Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Mmmm. Pulled pork.

A pig as editor. I don’t mind saying that it was my friend Dan who wrote the fabulous Wilbur as literary critique piece in Slate this week called (love the title) Web Editor. The authors amongst you are going to appreciate this. I was particularly taken with it when it says things like "As a sentence fragment, it lacks a certain clarity. What if someone took your unattached clause and hitched it to the word have, as in the sentence, ‘Have some pig’?" You can buy the shirt pictured to the left here on Etsy, by the way.

The Battle of the (Kids’) Books is heating up with a fantastic Opening Ceremony. The first round kicks off this Monday with one match every weekday. Just in time for my own poll to start winding down too. Now that’s good timing! Have some fun with it and fill in some brackets for potential winners. Have an office pool too! I’m deciding on my own picks. Let’s see . . . looking at the brackets, what if Jim Murphy chose Charles and Emma over Claudette (an early upset would be fabulous!) and then Nancy Farmer fought for Fire . . .

  • The oldest continually operating library in New York City isn’t New York Public Library, you know.  Heavens, no!  That honor belongs to the New York Society Library, which happens to house one of the best children’s libraries mine eyes have ever seen.  There was a delightful little New York Times article about the site.  For my part, I’ve spent the better part of five minutes simply moving the part of the photo accompanying the article that allows you to see the old building and turn it into the new one.  Up and down, up and down.  It goes up and down like anything!  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • "I don’t think I could sell a book on cockroaches today."  There’s an interview with Joanna Cole a.k.a. The Magic School Bus lady up over at the journal Nature.  She talks a bit about the difference in the publishing industry today, as opposed to when she first began.  Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.

  • If you’ve gotten your latest issue of Horn Book Magazine then you will notice that I am in it twice.  Once with an article (a featured article, oh de lally!) called "Friending Mr. Henshaw" and once with a mention in Jon Scieszka’s passing of the ambassadorial torch.  Apparently my pardon was denied.  Denied, I tells ye!  I am irate!  What good is it to have a National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature if they won’t wipe your slate clean every two years?  Next time I’ll knock over a bank.  Paterson will HAVE to pardon that, right?

  • The Guardian just came out with 10 of the Best: Heroes From Children’s Fiction.  Aside from the fact that Huckleberry Finn isn’t children’s fiction, it’s a pretty fun list.  I see a lot of folks on our Top 100 Children’s Novels countdown, and some who aren’t there (yet?).  Thanks to @gregpincus for the link.

  • As my own Best Children’s Novel poll results start to grind down, over at Practically Paradise Diane Chen is just warming up with her own Top Teen Titles.  Since I will never do a YA poll, Diane and some other folks have started their own teen polls.  So far she has covered #100 and #99-96.

  • A picture book that’s not for children.  Someone should make a collection of these.  I believe that Simply Read Books even has a board book for adults out there called False Creek T&T.  It was one of the more delightful finds at the last ALA Conference.

  • I was quite pleased to see SLJ do a whole article on the facsimile edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that Harper Collins published last year.  Truth be told, the first time I saw that edition it was sitting on my library’s shelves.  I wonder if this marks a potential increase in facsimile editions.  I suppose that depends on how well this one sold.  I, for one, wouldn’t mind some gorgeous new jackets of the old A Wrinkle in Time or The Westing Game original covers.

  • Thanks to the fact that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland earned millions of gazillions of beaucoup de bucks last weekend, Hollywood scratched its head and said to itself "Alice make money.  Dorothy make money?"  For years I’ve been hoping and praying that someone would do a faithful adaptation of Baum’s classic.  How cool would it be to see a real Tin Woodman or an Aslan-ish lion (on the cowardly side, of course)?  Well, that isn’t what Hollywood wants.  Bereft of any originality whatsoever they’re looking at two different Oz projects of competing snore-i-tude.  "One project, called ‘Oz,’ currently lives at Warner’s New Line label. It’s being produced by Temple Hill, which is behind a little franchise called ‘Twilight,’ and has a script written by Darren Lemke, a writer on the upcoming ‘Shrek Forever After.’ A second ‘Wizard of Oz’ project, set up at Warners proper, skews a little darker — it’s written by ‘A History of Violence’ screenwriter Josh Olson and focuses on a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to fight evil."  Matt says that there are two other potential projects as well.  One is the screen version of the musical Wicked and the other is about the prehistory of The Wizard himself.  *sigh*  Someday, folks.  Someday.

