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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

  • beach party bingo Fusenews: Of Facts and FactotumsA night ago I had a dream that I was at the 826NYC Bingo Night and I forgot to take pictures or blog the event.  The shame of it all!  Boy, you know I won’t make that mistake this Saturday.  And SPEAKING of this Saturday, are you guys aware that you rock, and rock hard?  According to 826NYC I’m in the lead of donated money for the tutored kids.  That is AMAZING!!!!  I asked you to help me out and now I am severely humbled.  You guys are amazing, and I better pull out all the stops this coming Saturday.  Oh.  You guys are getting full star treatment.  Pictures, video, you name it.  After all, Matt and I have made WAY more money than Sarah Vowell, John Oliver, and Jack McBrayer all thanks to you guys.  One bang for buck, coming right up.
  • There was a month-long span of my life there where I thought that I could indulge in children’s literature from sun up to sun down.  The best way to accomplish this, I figured, was to listen to audiobooks of children’s literature on my way to and from work.  So a day would consist of listening to a book to the subway, reading a different book on the subway, listening to a book walking to work, working with children’s books, listening to a book on my way home, blogging about children’s books until the end of the day.  Needless to say, when I tried it I wiped out.  My brain couldn’t take it.  I started automatically devouring Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum and DeLillo’s White Noise in response.  Since that outbreak I’ve strayed from the audiobook path, but others (I am happy to report) have not.  In fact, Abby (the) Librarian recently posted a delightful AudioSynced July Roundup of audiobook posts and reviews.  Such a clever idea.  And, even better, it spares me further insanity.
  • What’s the most interesting thing about Justin Bieber?  Not the fact that millions of tween Twitter followers know how to correctly spell his last name.  Not the fact that he just sold his memoir to Harper Collins.  No, it’s the fact that he originally hails from Stratford, Ontario where I like to watch the Shakespeare Festival each year and where authors like R.J. Anderson reside.  Now THAT is interesting!  To me anyway.
  • He likes me!  He really likes me!  Jon Scieszka gave me a dual shout-out during his keynote speech at the recent SCBWI Conference in Lala land.  Not only did he name drop the 100 Best Picture Books Poll results (saying everyone should read all the books on the list), but he also said to read me and my blogroll!  Which gives me the impetus I may need to update the dang thing (Read Roger is way out of date).  In any case,  thanks, Mr. S!  It will be an honor to whip you good with my sick BINGO skillz this coming Saturday.
  • In other shout-out news (they come in pairs), The Storyteller’s Inkpot gave me a very nice review of my recent Hamline talk.  Thanks again for having me, guys!  Glad you liked it.
  • When I show you this image, do you have any concept of what it is that you are looking at?

Crows of Pearlblossom cover1 299x300 Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

Howzabout the only picture book ever written by Aldous Huxley, and illustrated by Sophie Blackall?  Designer Chad Beckerman has a little more info for the curious/salivating amongst you.

  • Sometimes it takes me an extraordinarily long time to review a book that I love. Case in point: Dust Devil by Anne Isaacs, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky.  I estimate that it’ll take me at least another month before I can put words to paper about that particular project.  In the interim, why don’t you read the great PW piece Paul O. Zelinsky’s Bookmaking Saga instead?  If it doesn’t make you wanna run out and snatch/grab that book first thing, I don’t know what will.
  • Have I ever mentioned The Bechdel Test on this blog before?  It’s a very easy test to apply to movies.  Created by Alison Bechdel (comic artist and author of the phenomenal Fun Home) the test is simple.  When you watch a movie, see if it has these three things:
1. It has to have at least two women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

It’s shocking how few films pass this test on a given basis.  Now someone has created a website for current movies, applying The Bechdel Test.  Folks can contest whether one rating or another is fair.  For example, do the women in Inception count as talking about something other than a man, when their entire conversation is about love, and one of them is a man’s figment of his own imagination?  It’s complicated.  On the children’s book to screen adaptation side of things, I thought I’d give you the results for what’s currently out in theaters.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Sorta wins, but only because one girl scolds another. Whether or not the other girl actually gets a chance to talk back is up for contention.
How to Train Your Dragon – There are two or more women in the movie, but they don’t talk to each other.
Alice in Wonderland – It passes.  Lots of girls in that film.  Lots of conversations.  For what it’s worth.
Ramona and Beezus - Also does very well.  Full throttle kid flicks seem to do better with this test.  Once adolescence begins to show up, that’s when the trouble starts.

  • So I’m just tooling about the internet the other day and I find myself thinking, “What the heck happened with the D.M. Cornish Monster Blood Tattoo books?”  You know.  Great books like The Foundling and Lamplighter.  Seems to me that #3 in the series should come out sometime, right?  Haven’t heard a peep about that though, so I idly look up the man’s blog and get an eyeful of this:

Foundling cover Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

Lamplighter cover Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

Factotum cover Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

Looks like Penguin went and rejacketed the whole series!  Well played.  Best of all, the third looks as if it’ll be due out on store shelves in November.  There’s an additional interview with Mr. Cornish over at The Enchanted Inkpot that’s worth checking out too.  Honestly, though, I don’t know how I can deal with the third MBT book AND the newest Wee Free Men title out at the same time.  The universe (my universe) may possibly consume itself with joy.

