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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Celebrating Tomi Ungerer in Style (Artists Need Apply)


Oh, where to begin. So the other day, I got to thinking that my kids have had an insufficient dosage of Tomi Ungerer in their daily diets.  Ungerer, if you are unfamiliar with him, has always been the enfant terrible of children’s literature.  Having dared to publish children’s books for kids at the same time […]

What Steven Universe Tells Us About Children’s Books and Libraries in Pop Culture


I’ve grown a bit fond of the Cartoon Network show Steven Universe lately.  Coming to it a bit late (I believe we’re on season 4 now, yes?) it took a Pop Culture Happy Hour episode to explain to me why the series was as groundbreaking and important as it was.  This is advantage of having […]

Cover Reveal: Almost Paradise by Corabel Shofner


Folks ask me to reveal middle grade covers from time to time.  Sometimes I say yes.  Sometimes I say no.  If you ever happen to be interested in my doing so then the following elements should ideally be combined: A nun A smarmy man with a mustache (handlebar preferred but not required) An unnerved woman […]

This Is What Happens When You Read Too Many Picture Books


It seemed such an attainable goal. All I wanted to do was read every single picture book published in America in 2016. Was that too much to ask?  I even had a system. I’d create a Google spreadsheet and write down every single title and rate it.  That way I’d have an easy way of […]

The Picture Book as Family Phrase Generator


It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a parent or guardian reads a picture book to a child repeatedly, day in and day out, for weeks or even months on end, something is bound to happen to the child’s brain and that of the adult reader as well.  I don’t mean to make this […]

How I Spent My Weekend Vacation: The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards & The Scott O’Dell Award Ceremony


Serving on award committees is a time-honored tradition amongst children’s librarians.  The award ceremonies that come after?  Gravy.  This past weekend I was delighted to attend the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Ceremony, the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, and the presentation of the Scott O’Dell Award all in one fell swoop.  To do this I […]

The Sibling Reality: When Picture Books Stop Being Nice and Start Getting Real


I love it when a blog title makes me sound old. Now that my kids have reached the ripe ages of five and two, I’m finding myself more interested in picture books that pick apart the nature of sibling relationships in interesting ways .  I don’t mean fighting.  I mean that crazy pushmepullyou of loving […]

Famous Illustrators’ Depictions of Knitting Ranked in Order of Competency


Two years ago I wrote a piece called The Scourge of Upside Down Knitting in which I raged unto the heavens against picture books where the artists put little work into bothering to figure out if knitting needles should be held up or down.  Well, it’s time for me to apologize to those illustrators.  If […]

Press Release Fun: Meanwhile, Back in NYC . . .


So I’m no longer in New York City anymore as you might have noticed but that doesn’t meant there aren’t some fantastic events going on there.  Free events.  Free events at my old stomping grounds, NYPL.  It’s all in conjunction with Banned Books Week and the guests are a bit on the famous side.  Gene […]

Newbery / Caldecott 2017: Fall Prediction Edition


Mmmm.  It’s that time again.  The summer is beginning to cool its jets and with fall on the horizon I need to present the third in my yearly four-part prediction series.  What was that fantastic quote Travis Jonker came up with the other day?  Ah, yes. “Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, […]

Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature: Ramona invented the original Portlandia


Ooo.  Lots of adult books with smatterings of children’s literature littered about the pages today.  Don’t even know where to start with this one.  Let’s see, eeny meeny miney . . . MO! Libertarians on the Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books by Christine Woodside This […]

The Nuanced Picture Book Biography


Last week I was sick.  Sick as a dog sick.  Sick in that way where you feel the cool breezes coming through your window and have a fleeting glimpse of how lucky you are to be sick at the end of the summer rather than even a week earlier when your misery could have only […]

Cover Reveal: Catstronauts


Folks, let me level with you.  I only love two things in this world.  Cats.  And astronauts. Okay, that’s a lie.  I love a whole lot more than just those two things.  But let’s say I was stranded on a desert island somewhere and I was told that I could have a book about only […]

RIP Gene Wilder: Children’s Literature’s Avatar


Consider, if you will, the life of Gene Wilder.  Since his death, many people have been doing precisely that.  It makes me happy, but since I’ve harbored a not-so-secret crush on the man for decades (a quick search of this blog will back that up) I felt it necessary to point out that for all […]

The Picture Book in 2016: Social Themes and Lessons


I recently received a very interesting, if puzzling, question.  A friend of mine needed to know, for professional reasons, what I would consider the top themes in picture books these days.  By “themes” I don’t mean trends but rather emotional or social lessons for young readers.  You might even go so far as to call […]