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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Soldier Bear. Oh My Little Soldier Bear.

I was a good little pookie and went out and saw Where the Wild Things Are the other day just as I was supposed to.  These days my brain is too muddled to give you a comprehensive review.  Tarzan-speak: Me like. Film good. Me no sure about audience.  Less Tarzan-like are the reactions of better reviewers than I.  Claire Gross at The Horn Book, for one, has a lovely take.  But for answering the real question (whether kids will dig it) why not go to the source?  One of Monica Edinger’s sixth graders wrote up her own review.  Read it here.  The kid makes good points.  Image by Shannon Bonatakis. Found at Terrible Yellow Eyes (which recently had its own gallery show).

  • Half the comments on my blog, I’ve noticed, tend to come from kids trying to get a quickie answer to homework questions (it’s particularly amusing when they ask what the setting of such n’ such a book is).  Kids were pretty much Googling their homework the minute Google was invented, so plagiarism software has had to keep up.  Now it’s being used in other ways.  I don’t know about you, but any article that’s called How Plagiarism Software Found a New Shakespeare Play catches the old eyeballs.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • Feeling rejected?  Well, misery loves company.  Or, to be more exactly, misery loves seeing company in the same boat and then eventually went on to be a huge success.  Over at Inkygirl (I’m growing quite attached to that site) there’s a lovely collection of authors and their rejection tales.  Just a question on the notorious number of times A Wrinkle in Time was rejected… wasn’t there some debate about whether that story was exaggerated or not?  I don’t remember very clearly, but I feel like there’s been some speculation about that over the years.  Hrm.  In any case, heartening reading.

  • Oh good.  The Monkey See blog over at NPR agrees with me about Stitches appearing in the young person’s category for the National Book Award. Best line: "If Stitches is a kid’s book, expect to see Last Exit to Brooklyn on Reading Rainbow any day now."  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.

  • Jacket Knack has a fun post up examining children’s books that prefer to go nameless.  Note to self: If and when The Lion and the Mouse gets a shiny award, place it directly to left of the lion’s eyes so that it looks like he’s checking it out.

  • Speaking of jackets, Lee Wind introduces us to the concept of Book Cover Shame.  As he puts it, "The idea that it’s embarrassing walking around with a book whose cover is pretty much the equivalent of you SCREAMING ‘I’m reading a bodice-ripping romance novel because I need more passion in my life!’ " The conclusion?  It’s possible that e-books will be able to get boys reading a wider variety of material because they will do away with the packaging that turns off male readers in the first place.  Lee manages to make a case for e-books that many of us haven’t considered before.  Interesting.  Particularly when Greg in the comments starts discussing future privacy issues.

  • Is it silly that I wish that in the event that a book advertises on my site, they use a quote from my review in it?  I’ve got But Who Will Bell the Cats and Cars on Mars here and I loved both those books.  Wish they’d quote me, but I guess these are one size fits all adverts.  Pity.

  • Daily Image:

AbeBooks has created a little site called The Weird Book Room.  In it, they place those books that they happen to find particularly peculiar.  There are plenty of children’s books in there as well.  We all have our favorites, I’m sure.  This was mine:

This is all very interesting but it brings up a question of intent that Matt and I have talked about regarding movies.  People look at old films or old jackets and say, "How could they not have realized how funny that was?"  We say, they often did.  On the AbeBooks site, some of the covers are straight up humorless in their intent (and therefore very funny) but others, like Help! A Bear is Eating Me or The Pop-Up Book of Phobias were meant to be funny in the first place and therefore don’t strictly count.  Like I say, it’s all about intent.  Thanks to AL Direct 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. SamR/TomA says:

    L’Engle Rejection Speculation:
    Yes, I’ve speculated about this myself because of the supposed 26 rejections.
    On an old blog post I put together a list of the Top 10 authors/works who were all said to have been rejected 26 times (with citations): L’Engle, Seuss, Olivia Goldsmith, Elmer the Headless Chicken and so on…

  2. Brilliant. Makes me wonder about that magical number: 26. What is it about 26? 23 has its own [terrible] movie, but 26 gets lost in the shuffle.

  3. J. L. Bell says:

    I explored the facts of L’Engle’s WRINKLE IN TIME rejections and acceptance in this post:

    As for 26, that’s a handy way of saying, “Once every two weeks for a whole year.” Or it may be just a way of saying “two dozen” while sounding more specific and dire.

  4. Betsy,
    thank you for the shout out! So much great stuff you’ve culled for us!
    I’m going click-happy…

  5. Betsy, my shame is bottomless for not quoting you in the Cars on Mars ad, but so little space and all those starred reviews! But, I swear we do quote you elsewhere! We love getting reviews from you!

  6. Aw, geez, don’t listen to me when I’m being pouty. I’m a snarky little thing. Half the time I’m screaming “LOOK AT ME!!” and the other half of the time I’m sniveling “Why won’t anybody look at me?”

  7. Cynthia von Buhler says:

    I begged our designer to add one of your great quotes about But Who Will Bell the Cats? to our google ads, but he had already finished the designs. He said that he would have to start over from scratch and was grumpy about the extra work. I love the wonderful things you say about the book. I’ll see if I can get him to change his mind and do a little extra work for me.
    Cheers, Cynthia

  8. No! No no, no no. Like I said before, please please don’t listen to me when I’m being petulant. That is very nice, but I don’t want to bother your designer. I was just grumpy that day.

  9. Cynthia von Buhler says:

    Hi Betsy, I do love your quotes. I’m not sure which one I like best: “This will be my library’s secret weapon” or “A new fable in an all new style” or “Beautiful and haunting with the kinds of images kids will pore over.” I don’t want to over work my poor designer. He works so hard. I can’t live without him. I make Houghton MIfflin hire him because I cannot bear to have anyone else design my books, websites, and ads. Cheers, Cynthia