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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Containing a Single Pun of Which I Am Not Proud

  • How big a children’s literary fan are you?  What would you be willing to do to justify your love?  Would you be willing to buy a home constructed by author/illustrator Barbara Cooney‘s grandparents?  Well, sharp-eyed Dan Levy sent me this fascinating item with some additional information:

"Brownstoner today has an item about the Bossert Hotel in Brooklyn Heights.  This is the gorgeous building that has been owned for a long time by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but was originally built by Barbara Cooney’s grandparents.  Have you read her "Hattie and the Wild Waves"?  This is the third of her family histories (including Miss Rumphius and Island Boy). Hattie (whom I believe was based on Cooney’s aunt) is the daughter of a German immigrant who, with his brother, built a Brooklyn lumber empire and built the Bossert Hotel.  In the book, Hattie and her family live in the hotel until they decamp for an estate on Long Island."

Dan, I haven’t a clue how you found all this out but it’s amazing.  I happen to love Cooney’s work, so this is a real thrill for me.  Maybe not a $92 million thrill (did I read that amount correctly?) but a thrill just the same.  Thanks!

  • We all know that Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday is in 2009.  Even if we didn’t the huge swath of books being published right now about his life would prove as much.  Well there’s someone else turning 200 in 2009 and it’s Edgar Allen Poe.  So where are his picture book biographies?  Huh?  Huh?  In lieu of crediting our father of the macabre in an appropriate 32 page fashion, READ Magazine is sponsoring an Edgar Allen Poe video contest for "all students of literature" under the age of 18. So tell the kids to pull their makeshift pits and pendulums out of the basement and have at it. As video contests go, this one sounds like a blast. Thanks to Tub Talk for the link.

  • Say what you will about my old Hot Men of Children’s Literature series, it never quite made it to calendar form.  The same cannot be said for the Texans.  According to Cynthia Leitich Smith, last year saw the debut of the Men of Texas Libraries calendar.  How popular was it?  So popular that they had to make an 18-month calendar to fit in all the fellas.  Cynthia warns us further to "Watch the TLA website for another calendar that will feature the tattooed librarians of TLA!"  Man.  New York’s gotta get in on that action.  Surely we can match them tat for tat, no?  Thanks to Tadmack for the heads up.

There’s a wonderful discussion going on at the child_lit listserv over what children’s literary characters you would vote in as president.  The Pigeon, suffice it to say, would probably not be my first choice.  I liked the suggestion of Farmer Duck (kind of a subtle Truman-esque pick, I think) but I’m having a hard time coming up with my own choice.  Definitely not Amelia Bedelia.  Not Bad Kitty.  Maybe Horton.  That guy’s got dedication.  Plus he tours all the small towns in America when attempting to hatch that egg, so you know he’s met people from all over.  Horton for Prez!

  • If you read my recent recap of the visit of Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury to the Bank Street College of Education then you may have heard me mention one Lisa Von Drasek.  She just happens to be the school’s mondo magnifico librarian and she pops up routinely on this blog.  Well, now we’ve managed to persuade her to cross over to the dark side.  Yes, Lisa has begun to blog on an already existing literary site.  Says she:

"My focus will be on forthcoming books that librarians don’t want to miss and backlist titles that are timely. Hosting is EarlyWord and I am EarlyWord Kids (and yes, if you can think of a more creative title for my blog, I will consider it.)" 

I’ve no objections to the name myself since the banner features a bird, and anything that is bird-related I consider free publicity.  In her first post Lisa covers upcoming books and some children’s literary news.  In her second post she looks at the National Book Award finalists in the Young Person’s category, and makes a particularly good point about the absence of fantasy (unless, of course, you count The Underneath as fantasy).  I like Lisa because the woman has opinions and is often unafraid to make them known.  If you add anything to you blogroll this year, add this.

  • Daily Image:

Think you know the internet?  Think you can navigate your way around it?  Think you have any kind of a grasp on social networking at all?

Think again.

I feel that it’s not sufficiently horrifying until you see it full-size.  Thanks to Andrea at Just One More Book 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. And, of course, both Lincoln and Horton visited Kalamazoo (“They took him to Boston, to Kalamazoo,/ Chicago, Weehauken and Washington, too.”) Not so sure about Poe. He didn’t get out much, if you don’t count John Brown’s hanging…

  2. I live apx one block away from the Bossert Hotel and have only wandered into the lobby to see it’s amazing ceiling fresco and huge elegant marble staircase. That’s as far as I got, not sure what the rooms look like. Had no idea about the Cooney history. I illustrated the book ‘Supermarket’ for Holiday House in 2001 and the art based on the Key Food right next door to the Bossert Hotel. Where I get my groceries :) Hi Lisa vD! Howdy neighbor! Gonna check out her blog.

  3. Actually, there is a very interesting book with not only color images but facsimiles of original Poe material. It is called “Poe’s Tell-Tale Stories” and is put together by Harry Poe. The little pockets with reproductions of Poe items are charming and well done.