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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Why Is There Air?

This is pretty cool.  Resident husband Matt asked resident Dalton School teacher and blogger Monica Edinger (Educating Alice) to contribute some of her favorite underrated movies to his website.  She did so, and leads off with a film that I swear I’ve never heard of but that sounds fantastic.  Let’s see if you can figure out what it is.  It stars Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, and Jim Broadbent and is based on a novella written by a nine-year-old.  Any guesses?  And when you look at it, yes that is the actual spelling.  Honest.

  • Rant Time.  You know what I miss?  Movies and films about kids where the actors are actually kids and not teens.  I’m sick sick sick to death of children being aged up, in order to appeal.  The Lightning Thief was a good example, and now there’s Harriet the Spy.  What’s wrong with having children in movies these days?  What are movie execs so afraid of?  From Cynopsis Kids, the source of my ranting:

"Disney Channel will premiere Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars on Friday, March 26 at 8p.  Based on the Harriet the Spy books by Louise Fitzhugh, the TV movie offers a modern twist on the story.  Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars stars Jennifer Stone (Wizards of Waverly Place) as Harriet ‘The Spy’ Welsch as goes up against her nemesis to become the official blogger for their high school class.  Produced by 9 Story Entertainment, the movie was written by Heather Conkie (CBC’s Heartland) and Alexandra Clarke (The Changeling), and directed by Ron Oliver (Goosebumps, Kiss Me Deadly) with Jonathan Hackett (Aaron Stone) serving as producer."

  • I’m a little late to the game in pointing this out, but the delightful Shelli of Market My Words was kind enough to send me some questions about how authors and illustrators can market themselves to librarians, and I offered some answers .  I also, apparently, forgot to answer about three of the questions she sent me.  Eep!  The rest of my answers sound okay, though.

  • Curious George, the cheeky little ape (ape, I say, APE!) gets his own exhibit at The Jewish Museum here in NYC.  So if you happen to be in town between March 14th and August 1st, stop on by and see, "about sixty original drawings and preparatory dummies for Margret and H. A. Rey children’s books and documentation related to their escape from Nazi-occupied Europe."  Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.

  • I wouldn’t have believed this if I hadn’t seen it myself.  Apparently Michel Gondry, director of such movies as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my favorite films), has nothing better to do with his time than make portraits of people.  Seriously!  He did it with Travis Jonker over at 100 Scope Notes.  Craziest damn thing I ever saw.  I’m almost tempted to do it myself (though I don’t know how I’d feel about getting a moustache).

  • Whoops!  Almost missed this.  That’s the trouble with holding off on your Fusenews links until the last minute.  But if you’d like to participate in the Lee & Low Black History Month Book Giveaway, there is still time!  Enter the contest before midnight on the 28th and you can potentially find yourself in possession of some fairly fabulous books.  Heck, in this economy, how can you afford NOT to enter?

  • Sorta ask and you shall sorta receive.  I had vaguely mentioned the other day my discomfort with the Commonsense Media/Barnes & Noble partnership and the fact that no one was really examining the situation.   Liz Burns was, of course.  Now Publishers Weekly has gotten in on the act, but rather than interview Liz they just lifted content from her already existing blog post.  Which is fine, I suppose, but knowing Liz she would have had some additional points to say in person that could have fit the article far better than just rote quoting.

  • Do School Libraries Need Books?  For some reason the question makes me think of that old Bill Cosby album title Why Is There Air?  I’m probably the only person who had this reaction though.  Thanks to @mitaliperkins for the link.

  • Aw geez.  This is too bad.  Winsor McCay was the fantastic illustrator of Little Nemo and when I own my own library system I will fill my graphic novel shelves with as many Little Nemo books as they will hold.  Now the house that he lived in looks  ugly.  But rather than restore it, folks want to tear it down now.  Very sad.  Hopefully this shall not come to pass.  Thanks to @neilhimself for the link.

  • Eric Berlin has joined a distinguished group of the best writers in America.  He has been banned.  Or, to be a little more precise, challenged by a parent in Florida.  Sorry it happened to you, Eric, but you’re in good company.

  • Is Greg Heffley, star of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the literary offspring of Holden Caulfield?  Collecting Children’s Books has the connection as well a veritable plethora of other amazing, insightful thoughts and comments.