  • I don’t do book giveaways myself, but I’ve no objection to letting you know about other folks who do.  Take The Spectacle, for example.  That site is giving away to ONLY school and public librarians a collection of eleven spec fiction titles.  Good ones too!  Worthy additions to any collection.  The drawing will be on March 25th, so get further details on the matter here.

  • It is strange how frequently the Nicholas books by Goscinny circulate in my library branch.  For an understated l’il French translation, kids everywhere are hopped up on Nicholas fever (mixed metaphors alert).  I wonder if they know that the character has his own blog too?  Hmmm.  Thanks to Children’s Illustration for the link.

  • Inside the Submissions Process at First Second is a wonderful glimpse inside an everyday publisher.  All you need to do, however, is to read this second part and then scroll down to the BRIEF EDITORIAL MELODRAMA.  I also like the term "sad anime eyes" to denote an expression/emotion.  Thanks to @molly_oneill for the link.

  • The Book Smugglers has one of the most interesting and intense posts ere seen on the subject of whitewashing covers.  In this particular case, I’m very glad that they’ve mentioned A Wizard of Earthsea.  That cover issue has ALWAYS bugged the freakin’ heck out of me. 

  • Daily Image:


This is good stuff.  So school librarian Will Strait stopped by my workplace the other day to say howdy since he reads this blog.  While here he mentioned that in his collection he ran across a children’s book that would fit in beautifully with the blog Awful Library Books.  It has since been weeded, but one wonders how it managed to get published in the first place:

And yes.  It is nonfiction.  Thanks for the image, Will!

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. Not sure why that “Mountain Climbing trains” book is odd besides being old. On mountain-climbing cog-railways like the one up Mt. Washington, it is common for the locomotive to push the passenger car.

  2. Genevieve says:

    Is Tom Sawyer children’s fiction? I was expecting to see Twain show up on the poll.

  3. Nathan Hale says:

    Mountain climbing trains also have neat, permanently canted forward seats.

    I’m totally behind “Mountain Climbing Trains.” I love a non-fiction title that isn’t afraid of being too specific.

  4. Sure. And I have kids who love train books. But I have never run across an older kid who asked specifically for the names of trains that go up mountains. Talk about a very very select readership.

  5. Oh, Fuse. These train lovers are complete fanatics. There are more of them out there than you know. The names of the trains are only the most basic bits of information that they would be after. They are obsessed with incredible minutiae. The Mountain-Climbing Trains book is an introductory text. –And a great many of the railfan children do not grow out of it. There are railroad clubs for adults. There are magazines, books and videos detailing rail gauges and consists. There are excursions. My own husband has a collection of ancient, yellowed, train timetables (softcover books two inches thick) that he reads for fun. TIMETABLES, I tell you.

  6. Believe you me, I know train lovers. My father-in-law is one of them. Such a love knows no bounds. HOWEVER. When writing books for children, why on earth would this publisher have assumed there would be a large enough portion of the population of train loving older kids who care SPECIFICALLY about trains that go up hills? Nope. Odd choice. Odder title.

  7. Not going to disagree about the oddness, but do you not have books in your collection that are not meant for mass appeal?

    Additionally, why would one have to “care SPECIFICALLY” about it? One needn’t be looking for it to find it interesting. It’s just kind of cool to come across and read about.

    I believe the audience of reading foamers is out there. There is a recently published book, entitled, _The Men Who Loved Trains_, about the formation of Conrail. One wouldn’t think a lot of people would plow through that weighty tome, but there it is. The publisher must expect to make money.

    On the online Kalmbach bookstore, one can find such fascinating titles as: _American Shortline Railway Guide, 5th Edition_. 5th Edition!!! Those who make up the audience for this book were train loving older kids at some point, as well. In fact, some of them may still be train loving older kids.

    Without any hard data, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about the potential audience. And, at any given library, there is always the issue of shelf space versus usage. Still, without seeing the text, it’s hard to say if it’s awful or not.

    BTW, my husband says that the engine in the cover illustration is accurately canted so that the water in the boiler stays level and doesn’t explode. Also, wondering if it mentions funicular railroads.

  8. ooops. For those not related to any: “foamers” refers to die-hard railfans.

  9. Dreadful Penny says:

    Doesn’t Mountain-Climbing Trains make the perfect nonfiction companion to The Little Engine That Could?

  10. Would indeed. Hard to tell if it’s a chapter book or not, though. My impression is that it was.