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

Fusenews: Baby ducks, B.D.! (Not baby ducks!)

Well, so much for that plan.  I know how much you guys were looking forward to the Noah Baumbach / Ben Stiller version of Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  Alas, I have bad news for you.  Late breaking sources report that Baumbach has backed out of the project.  The speculation is that with him gone, Stiller may leave as well, or so says this article on the subject (which mistakenly says that Mr. Popper’s Penguins won a Newbery Award in 1939 … it won an Honor that year).  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.

  • I had just the most enjoyable commute to and from work yesterday while listening to my good buddy Dan’s podcast.  His series The Flophouse takes pleasure in rending asunder bad movies. The most recent pick? Twilight: New Moon.  Listen to the podcast and you will hear a solid dissection of the problems at work in that film.  And at one point Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan also explains why Ranger Rick was maybe not the most inventive of children’s periodicals when we were kids.  "Baby ducks?  Didn’t they just cover this?"

  • Eva Mitnik, longtime blogger at Eva’s Book Addiction and recent appointee to the 2012 Newbery committee (go, Eva!) recently spoke at the 2010 Spring Workshop held by the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California alongside Greg Pincus of Gotta Book / Happy Accident and Tracy Grand of JacketFlap.  Her talk, as she said, "represented the librarian/dilettante contingent and so my presentation was a bit vague – half of it was about the joys of the blogosphere (and more particularly the kidlitosphere) for children’s book addicts and half was about fun and free 2.0 tools to use (as a blogger or with kids or teens) to enhance, extend, and promote children’s literature and creativity in general."  Best of all, it is available for viewing on her blog in case you’re curious.  Good stuff to be found there.

  • Sometimes I weigh in on debates and problems in the blogosphere.  Sometimes I say nothing and wait for the smart people to say intelligent things without me so that I can link to them later.  Such was the case with this recent brouhaha involving Sarah McCarry and her inflammatory post Faking Nice in the Blogosphere: Women and Book Reviews, which ran in the Huffington Post.  If you haven’t been keeping up with this topic of conversation, it boils down to this: lady bloggers of the children’s literary blogosphere are too nicey nicey.  McCarry is mostly talking about YA bloggers, so I figured I’d stay out of it.  Liz over at Tea Cozy, however, took McCarry to task in the piece Faking It.  Actually, she rips McCarry to shreds, and rightfully so.  It’s a wholly satisfying experience hearing what she has to say.  Your required reading for the week.

  • Okay, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  We need to talk.  This whole not doing librarian previews thing?  It’s not working for me.  When Shelley Jackson makes a book as awesome looking as Mimi’s Dada Catifesto (profiled here at 7-Imp) I want to know about it months in advance.  Not a month after it’s been published.  I’m sure my readers would like to hear about your upcoming seasons too.  Seriously, half the time I hear about your books long after they’ve been published.  Build some buzz, dudes!  At the very least follow in Scholastic’s footsteps and do some online virtual librarian previews for the whole wide world to see. 

  • ". . . what I am suggesting is that if you love children’s literature, you cannot kill animals just because they taste good on a bun. There’s more than a bit of hypocrisy involved in urging children to empathize with pandas and polar bears and bunnies and ducks in books and at a distance and then feeding them hamburgers and sliced deli meats."  I’ll give Jennifer Armstrong this much.  She pulls no punches in her Horn Book piece Eating Reading Animals.  The article strikes me as a 180 degree opposite take on the Horn Book article that came out a couple years ago (jog my memory, people) defending hunting and asking why children’s books consistently portray this activity as evil.  Monica Edinger responds to Armstrong’s article in her own piece The Vegetarianism Conundrum.

  • Collecting Children’s Books provides an excellent recap of the winner of such awards as the Edgars or Jane Addams Awards, as well as other sundry delights.  As per usual.

  • There was a pretty cool Bluebeard recap inspired by the recent French cinematic adaptation of the same name in The New York Times as of late.  Thanks to Shaken & Stirred   for the link.

