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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Golden Fuse Awards – 2009

All right!  We’re doing a scaled down version of our yearly Golden Fuse Awards here at the old blog, since I wasn’t keeping as close a track of goofy trends this year as I should have.  For some fabulous round-ups already posted, I suggest you check out the 100 Scope Notes 2009 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea, the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast 2009 7-Imp Retrospective Before Breakfast, and the Collecting Children’s Books A Brief Brunch That Looks Ahead and Looks Back, particularly the section that selects one title per year representing the last decade.

And for my part . . .

Best Cover of the Year
Winner: Marching for Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don’t You Grow Weary by Elizabeth Partridge


Hands down one of the most exciting images I’ve ever and the most compelling cover of the year.  Bar none.

Runner-Up: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney


Not much more to be said.

Best Readaloud Picture Book for Preschoolers

Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas – I’ve tried a number of new books out on the kids this year.  This one, hands down, was the best.

Best Readaloud Picture Book for Older Kids
Winner: Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Shannon
Runner-Up: The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky

Best Cover Controversy
Winner: Liar
Runner-Up: SLJ

Best Fuse #8 Controversy
Winner: Amazon Vine
Runner-Up: SLJ cover

Best Imports
I declare 2009 to be The Year of the Australians. On merely the children’s side of things came these magnificent offerings (and many I’ve forgotten to add):

Max Quigley, Technically NOT a Bully by James Roy
The Word Snoop
by Ursula Dubosarsky
The Terrible Plop
by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner
Hannah’s Winter
by Kierin Meehan
How to Scratch a Wombat
by Jackie French
Tales from Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan

Worst BookFlap
The Egg by Emily Gravett – Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a fantastic book.  But why the publisher decided to place the culminating gag under the back bookflap is entirely mysterious.  I actually know library systems that have decided not to purchase this item because they know that their processing department will glue down the bookflap (as per usual) and no one will ever get the joke.  Poor planning on someone’s part.

Best BookFlap
Moonshot by Brian Floca – Like the Gravett title, Floca too chose to place items under his bookflap.  The difference?  They’re so perfectly positioned that even if a library does choose to glue them down, the reader would never have to know. 

Best Fake Video Game Names
Super Monkey Bros. in Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom by Eric Wight

Best Marketed Book
Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Santat.  The evidence is here and here and here and here.

Best Swag of the Year
Winner: The blacklight pen of NERDS by Michael Buckley


See pen.


See white ink.


Write with white ink on hand.


Operate blacklight button.  Easy peasy.

Runner-Up: The spoon of Peeny Butter Fudge by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda.


Because as useful practical day-to-day swag goes, it’s hard to top a wooden spoon.

Favorite Trend of the Year

Pet Fish With Minds of Their Own
Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat – Killed by little sister
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney – Killed by other fish
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur – At least the fish got to live in this one.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin – Not only did this one get to live, it was not a bad conversationalist either.

Dead Frogs (it just wasn’t a good idea to be a water-based animal in literature this year)
M3: Sir John Hargrave’s Mischief Maker’s Manual by Sir John Hargrave
In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog by Gail Donovan

Disappearing Ghosts (which we must find at all costs!)
Spellbinder by Helen Stringer – Disappearing ghosts = Bad
The Yggyssey by Daniel Pinkwater – Disappearing ghosts = Good
Billy Bones: The Road to Nevermore – Disappearing ghosts = Bad

Names Separated at Birth
In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog by Gail Donovan
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Covers Separated at Birth
The Lion and the Mouse and I and I.



Nixon appeared as a character in ONE picture book this year.  What was it? 


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. Yay for Can You Make a Scary Face! As a story time reader for our local reading foundation, I look for books just like this. Jane Thomas rocks, and Beach Lane Books ain’t so shabby either.

  2. oops..I meant “Jan” Thomas.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Here’s another pet goldfish with its own mind–Minli’s, in Where The Mountain Meets the Moon!

  4. Boni Ashburn says:

    You could also add the excellent My Goldfish by Barroux to your goldfish list.

  5. I forgot Grace Lin’s, you’re correct! It really is the year of the goldfish. I’m adding it in now.

    Not familiar with the Barroux, I’m afraid. I should seek it out.

  6. Tammi Sauer says:

    Wuhooh! So far this has made my entire 2010. :)

    Thanks, Betsy.

  7. Tsk tsk, Spellbinder is by Helen Stringer. One of my favorites fantasies of last year! My library is proud to have a clever processor who has figured out how to tape open covers, thus protecting the book while not losing any artwork. We love you Jen!

  8. I’ve been waiting for this list!

  9. Honored to be one of the winners in the prestigious Pet Fish With Minds of their Own category!!!

  10. Jessica Leader says:

    Hilarious about the fish issue. I guess 2009 is a year that many will be sleeping with the fishes.

  11. Bianca - The Children's Book Review says:

    Yay for the Australians!!!!

  12. Book lover in Britain says:

    The Odd Egg backflap.
    Hi, this is a US issue.
    In the UK this book is printed with no jacket (as the author intended)

  13. Aaaaaaah! This is explains so much! Silly Yanks.