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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Video Sunday: “The only consolation is, you’re gonna die quickly with a Kindle.”

I was pleased to hear that the nuptials of Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have at long last taken place.  Apparently Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) played the accordion.  Just prior to that, however, Palmer and Gaiman and some friends made this little ode to Henson’s Labyrinth (which some will tell you is based on Sendak’s Outside Over There).  Someone once told me that David Bowie’s dance sans jockstrap was the heterosexual girl equivalent of many a boy’s Princess Leia’s gold bikini.  I’m just happy that Palmer recreated this scene shot for shot.  Thanks to Aunt Judy for the link.

I haven’t avoided talking about Salman Rushdie’s newest children’s book (Luka and the Fire of Life) on purpose or anything.  I just wasn’t particularly interested in reading it when it came out.  I did read his previous book for kids, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, which sort of struck me as meaningful in the context in which it was written, but ultimately an example of an adult author trying a bit too hard to write for kids.  The newest may be different.  Here’s its trailer.

A little disjointed but I like the kid who plays Luka certainly.

I’m often surprised by the talents of untrained student actors when reenacting their favorite children’s books.  But let’s raise the bar a moment.  Not only shall we have children acting out a kid’s book.  Not ONLY will they have fabulous costumes.  But they’re going to do it in an entirely different language.  Woah.  The students of Zhejiang A&F University in Lin’an China made the costumes and acted in this video of the American children’s book The Fuzzy Philosopher by Becky Ances and Ryan Wilson.

Geez.  Even the lighting is good.  And the camerawork.  And everyone should always include a cookie recipe at the end of their book trailers (whether it makes sense or not).  Thanks to Ryan Wilson for the link.

Picture, if you will, an entire blog dedicated to book trailers and book videos for kids.  It sort of sounds like a version of good old Book Trailerpark (now sadly defunct).  In fact, it exists at Watch. Connect. Read. and is hosted by the superb K-5 teacher librarian Mr. Schu.  Now Mr. Schu is the rare personage that first came to my attention through, of all mediums, Twitter.  Yes, it’s true, kids.  If you’re good at Twitter you can gain fans in the real world.  This next video comes from Mr. Schu’s site and spoke to me.  I recently hosted Simpsons writer and children’s author Mike Reiss in my library. Mr. Reiss has done many a book with the elusive illustrator Mr. Catrow, but he has never met him.  In fact, I myself didn’t even know what the fella looked like.  Mystery solved:

Thanks to @MrSchuReads for the link.

It’s not about children’s literature itself but certainly the age old question of “Can a Book Save Your Life?” (by which we mean, if you held up a book against a gun, would it keep you alive) applies any year.  Interestingly 2010 was not a year of really thick children’s books.  There may have been a few, but I feel that we’re past the Harry Potter/Eragon/Hugo Cabret era (at least for a little while).  Here’s how adult lit fared:

I have high hopes for 2011.  After all, Frances Hardinge has Flytrap coming out.  Thanks to @HarperCollins for the link.

And speaking of big books . . .

Now you just know the kids went crazy when they saw their principal in the tutu.  As parodies go, this one’s far better than most I’ve seen done by adults.  Well played, Dowell Middle School.  And thanks to Jana Warnell for the link!

And let’s see . . . off-topic, off-topic . . . .

Well, sir, why don’t we go with baby ducks being thrown willy-nilly by the wind?  McCloskey could have penned a sequel with this footage.  The song choice is probably not entirely workplace friendly, so you may prefer to watch it with the sound down.

Thanks to Alvina Ling 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. Look forward to your posts and especially to Video Sundays!
    Would have appreciated a warning about the soundtrack that accompanies the ducks in the wind. Eww!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that. I watched it with the sound off previously. To the editing!

  2. Hi Betsy, Parts of the Salman Rushdie video were filmed at my birthday party where we toasted Neil and Amanda’s engagement. Didn’t you recognize it? Many of the actors were discovered at the party. I wrote a blog post about it.
    Cheers, Cynthia

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Delightful! I didn’t realize the birthday party itself made it in. Thanks for mentioning it! I knew you and Salman were friends (there was that rumor at your party that he was the fellow in the bunny head). I had hoped you’d appear in the video as well. Next time?

  3. I met Salman through Neil. They are friends. He was not at the party. The girl who made the beautiful trailer was there. The trailer is perfect. Salman’s books are magical.

  4. The Luka and the Fire of Life trailer has some lovely images. And I love the Fuzzy Philosopher and I Like Big Books videos; looks like the students in both are having a lot of fun!

    After working at a bookstore throughout 2010, it’s a bit cathartic to see some familiar books get blown away. Not that they’re bad books–I just got sick of shelving and displaying and selling and lugging dozens of copies of them around everywhere. Also, I love how the Kindle’s screen says the battery is empty, as though plugging it in will make it all better.

  5. Kristin McIlhagga says:

    Thanks so much for the heads up on “Watch. Connect. Read.” What a fantastic resource I’ll definitely be following and sharing.

    Interesting thoughts about Rushdie’s books for kids – I got them both for gifts over the holidays but haven’t read them yet. I started the first one but then got sidetracked by “One Crazy Summer”.