  • This one goes out to the New Yorkers (though those of you coming to town might find it of interest as well).  Undoubtedly you know author/illustrator Pat Cummings in some capacity.  Whether she’s serving on the board of The Eric Carle Museum, SCBWI, or working with the Authors Guild, the woman is out and about.  What you may not have known is that she runs a blog where she posts regular information about the children’s literary goings on here in town called Pat Cummings – News. Useful, non?

  • Shows what I know.  Walk up to me and say, "Did you know that there’s a show on the Lifetime network that features children’s authors?" and I shall reply, "Guh?"  You say, "Yep.  It’s part of Children’s Book Week which, as you are undoubtedly aware, is May 10-16, 2010."  I come back with a witty, "Faa?"  And then you say, "And the best part is that the show, The Balancing Act, is on from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m., and starting Monday, May 10th it’ll have Jon Scieszka on Monday, Johnette Downing on Tuesday, Barbara Bottner on Wednesday, Joi Nobisso on Thursday, and Carol Nevius on Friday."  To which I give a haughty, "Awrrr," and continue about my day.  Ignore me.  I appreciate getting the information just the same.

  • Daily Image:

I’ve never taken to origami myself.  It’s a difficult thing to do.  If only there were a site that had cool new origami animals, but also had slow animated sequences that showed you EXACTLY how to make one critter or another.  It would be a boon to craft programs in libraries nationwide, don’t you think?  Well clearly The Origami Club is the answer to your prayers.  Just pick a topic, pick a design, and watch the animated sequence that shows you how to make it.  Couldn’t be easier.  Particularly if you’re in the mood to create something as cool as a  . . . .

Sumo Wrestler

Or something as simple as . . .

Letters of the Alphabet

Or something as cute as . . .

A Mouse

Thanks to Swiss Miss 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. Monica Edinger says:

    Vicky Smith, “A-Hunting We Won’t Go”(Horn Book September–October 2004).

  2. Fuse #8 says:

    Woot! I knew someone would come through. Thanks, Monica.

    That was Vicky’s article? How funny. I need to reread it. It made a big impression on me when I was in library school.

  3. Jennifer Schultz says:

    “At the very least follow in Scholastic’s footsteps and do some online virtual librarian previews for the whole wide world to see.”

    Or at the very least, have this year’s catalogs on your website. HMH is not alone in being guilty of this (I found the Fall 2010 catalog on another site). When you click on Disney’s Hyperion’s “Browse Our Latest Season” link, it takes you to a 2008 catalog (they list a few upcoming releases on their site, but I can’t find anything more recent). Same thing if you go to their site map and click on “seasonal catalogs.”

  4. Fuse #8 says:

    Yep. Online catalogs are much more fun when they’re up-to-date. Good call.

  5. My unease with Jennifer Armstrong’s piece is that much of it is built on a presentation of animals that is sentimental and largely has little to do with real animals.

    Jennifer concludes, “But look at the animals looking back at you from the pages of the books we love, and ask yourself if you can follow the standards they uphold.”

    By all means, teach morality, but if you want to build your morality (and your vegetarianism) on the example of animals, what do Jennifer’s closing thoughts mean for those of us who love, say, OWL MOON?

  6. Jennifer Armstrong says:

    I appreciate the debate my article has sparked, but I disagree with the anonymous post that suggested my presentation of animals is sentimental. It has everything to do with the heavy reliance (sentimental and otherwise) upon animals in literature for children, and the hypocrisy of using animals to teach ethics (in books) and then eating them.

  7. Eva Mitnick says:

    My older daughter became a complete vegetarian at age 7 after seeing Babe (okay, it’s a movie, but based on a children’s book!) – and she convinced us, her parents, to stop eating fish and fowl as well as red meat. Her argument? “I love animals, so I won’t eat them.” At age 19, she eats no animal products. I’m really surprised that more kids don’t become vegetarians, seeing that their favorite book characters are often edible-type animals!
    (Thanks for the shout-out, Betsy. Newbery – woohoo!!!!!!!!)

  8. I just want to thank you for the subject line. Early Doonesbury FTW!

  9. Fuse #8 says:

    Woo-hoo! Someone got the reference!