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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: A Single Solitary Unfortunate Event

Huge news coming at you two days late.  We knew that Harper Collins was in trouble, but I never suspected that they’d take it out on Bowen Press.  Yet according to Galleycat "the publisher decided to close Bowen Press. The press’ founder, Brenda Bowen, has departed from the company."  Arg!  They were just getting off the ground.  They had a lovely little blog.  Things were clicking!  This Publishers Weekly article says more about it.  As someone who had just picked up a Bowen Press book to read next (The Year the Swallows Came Early) this depresses me but it isn’t terribly surprising considering the scary news we’d heard rumored earlier this week.  Still.  Narf.

  • From Cynopsis Kids, we see that Gaiman has just nabbed Lemony Snicket’s collaborator:

Sure the movie adaptation of author Neil Gaimen ‘s graphic novel Coraline opened last Friday, but this spring the story will also debut as a musical in New York City, per the  A MCC Theater production, 9-year-old Coraline will be played by adult actress Jayne Houdyshell.  With a book by David Greenspan and music and lyrics by Stephin Merritt, Coraline the musical goes into previews on May 7 at the Lucille Lortel Theater, where it will run through June 20.

  • Though there are many many impressive interviews on The Brown Bookshelf this month, the one with Pat Cummings particularly caught my eye.  This is because I once ran into Ms. Cummings at an Authors Guild event.  Which is to say, I didn’t run into her at all.  I endeavor to explain.  The event was held in one of New York’s social clubs and I knew only one person there in total.  It was one of those awkward situations where you stand on the side of the room and think about striking up conversations with strangers and isn’t that the most fun in the whole world?  Two women started up a conversation next to me and I had several moments where I thought about jumping in.  I didn’t.  Later I discovered that one of the women was Pat Cummings.  Ipso facto, she is now "the one that got away".  I’ll talk to you someday yet, dearie!

  • Kudos to author Laurel Snyder for bagging an intro.  Ms. Snyder is proud to announce that she’ll be providing the intro to the new edition of E. Nesbit’s Five Children and It.  Makes me ponder my dream intros and what books I’d love to precede.  Some Edward Eager, certainly.  From the public domain point of view I wouldn’t mind doing fellow Nesbit title The Phoenix and the Carpet.  Dunno.  It’s not a easy choice, certainly.  Thanks to Shaken & Stirred for the link.

  • Sort of a non-story.  The New York Times has only just now realized that the Scholastic Book Club sells things other than books.  Certainly it’s a little disheartening to read the part that says that, "14 percent of the items were not books, while an additional 19 percent were books sold with other trinkets like stickers."  But I can’t say as I’m too terribly surprised.  It was headed that way when I was a child.  In a bit of a twist, they actually end with a more than intelligent statement from a school principal named Naomi Kirkman who, as far as I can ascertain, also finds this a bit of a non-story.  "I would prefer that they only have reading material in the catalogs, but it’s just one piece of a child’s life . . . My hope is that parents are able to filter out what they think is inappropriate for their children.”  Bookninja has a different take (and children of his own, which is key).

  • I would like to nominate a blog post for Best Written and Titled Post of the Year.  And I would like it to go here.  Argue the point with me if you like.  It will not budge in my estimation.

  • Daily Image:

I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to Susanna Williams for introducing me to the site Contrariwise: Literary Tattoos.  I figured that it would consist of images I’d seen before, but this is by no means the case.  From the terrific to the horrific, this site has it all.  Lemony Snicket tatsHarry Potter quotes.  Some are even heartbreaking.  The only image I’ll include here, however, is a useful tat that every children’s librarian could find a use for.

It’s in the wearer’s own handwriting.  Teaching letters couldn’t be any easier.  Nor could figuring out the whole u-v-w-x bit of the alphabet (that’s the sequence I have to run through when shelving).  Thanks again to Susanna Williams 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. Chrisin NY says:

    Oh Edward Eager! How I wanted those magic adventures. He and Elizabeth Enright were, hands down, my favorite authors from about age 8 on. I had favorite books by other authors, but these two I returned to again and again. Still reread Ms. Enright on a regular basis. Could never get the daughter interested in Eager’s titles- probably just bad timing.

  2. Tricia (Miss Rumphius) says:

    I’ve been mulling over this whole Scholastic thing for a while. Here’s one point I don’t see too many folks talking about. For teachers, particularly new ones, Scholastic book orders are a cheap way to build a classroom library. While checking books out of the school library is important, it is essential to have them available to kids in the classroom as well.

