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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Mo’ and Mo’ Problematic

And things were going so well.

This week I got my informational packet from the good people running the SCBWI Conference in Seattle.  Their 17th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference is happening this coming April and I will be speaking three (count ’em) THREE times at one hour apiece.  So I glanced at the speaking line-up and I saw that my first talk will be at 10:30 at the same time as  . . . .

Mo Willems.

Poo.  I’m supposed to go up against Mo?  I mean, I also go up against Cynthia Lord, Susan Patron, Laini Taylor, Kirby Larson, and Arthur Levine, and a host of others.  Which bring us to,



Wish me luck, soldiers.  I’ll report on my progress as it occurs (gol durn it).

  • Speaking of Mo, this week he probes the psyche of flying rats and determines their innermost desires. Yes, there’s a contest going on and if YOU are a person who would like this author/illustrator to visit your school (be you teacher, librarian, parent, etc) then YOU need to guess the best possible ending to the upcoming Pigeon book (due in April). Finish the following title: The Pigeon Wants a . . . .    What?  What does the Pigeon want? Tell Mo. If he thinks that your answer is the best, you get him and his aforementioned live action fabulousness as a reward. He even has an entry form and everything! I won’t enter, but if I did, I’d suspect that the pigeon wants a woman. Can’t you just see him pursuing full grown human women for an entire book? Trying out his lines on them?  Wearing fake moustaches and mildy crushed fedoras?  Attempting pick-up lines that haven’t worked since the dawn of man?  Then, at long last, throwing a temper tantrum with the culminating, "LET ME HAVE A DATE!!!"?  It writes itself.

  • Did you know that the School of Information Sciences (why must everyone replace the word "library" with "information"?) at the University of Pittsburgh has a little event once a year called The Mother Goose Poetry Slam. It’s over for this year, but I’m giving extra points for the name. Well played, Pittsburgh.

  • Guess I almost missed the 100 Best Books of 2007 as relegated by the editors of Children’s books were slim to none.  Just bestsellers, really.  They included Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Dangerous Book for Boys, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and Knuffle Bunny Too. Weirder still? Not a single YA book is included. So odd.

  • Before I realized that my life was going to be dedicated to the pursuit of learning as much about children’s literature as possible, I spent my days reading adult authors.  A.S.Byatt was one of my favorites too.  I regard her Angels and Insects as one of the finest books out there, but in almost all her stories it’s clear that she has a real penchant for fairy tales and the fey.  All the more reason then to check out her recent piece in The Guardian where she discusses The Dulwich Picture Gallery’s show, The Age of Enchantment: Beardsley, Dulac and their Contemporaries 1890-1930.  Laini Taylor and Jim: Y’all would enjoy this.  Byatt makes some pretty neat correlations between the sometimes inhumane British school system and how it affected the men who wrote and illustrated books with equally inhumane fairy realms.  Unrelated Fact: I have a friend who’s a dead ringer for Beardsley.  It doesn’t come up much in conversation, though.  Thanks to Monica for the link.

  • And finally, Bottom Shelf Books does the impossible.  It considers what would happen if Max and Pinky: Superheroes were to take that inevitable next step and attempt to join The Justice League.  Author Maxwell Eaton III plays along.  So for God’s sake, will somebody please offer Minh Le a book deal?  Seriously.  I’m tired of seeing him not getting paid for this kind of stuff.

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. Carterbham says:

    I live in the Seattle area, I think I’ll be there. If I get there, I’ll certainly come to one of your sessions.

  2. Yay! Mission accomplished!

  3. You can do it! Us bloggers lured a handful of people away from Cecil Castellucci at the SCBWI LA conference. It can be done!! If I were going to be there, I’d totally go to your session.