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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: I’m Just Waiting for the Choose Your Own Adventure / Baby-Sitters Club Mash-Up

numbersIt appears that somebody around here would apparently rather tally up her Top 100 Chapter Books Poll points than write her daily blog post *cough cough* By the way, if you haven’t sent in your list, there’s still a little time left. I should point out, though, that I have received roughly 230+ Chapter Book Poll emails. Of those 230, three of them were from classrooms full of kids who ALSO participated with their own lists. So. . . . I’m not entirely tallied up at this point. It takes some time. But I am optimistic! I can do this thing! Still, we may not be starting the countdown EXACTLY on February 1st. I will have to have some time to tally.  But when it happens . . . boy, oh boy, look out!

  • First off, it’s Parody Day here at the Fuse. Two different parodies of much beloved classics (classics = books I read in the 80s) have arisen in the same week.  Can such a thing be possible? Can, say I! Can, it can.  First off, I’m sure you all heard that they’re finally reprinting The Baby-Sitters Club books for gals today.  Good-bye ponytails out the top of the skull!  But it is Maureen Miller at McSweeneys who takes a gander at what a real update of The Baby-Sitters Club might entail.  On the flip side of the very same coin, Marjorie Ingall at Tablet Magazine resurrects the old Choose Your Own Adventure style, for a truly scary look at urban parenting in Planet of the Helicopter Parents.  Thanks to Adam Rex and Marjorie Ingall respectively for the links.

  • Do book trailers actually sell any books or are they just silly?  One might counter with, "Does anything sell books?  Who knows what even works?"  Because until I start seeing some cold, hard statistics, I’m willing to believe anything.  Laura Miller at Salon?  Not so much.  Her piece Never coming to a screen near you is skeptical, to put it mildly.  Thanks to Mitali Perkins for the link.

  • Here is the question that I set before you now.  If an author of a chapter book is given a jacket they dislike, to what extent can they complain to their publisher and to what extent can they complain to the world?  Generally my understanding is to the former, some, to the latter, none.  A very interesting post came out from the Kiwi author Karen Healey about her struggles with her own covers.  Covers, I might add, that we here in the States have probably not seen before.  Just fascinating stuff.  Highly recommended reading.  Thanks to @planetalvina for the link.

  • We can spend all month talking about book jackets (and we have) but what about book titles?  Aside from various tears shed over the forgettable title given to the otherwise spectacular When You Reach Me, titles don’t get a lot of press.  Author Kate Messer has a fun post up on her blog about When a book title goes back to the drawing board.  Basically a good book title comes down to a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill, and a whole lot of experience playing with magnetic refrigerator poetry.

  • Oh, the Cuffies are out, the Cuffies are out!  They only come but once a year!  My deep and abiding affection for booksellers knows no bounds (independent ones, anyway), and I love it when they come up with great answers to silly categories.  The Happiest to See Back in Print category is particularly fascinating.  I knew about the return of Blueberries for Sal (how long, by the way, until someone actually writes The Return of Blueberries for Sal?) but not the other one.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.

  • Need a topic to discuss at a gathering of children’s literary enthusiasts of some sort?  Might I suggest taking this topic started at Educating Alice and then run with it?  The post is Thoughts on Newbery, Mashups and in it Monica Edinger does a bloody good job of discussing book that go beyond the typical humdrum required reading genres. 

  • Daily Image:

See, here’s the real way of telling whether or not I’m truly at the top of my game today.  True, the Huffington Post piece on The Most Amazing Libraries in the World was recent, but this kind of article comes out periodically every six months.  It’s just library porn.  I’d object, except the pictures are so purdy.  Check out this shot of Seattle’s.


Good stuff.  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. Chrisin NY says:

    Wow. I am stunned- those libraries are amazing. I kinda go for the old fashioned ones, but the high tech ones are impressive. Can only imagine what it would be like to work in one of those every day.

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I am wondering if having 3 classrooms full of children (what age? Age could matter too — if these are high schoolers, completely past the middle age time, but just closer to it then I don’t think this will be as noticeable a difference. But that isn’t the age I think of when I hear children either.) voting is going to change the dynamics of the poll. It will be interesting to see if that skews to more contemporary stuff.

  3. In a word: yes. Not too terribly, but kids today have a very different sense of what “the best” books are. You will see them significantly change a couple things. And they were not high schoolers either.

  4. Elizabeth, I can’t speak for chapter books, but with picture books, a good agent will ensure that the Author/Illustrator has cover approval within the contract. It’s extremely contentious, though. In my limited experience, it’s the last thing that a publishing house wants to give up (after advance money, of course).

  5. Jennifer in GA says:

    I cannot WAIT for the results to go up!

  6. Karen Healey says:

    Wow, thanks for the link – I’m pleased you found my post on my covers interesting. One note though; I live in Australia, but I’m a Kiwi author, not an Aussie one!

  7. And I, for my part, am a rather ignorant American. Sorry for the mix-up. I have corrected it.