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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Covers Furry, Covers Bleached

Well shoot. This may well be the coolest thing I’ve seen all month.  And it sounds so quaint at first.  Author/artist Aaron Zenz has been posting on a blog the pictures his kids have been drawing for the last three years.  Cute, right?  But the man then goes and takes it to a whole new level.  He invites other illustrators to take him up on re-illustrating some of these drawings themselves, and the response is stunning.  There are the big names we’re all familiar with like Adam Rex and Nathan Hale.  And then there are artists I was unaware of until now who are also fairly brilliant.  The cut-paper artist Juan Manuel Pedraza, or the amazing amusing Cory Godbey (his picture is shown here), or the meticulous and detailed Tera Zajack.  It’s best when multiple artists interpret a single image.  And, to be frank, the pictures they’re working off of are pretty cool to begin with.  Thanks to Aaron Zenz for the heads up!

  • There’s a new book jacket blog in town to accompany your regular Jacket Whys reading.  Called Jacket Knack (nice title) the site goes by the by-line, "Maybe you can judge a book by its cover," then proceeds to do some fairly thorough examinations.  In the post Pants on Fire: More about the LIAR Book Cover there’s a bit of history to show that the Liar cover controversy didn’t happen in a vacuum.  Author Nnedi Okorafor is interviewed about her rather awesome looking novel Zahrah the Windseeker.  The hardcover featured a dark-skinned girl, and the paperback changed that a bit.  It also discusses the problems with using stock images on your covers.

  • Interesting. A kind of like Skype only … not.  I’m referring to Ripple, a platform recently developed to "transport the intimate experience of reading a book to a child across long distances."  It’s a player that displays a picture book to a child so that a parent or loved one who is far away can read the book to them from a distance.  It’s not too expensive, but the librarian in me wonders how we might find a way to defray costs for families.  A station in a library set up just for this purpose?  What would you call it?  Food for thought. Thanks to PW Daily for the link.

  • There’s a wonderful interview with David Small over at Graphic Novel Reporter.  It’s primarily about his new and very adult graphic novel Stitches, but those of you who like to collect Caldecott speech information will take an interest about the disadvantages of missing a vocal chord.  Thanks to Oz and Ends for the link.

  • An excerpt of the somewhat fuzzy wuzzy 300-page adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are made for the upcoming film by Dave Eggers is now viewable at The New Yorker.  Just from a personal standpoint, I think the movie may be a fine idea.  The book, however, may flop by the same token.  Nothing against Eggers, but we already have a book (and a succinct one at that).  Thanks to Galleycat for the link.

  • Philip Pullman offers concise advice on how to write a book.  I’ve tried before, and the man is completely dead on.  Though, admittedly, I can’t help but find the Post-It Note idea tempting, at least in theory.  Thanks to @gregpincus for the link.

  • At long last a review of When You Reach Me has appeared in The New York Times, as reviewed by Monica Edinger (of the blog Educating Alice).  Well played, lady!

  • The Tablet recently posted the mock contemporary picture book The Actualized Dragon and I found the intro to the piece to be the most fascinating part.  Writes author Marjorie Ingall, " Author’s note: A friend recently directed me to Berkeley Playhouse’s ‘content preview’ for its current production of Peter Pan. It warns concerned parents about the show’s ’emotional intensity’ and ‘anguish expressed through acting and song,’ and points out that the pirates make ‘poor choices’ and many characters ‘use weapons.’ " Heaven only knows what they thought about the term "Yo ho ho."- Thanks to @danlevity for the link.

  • Christopher Paul Curtis discusses the notion of what is and what isn’t appropriate when it comes to language in children’s books.  A thoughtful and entertaining piece.  Thanks to Children’s Illustration for the link.

  • Daily Image:

100 Scope Notes
alerted me to the fact that artist M.S. Corley (who made his name with those remarkable Snicket and Potter and Spiderwick and Pullman faux please-can’t-we-make-them-real? cover) tackled Narnia back in May.  Snarky me wishes he’d eschewed the standard unicorn/open door cover that always somehow ends up on The Last Battle jackets (have you ever seen one without a unicorn?) but that’s just nitpicking.  Pretty fare.


Thanks to Travis 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. thanks for the shout-out, betsy. (and dan.) i wondered about the berkeley production of peter pan — there is fighting! and making bad choices! but is there also discussion of how problematic the girls in the play are? wendy lives to serve, tink is a jealous Mean Girl, and Tiger Lily is about as Other as Other can be. if i took my kids to the production, i’d be more attuned to the need to discuss feminism, ethnic stereotyping and gender roles than fighting or “emotional intensity.”

  2. You know, I liked the kids’ drawings better, and I’m not just saying that to be cute. They seem to me to have more life and originality.

  3. Berkeley does not disappoint close readers, Marjorie. From their web site: “Stereotypes: J.M. Barrie first wrote the book on which this story is based in 1911 in Victorian/Edwardian times.  Some of the dialogue may appear dated in terms of its sensitivity to race, gender and cultural stereotypes.” Thus Berkeley, in lancing the stereotypes of 1911, fulfills our stereotype of Berkeley. So the great wheel spins.

  4. I found that the artist I kept referring back to as my favorite in the series was Juan Manuel Pedraza – I love that kind of art and now he has a new fan. Intriguing.

  5. Thanks so much Fuse VIII for pointing to the kids’ blog. There are so many kind and talented people who made this such a wonderful treat for the kids. These folks deserve all the wonderful recognition they’re due!
    – AZ

  6. I’m sorry. No disrespect to Dave Eggers is intended. But in my view, it is just WRONG to do a novelization of a movie based on a picture book!

  7. The Actualized Dragon is awesome!!! (Empowered, too.) What a hoot! Thanks for that!

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    A definite great read..Tony Brown

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