  • You know my love of Meets.  That’s when a publisher of a book tries to get your interest by saying Blank meets Blank.  The best “meets” I ever heard, bar none, never even used the word “meets”.  The editor simply said, “It’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon . . . in SPACE!”  Aw, man.  You gonna top that?  Well fair play to The Page Turn.  They’ve just written the post Best Blank-Meets-Blank, full of Harper Collins’ upcoming season and it’s great.  I may actually have to read the book they describe as “Percy Jackson meets Monty Python”.  That’s a hard description to resist.
  • Remember back in the day when I made a music video for the Effin’ G’s song Randolph Caldecott?  Good times.  Good embarrassingly low-budget times.  Well, the Effin’ G’s, frontlined by the beautiful Ms. Namrata Tripathi, will not only be playing as part of the Battle of the Children’s Literary Bands concert in my library in October (details to come) but they also have a new song out.  It was creating for the YA novel Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (who also wrote the lyrics).  Go listen to Emily Not, Not Gone.  That 16-year-old girl that still resides somewhere inside of me would be playing it on a continual loop if she were still around.
  • For those of you interested in coming to this Saturday’s Children’s Literary Salon discussion of eBooks, I was delighted by this recent article on ABC The Drum Unleashed called Amazon and that old fudging figures manoeuvre.  Folks went a little haywire the other week when Amazon claimed it had sold more Kindles than hardcover books in the last three months.  Jacinda Woodhead (a name that would make an excellent fantasy novel character, by the way) explains how this can be, particularly in the case of children’s books.  Says she, “…the publishers are under no illusions when it comes to this market: how many parents are willing to spend $499 for their child to own an iPad?”  Point. Thanks to @ABCKristen for the link.
  • In tandem with Saturday’s talk, I’ve asked Winged Chariot Press to send me some videos of their own eBook adaptations.  Here’s a quickie video they sent as an example.  I’d wait until Sunday to show it to you, but by then the talk will be over.  Here, then, is a sneak peek.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kekOJEpQ6nE&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Daily Image:

Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen seats built into bookcases, out of bookcases, on top of bookcases, and within bookcases.  But I have never NEVER until now heard of a chair that essentially WAS a book.  Behold, the power and the glory of . . . the Darwin chair!

Darwin chair by Stefan Sagmeister 1 300x300 Fusenews: Of Facts and Factotums

Yes, you’d be sitting on paper.  But hey, if you don’t like one pattern you can switch to another.  Easy peasy.  Unless your annoying little sibling steals your favorite pattern.  Then all bets are off.  Thanks to Don Citarella for the link.  I owe you one, buddy!

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Elizabeth Bird About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist. 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 NYPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. Colleen says:

    Those covers are awesome – excellent work by Penguin!

  2. Chris in NY says:

    Excellent about the donations for tutoring! And the shoutout re your reviews/blog. Any chance you are going to read/review “Crunch”?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Good question. I really enjoyed it and I’m a huge fan of Connor’s previous book “Waiting for Normal”. Honestly, I don’t really know. The middle grade review queue is long, but if you’re interested in a review of it that’ll bump it up a couple of notches.

  3. david e says:

    hmm, seems i’ve seen that huxley book somewhere else… oh yeah! i blogged about the original edition myself. and not to drive traffic or blow my own horn, but if you go to my post and click on the cover it will take you to the flicker file with the entire book scanned. http://bit.ly/beTilQ barbara cooney did the original illustrations. i’d be curious to see if they altered the text at all…

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I corrected that link for you, David. And look at that little book! Great to know. Dunno how I’ve missed it all these years.

  4. mhg says:

    Thanks Jon S! Thanks for my link, Betsy!

  5. so bummed to be missing the all the neat events this weekend. i will be in new york for the first time ever this month, but not until the END of august. alas!

    i don’t think the following “blank meets blank” originated with stephanie meyer (although they have quoted her saying so on the cover of ‘the girl who could fly’): ‘little house on the prairie meets x-men.’ i LOVE to use that one when book-talking “savvy.” without fail, the kids snatch it up immediately.

    (also, cannot WAIT for the new sophie blackall/jacqueline woodson picture book. my love for her is probably unhealthy.)

  6. Charlotte says:

    Wow–those new covers are gorgeous!

  7. Christine Bird says:

    Passing the Bechdel test would require that producers hire two name actresses for the same movie, something Hollywood is loathe to do.

  8. If you do update your blogroll, would you please consider adding http://www.pleasedontreadthisbook.com? We review children’s books for all ages, and (evidence of our excellent taste) we love your blog! Check out our 6/22 post, for example. Thanks for at least pondering!

  9. Peter says:

    I’m waiting for Roger S. to post here explaining that there’s a big important difference between a fact, a factoid, and a factotum. : )

    Peter

  10. Chris in NY says:

    Yes! to a review for Crunch (I liked it too).

  11. :paula says:

    Betsy, I applied the Bechdel test to the most recent YA sci-fi novels I’ve read…

    Boneshaker (by Cherie Priest, not the bicycle one) – PASS
    The Enemy by Charlie Higson – TOTALLY PASS
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow – OH YES PASS
    Incarceron – kind of NOT PASS, surprisingly

  12. This is true: by a weird coincidence, one of my friends, who is a kind of pleasantly overbearing connoisseur, gave my wife and I that very Aldous Huxley book when our daughter Lucy was born last year! Were these books all in hiding like cicadas, and are just now popping up all over?!

    My friend is the kind of fellow who, if you go to a Thai restaurant, demands to see the menu *in Thai* so he can get the “real” entrees (he ended up with an ant-egg omelette, I kid you not), only listens to extremely advanced music that sounds like insects being tortured to death, and exclusively drinks the kind of craft beers that seem like feverish stunts (a beer with an ingredient from every continent called “Panagea”! a beer made entirely out of fermented cricket spittle!). So it made sense that he tracked down a children’s book with the most counterintuitive provenance to give as a gift.

    That said, “The Crows of Pearblossom” ain’t no “Crome Yellow.” It’s not even an “Eyeless in Gaza.” Maybe more like an “After Many a Summer Dies the Swan.” Do you dig me, fellow Huxley nerds??

    Anyone . . . ?