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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Blue Oxen, Irish Accents, and an Iron Curtain Oz

BabyBrainsScience Alert, people. New Study Shows It Does Matter Which Books You Read to Your Baby: Not all stories are equal when it comes to development. Naturally I read that and immediately wanted a listing of books that were good for babies. It’s not that kind of article (dang) thought it does namecheck those old stand-bys Pat the Bunny and Dear Zoo. Eh. We’ll take what we can get. Thanks to Mr. Scieszka for the link.

Do you feel that? Do you feel that tremor in the air? That is the feeling of anticipation, my friend. That is the feeling of a world getting reading for the upcoming Youth Media Awards. What’s going to win a Newbery or Caldecott this year? Something unexpected? Something entirely predictable? If you and your fellow librarians have engaged in a Mock Election this year, then do be so good as to submit your mock election results here at the ALSC blog, if you please.


Not too long ago I heard in the Star Tribune that the Minnesota Opera had commissioned a kid-friendly opera “based on a Kate DiCamillo bestseller”.  Naturally, I was hoping for Flora & Ulysses. The reasons are, I should thing, obvious. What’s the only thing cooler than a vacuumed squirrel with superpowers? A vacuumed squirrel with superpowers that can SING! As it turns out, the book in question is instead a title I’ve maligned to various degrees over the years. Yep. It’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. And you might think this would disappoint me . . . but actually, this could work. Maybe the problems I’ve had with the book was that they were so overly dramatic. Perhaps Tulane doesn’t work for me in book form but would be perfect if done on a big stage. Think about it! The bunny on the cross. The girl dying of an unnamed disease. The restaurant owner smashing the bunny to bits. Oh. It could work.


In other news, I saw a very keen blog post from my old blogger in kind, Even In Australia. As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of the picture book/comic book hybrid Bolivar by Sean Rubin. Well, in the post A Dinosaur’s Literary Ancestory the history of the urban dinosaur in works of literature for children is examined quite thoroughly. A rousing, fun piece.


Candlewick hasn’t been talking about this all that much, but Laura Amy Schlitz’s books were recently given new book jackets to match the jacket for The Hired Girl. Here’s what they look like now:




Right after I saw the new look for Splendors and Glooms, I saw this jacket for Charles Finch’s Woman in the Water:


Great minds think alike.


Breaking News: Lisa Von Drasek is blogging again! As Curator of the Kerlan Collection, she took a bit of a hiatus from reviewing. Now she’s back, baby, with The Blue Ox Review and it’s a lot of fun. Check it out if you get a chance.


The Reading With Your Kids Podcast interviewed me about Funny Girl. It’s very perky. I tried to match the perk levels, but I don’t think I was able to manage it. This thing is upbeat! Check it out:


And what the hey. Since we’re already talking about podcast stuff, the Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature has their very own podcast series. Including such topics as “The Afterlife of the Author”, “Conferences and Conferencing” and “Come Away, Oh Human Child!: The Adaptation of Adult Texts for a Child Audience” this is what you listen to if you want to listen to people talk about children’s books with lovely lilting Irish accents. Sold!


BehindtheCurtainDo you remember the middle grade novel Cloud and Wallfish from 2016 that talked about what life was like behind the Iron Curtain in 1989? Great book. Really thought it deserved a couple awards. Anyway, there’s a little throwaway moment in the book that I was reminded of lately. In the book, our hero discovers that a plagiarized version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been making its way throughout the Communist countries for years, and no one realizes that it originated in America. Turns out, this is a true story. Now The University Press of Mississippi is releasing a book about this entire story. Here are some details from the publisher’s page to whet your whistle:

“In 1939, Aleksandr Volkov (1891- 1977) published Wizard of the Emerald City, a revised version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Only a line on the copyright page explained the book as a “reworking” of the American story. Readers credited Volkov as author rather than translator. Volkov, an unknown and inexperienced author before World War II, tried to break into the politically charged field of Soviet children’s literature with an American fairy tale. During the height of Stalin’s purges, Volkov adapted and published this fairy tale in the Soviet Union despite enormous, sometimes deadly, obstacles.”


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. Love the fall prediction for 2018 Newbery/Caldecott

    Will there be a FINAL prediction edition? If so, I’m looking forward it.

  2. Thanks for including my piece on urban dinosaurs in children’s books!