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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: King Friday the XIII gave the rehearsal dinner speech

Things that I have difficulty understanding: The rules of soccer.  How to work an f-stop on a camera (or what it even means).  The French language.  The fact that actors Patton Oswalt and Tunde Adebimpe appear to be in a movie that is filming right now and is going by the title . . . The Seven Chinese Brothers.  That brings to mind the Margaret Mahy version, not to mention the controversial Claire Huchet Bishop one (though that story had only five brothers in it). Actually, Ms. Bishop used to work in my children’s room (though when folks ask we usually mention the fact that Marcia Brown worked here first).  The internet is curiously mum about this Patton/Adebimpe project so . . . we’ll just assume that it’s another picture book to screen adaptation.  It gives my existence just the right dose of insanity I crave on a daily basis.

  • By the way, if you’re still a little fuzzy on who that Patton Oswalt fellow is, (A) He was the voice of Ratatouille and (B) I just stumbled on his commencement speech given when he returned to his high school and it is precisely what I needed to read right now.
  • New Blog Alert:  Hardly counts if they’re famous, right?  Aw, heck.  Even famous editors need their plugs!  Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct pleasure to inform you that the great Arthur A. Levine, editor of the very Harry Potter books themselves and the man who helped to add the term Muggle to the American lexicon, is blogging.  Granted, he has only a single solitary post up at the moment, but I anticipate great things for young Mr. Levine.  Not that he doesn’t have a tough act to follow.  His right hand, Cheryl Klein, has been mastering the form for years (there’s a new The Year of Secret Assignments cover?!!!)  Be sure to read this recent interview with Arthur about his blog, his own book, and all sorts of other stuff at Cuppa Jolie.
  • Hey!  When I reviewed The Strange Case of Origami Yoda the other day I had no idea that it owed its birth to a BoingBoing piece.  BoingBoing apparently just got alerted to that fact too.  They seem grateful (though a BoingBoing review wouldn’t be out of place as well).
  • I love it when a plan comes together.  Or, to be more precise, I love it when folks I like decide to make books together.  Folks that I like include author Laini Taylor and editor Alvina Ling.  I have liked Laini’s work ever since I read her fantastic The Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer (now known merely as Blackbringer).  I have liked Alvina’s work ever since I read The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin.  I have liked the two of them from afar, never dreaming that they were moving closer and closer together.  And then comes this announcement from Laini about her next book Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  Lots of good news to be read there.  Particularly the part in the press release that mentions the significant marketing push our Laini shall receive.  Pink-haired authoress, you are soon to get your due.
  • Under normal circumstances a New York Times article about some New Yorker’s house going for $3.4 million on the market would bore me to snore-filled tears.  But there’s nothing like a title like Brooklyn Town House of Children’s Author Gets a Price Trim to perk up the old ears.  The author?  Karla Kuskin of The Philharmonic Gets Dressed (amongst many other titles).  I remember that she died not all that long ago but I’d never met her (Brooklyn is approximately 2,453,820 miles away from Manhattan, give or take the train delays).  It would be fun to look in her house, of course, but I doubt I can pull off looking like I’ve a spare million or three in my pocket to shell out for fun.
  • All right.  Time for some housekeeping.  Remember when I moved to this new blog platform oh, say, two or three weeks ago?  Yup.  Good times.  Anywho, we’re still sort of dealing with the aftermath of that.  I like the Search capabilities and my ability to tag posts.  Haven’t had those options since my days as a Blogger platform blogger.  However, once a day I tend to get an email from someone pointing out that my old blog posts are all unavailable when you follow their old links.  This, alas, is true.  The remedy?  Well, they’re here on the new site.  You just have to find their new addresses.  For example, the other day I updated all the links on my Top 100 Picture Books Poll results and my Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll results.  I have yet to updated the links within each posting but I’ll get there.  The wiki that has all my reviews nicely categorized is tougher.  I’ll have to work on that for a couple months before all the links are shipshape once more.  But we are working on it!
  • Speaking of the poll, The Literary Wife has announced that she is going to systematically read through every book on the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll.  She has begun at #100 and is working her way up.  I admit that to this day I haven’t read all the books on that poll.  I probably should.  Having a gap like Ballet Shoes in my repertoire is problematic.  I loved her post on The Children of Green Knowe, by the way.  Very nicely done.  A too little lauded book.
  • Sometimes I feel like every post at Collecting Children’s Books is good enough to become a book itself.  The most recent Sunday Brunch is a beautiful example of that.  Amongst the millions of treasures in it you can learn which children’s author’s best man was Mr. Rogers and which Richard Peck novel was adapted into a movie starring Fairuza Balk (a.k.a. Dorothy from the film Return to Oz).  I like plucking out the most lurid examples, but Peter is always insightful and this is just a great post.  So many goodies.
  • I wrote a little piece recently in Time Out New York Kids on Cynthia von Buhler’s window exhibit at Books of Wonder, if you’re interested.  Cynthia, author of But Who Will Bell the Cats?, is consistently one of the most interesting people I know.  Her window will prove to be just as enticing and, hopefully, lead other artists to incorporate mechanical aspects into their own.
  • Daily Image:

If you asked me what profession I might want to try out if I hadn’t become a children’s librarian I might for half a second consider telling you, “children’s book editor!”  Then my senses would come back to me.  Truth be told, I’d be a lousy editor.  I have a hard time knowing how to improve another person’s piece of writing.  But the idea of finding a great illustrator, pairing them with an author, and watching the end product result?  Magic!  For example, if I was an editor I would see this website by artist Natasha Fadeeva and think to myself, “How can I convince her to illustrate a picture book?”  Some examples of what I’m talking about:

I see books in these.  Generally speaking Ms. Fadeeva sells these characters.  Perhaps they could have other uses.  Thanks to Petra’s Blog 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. OMG, LOVE those stuffed animals!!!

  2. I started to work my way through the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll too, and read the Watsons Go to Birmingham and two others. I will probably continue at some point but there were already so many books on my floor that needed attention! Still, it would make me and many others happy if you read Ballet Shoes…

  3. Mrs. Mimi, teacher and authoress extraordinaire, is also working her way through your top 100 picture books, the Top 100 novels and the Top 50 multicultural books. She’s calling it her 2010 Reading Extravaganza. 😉 She’s pretty witty! (

    I’m really curious how the heck Patton Oswalt could possibly fit in with the Seven Chinese Brothers.

  4. You are one of the most interesting people I know too.

    These are adorable. I have made characters like this from cat fur and lint. I have plenty of cat fur (on couches, clothing and under beds) to work with.

    Cheers, Cynthia

  5. Heidi Rahlmann Plumb says:

    I stumbled upon your blog a couple months back looking for Graphic Novel reviews so that I could find more to feed my nine year old son’s voracious appetite for them. What a find you are!! Thank you thank you thank you. The Fadeeva photos made me think of The Saga of Gray and Nameless which I thought you might enjoy.

  6. Thanks for the support Betsy!!!

  7. I have seven more to read on the top 100 novel list, though I haven’t read many of them since library school or before. Ballet Shoes is in my iPod.

    Thank you for pointing out The Philharmonic Gets Dressed. My son is obsessed with the instruments of the orchestra.