  • Ah.  Just a question about this one, really.  I like Amanda Palmer, a musician who now happens to be engaged to Neil Gaiman (though I’m claiming that I was into her way before she got her sticky mitts on the Brit).  I also like her song "Coin-Operated Boy".  It’s catchy.  It has a beat and you can dance to it.  Heck, you can watch the music video here if you like.  Fun!  So what on earth am I to make of this?  Same name and everything.  I am finding it awfully interesting, I am.

  • Speaking of Gaiman, two additional items here.  #1: The cast recording of Coraline (the musical) is out.  So, y’know.  If you want to get me a stocking stuffer, there tis.  Thanks to Genevieve for the heads up.  #2: I kind of loved this review of Gaiman’s Crazy Hair.  It’s not something I’ve ever seen done before.

  • Jill Corcoran writes that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt isn’t going under.  To which I reply, "AUUGH! HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT WAS GOING TO GO UNDER?"  I pretty much latch onto the important phrase and ignore the reassuring words.  In any case, Ms. Corcoran has the scoop on the near miss.  Whew!

  • Daily Image:

Dan Hanna, illustrator of The Pout-Pout Fish, recently offered up some various interpretations on William Steig’s works.  My particular favorite:

Thanks to @gregpincus for the linkus.  And yes, I am suitably ashamed of myself for that rhyme.

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. Oh, I love The Young Visiters! Can’t Disney just give their characters new names since this is obviously NOT Harriet the Spy? Harriet’s observations weren’t public, so it’s not even an update to the story. It’s simply a case of lazy character naming.

  2. Shelli (market My words) says:

    Please the answers were wonderful and so helpful! I ask too many questions! :) thanks again for taking the time. Shelli

  3. Now my to-watch list is growing along with my much too long to-read queue.

    Someone is not using flickr anymore, alowing me to view images without massive interventions. Pretty exciting.

    Now about that countdown?

  4. Kate Coombs says:

    Thanks for “Coin-Operated Boy,” which reminded me of the automaton in Enchanted Glass, focus of the recent book jacket controversy.

    Last week I blogged about how The Lightning Thief had been slightly sexualized (e.g., parted-lip longing looks between Percy and a much hotter version of the book’s Annabeth when they hadn’t even talked yet, also sidekick Grover as a randy satyr), but I have to admit, your Harriet the Spy news is WAAAAAAY more disturbing! Bleah!! I shudder to think what the movie’s rendering of this timeless and endearingly odd yet dignified character will be like.

  5. And OMG have you seen what they are doing to Beezus and Ramona as a movie? Selena Gomez as Beezus. Rip the eyes out of my head. I am not even sure what book they are trying to do because I don’t think that even in the last book Beezus was 17.

  6. Brooke Shirts says:

    Since when does Harriet the Spy need a “modern twist”? Usually that phrase is reserved for films that rework Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary Beverly Hills. But then again, I guess Harriet is soooooo last century, right?

  7. Kate Coombs says:

    Oops! I meant Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore, not Enchanted Glass, which would be Diana Wynne Jones’s new book (due out in April). Either way, I liked “Coin-Operated Boy”!

  8. My comment was eaten!

    Thanks for the link. A lot of fascinating stuff going on with BN/CSM.

    Uping ages: am I the only cynic who thinks its being done to get more working hours out of young actors? Also, some of the teen movies (HSM, for exampe) show teens but they are really acting like tweens…. so they may look older but its not really a “teen movie.”

    And I guess I’m the only one thinking, yay, casting for Beezus/Ramona with a Beezus who is Latina? She may be older, and it may be because she’s popular (my neice & nephew adore her tv show), but still, that’s pretty cool. IMHO.

  9. Jennifer Schultz says:

    It’s definitely cheaper and more efficient to use actors in their late teens/early twenties for teen roles. Underage actors require time off for tutoring and can only work a certain amount of days. They are also physically unpredictable-voices change, height/weight change, etc.

  10. Fran Manushkin says:

    THE YOUNG VISITORS has one of Jim Broadbent’s most amazing performances. He is incredibly touching–and funny.

  11. Chandra says:

    Oh dear! This is all kind of depressing ๐Ÿ˜‰ I adore Windsor McCay and it’s always wonderful to discover other fans out there, but how sad about his house :( And the question about having books in the library is just too depressing to contemplate. Some of those responses make my head spin!