    My son’s book order form this month included all three Clementine books, the second Wimpy Kid book, several biographies on women (including The Story of Ruby Bridges and The Escape of Oney Judge), 3 Stink books, a few Flat Stanley books, a number of Junie B titles, Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, a whole host of Magic Treehouse and more. YES, there were junky trinkets and books with movie and TV tie-ins, but for the discerning parent or teacher, there were a whole host of good titles.

    While the books aren’t particularly sturdy, they do put books in the hands of kids who might not otherwise afford them.

  3. The Scholastic book clubs are a great way to get good books into kids’ hands, but they do have cheap junk as well. I complained once when a dinosaur book for a six year old was paired with a dinosaur toy and the fine print said not for children under age 8.

  4. I have mixed memories of the Book Club . . . I was a good reader, but all of the stuff I coveted from those flyers usually involved rainbow erasers (especially the ones shaped like clothespins. Oh, to die for!). Wanting something from the book club was less about being interested in reading than it was about being like my peers (who were also coveting the rainbow clothespin erasers). There was always a certain amount of fanfare when my teacher passed out the book club deliveries; kids who didn’t order anything — usually me, my mom wouldn’t cave in — felt left out.

    Susan Linn (quoted in the NYT piece) has a lenghthier examination of the Scholastic book clubs in her excellent book Consuming Kids. It isn’t just the presence of junk in the flyers that bothers her; the problem is when kids are pushed into nagging their parents for a product that they don’t necessarily need. As for getting books into the hands of kids who couldn’t otherwise afford them, isn’t that what libraries are for?

  5. Word up on that Sam, Bangs, Moonshine post. That was nuts. If it was anywhere but Collecting… I’d think it was a fib.
    Almost as crazy as the Paula Fox – Courtney Love thing.

  6. Well if no one else is going to say it, I will. What Paula Fox / Courtney Love thing, Sam? Or are you just being cheeky?

  7. Collecting Children's Books says:

    Raising hand, “Oh, I know! Teacher, teacher, I know the Paula Fox/Courtney Love answer! Please call on me!” (Miss Fuse shakes her head: “No, Peter, Sam brought it up first and we’ll let Sam reveal the answer!”) “But, Miss Fuse, I know it! I know the answer to that one. And it IS crazy!” (Miss Fuseraps Peter’s knuckles with her yardstick and sends him into the hall to settle down, then turns to Sam and says, “All right, Sam. Please tell us your story.”) Peter shouts from the hallway: “Paula Fox is Courtney Love’s–” (Miss Fuse slams the door and waits patiently for Sam to reveal the answer.)

  8. I have to admit, it makes me feel better when other grown-ups admit that they sometimes have to run through bits of the alphabet.

  9. Tricia (Miss Rumphius) says:

    I appreciate Brooke’s comments and fully understand the peer pressure issue. I do think teachers today are better about this.
    However, as much as I love and use libraries, could you imagine being in a home where books weren’t owned? Libraries are vitally important, but every kid should have a chance to own books that belong only to them. No matter how cheap they may be, being a book owner, not just a borrower, helps to encourage a love for books and reading.

    (Sorry for going on so in your comments. I SHOULD have written a post!)

  10. Sam, you have until the end of the day to answer the question. Then I’m calling on Peter. He’s being very patient.

  11. Thanks for the shout-out, Betsy. The Bowen Press blog will live on — check in tomorrow for its new iteration.

    You’ll enjoy The Year the Swallows Came Early, by the way. May it fly a very long time.

    And please please let Peter tell us about Paula Fox and Courtney Love!

  12. Collecting Children's Books says:

    Since Sam didn’t return, and since both Miss Bird and Brenda B asked for an answer on the Paula Fox/Courtney Love connection, I’m going to sneak back in from the hallway to supply the answer:

    When Paula Fox was 21, she had a baby which she gave up for adoption. This was back in 1943 or 1944. A few years ago this daughter, Linda Carroll, tracked down Paula Fox and they met for the first time. This would be interesting, but not newsworthy, except for one fact: Linda Carroll is Courtney Love’s mother…meaning that Paula Fox turns out to be Courtney Love’s grandmother! From what I’ve read, Ms. Fox and Ms. Love have since met and do not get along.

    (As an aside to Brenda B: I just bought a copy of THIS FULL HOUSE and began reading it two nights ago. I LOVE it! I’m so sorry about your situation and hope that Bowen Press finds a new and better home elsewhere. Publishing well is the best revenge.)


  13. I’m.. just… I’m.. um… I’m…