

  • Remember that rumor that was going about that the Betsy-Tacy books were going out of print.  Untrue!  From the PW Children’s Bookshelf, "According to HarperCollins Children’s Books publicity director Sandee Roston, ‘There are 10 books in the Betsy-Tacy series, and we’re keeping them all in print.’ "  Wonderful and good to know.

  • Daily Image:

Dino lamps
for the masses.  I like ’em cause the T-Rex kinda grins.

Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

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. Oh, thanks for reminding me of Abarat. I had forgotten all about that book and the attendant storm of hype. It does a body good every now and then to see a vast corporate marketing effort fall flat. (Or is that schadenfreude?)

  2. Nah. Schadenfreude shouldn’t count when it comes to corporate behemoths. Someone should keep a “HYPE” counter on their blog so that we can remember what was supposed to be “the next big thing” long after it’s fallen out of the public memory.


    I don’t mean to spam, but Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature by Julia Mickenberg will be out November 2008. I just put it on my Wish List several days ago, and thought of it again when I saw your post. I don’t know anyone involved with the book, but it looks fascinating. Do an Amazon search for more info.