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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Whole lotta off-topic stuff

Once in a while it does the brain a bit of good to go a little off-topic.  So while most of this is children’s literature related, there’s a whole slew of other topics worked in for spice as well.  Have at it.

I haven’t been recommending that you read Collecting Children’s Books nearly enough lately, so let’s select something particularly good.  Not too long ago Peter managed to work into a single post elements that could have made into at least 30 individual pieces.  In Sunday Brunch with Birds, Bees, Blyton and Beatrix, Peter he weighs in on bees vs. hummingbirds (he is staunchly Team Hummingbird), considers a far worse Peter Rabbit celebrity author than Emma Thompson, has a conversation with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (has anyone ever considered writing a Mr. Piggle-Wiggle novel?), lists cranky neighbors, compares a Newbery Honor sequel to a box of soap pads, and wonders why Enid Blyton never made it big here in the States.  I can put an answer to that last question, I think.  For many librarians, the mere mention of Blyton’s name gives them the heebie jeebies.  They just do not like her writing.  Not one little jot.  I’ll have to try one sometime to see how it is.

  • They call it The Museum of Online Museums, a kind of collection of online sites that collect things.  A collection of collections, if you will.  Everything from fading billboards to The Museum of Questionable Medical Devices (once my favorite place to visit in Minnesota). If you wanna waste a good week’s worth of your time, you’d explore the links.  If you wanted to do some research for that book you’re writing on obscure topics like improvised prison escape tools, it might also be of use.  Personally, the site that collects any and all images of monsters and men holding fainting women in their arms (called, appropriately, In My Arms) kept me far too amused to get any serious work done last night.  Thanks to Wilson Swain for the link.
  • It’s not a half bad idea, you know.  If you’re an author hoping to promote your book, why not create a teacher’s guide for it?  James Kennedy recently did just that for his The Order of Odd-Fish.  Smart thinking.
  • Here you go.  A comprehensive list of every movie in the English language containing a prominent librarian.  Who could have predicted that An Extremely Goofy Movie would have contained one of the more positive librarian portrayals in film?
  • I need a new way to promote my library’s books.  We used to make little reader recommendation slips, but they were constantly getting lost or ripped.  Plus, I wasn’t entirely certain whether or not folks would feel more inclined to pick up the books.  Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes shows his own library’s recommendation suggestion signs, then includes one from a McNally Jackson bookstore that, I will admit, is just shy of genius.  I must steal this idea.  I don’t know how, but I will.
  • Neato.  I’ve a review or two in the newest NCTE publication Language Arts this month alongside some other reviewers.  It’s a fun little piece called Children’s Literature Characters Forming Community in an Almost 2.0 World. Fun!
  • We can find people’s blogs in all sorts of different ways these days.  In the case of the blog Young and Writerly, I discovered this young lady when she started following me on Twitter.  She’s just a sophomore in college studying journalism, but she has an interest in middle grade and YA fiction and has a great voice on her blog.
  • I know that a fair amount of people have weighed in at this point, but I feel that the Pat Scales take on Commonsense Media as published in Booklist under the title Weighing In: Three Bombs, Two Lips, and a Martini Glass is the required reading of the week.  Show ’em how it’s done, Pat!

Simon’s Cat ( ), the popular online viral animated shorts created by Simon Tofield, will make its TV debut on CBBC this month.  The Simon’s Cat short, Let Me In (2-minutes), on Monday, August 30 at 3:45p as part of the channel’s My Toons Summer Special, which features the top eight popular animations from the CBBC website.  The newest Simon’s Cat animated short, The Box, recently debuted on YouTube, where it was viewed 1+ million times over two days.  Earlier this year United Agents named RDF Rights as the UK licensing agent for Simon’s Cat, which recently inked a deal with Portico to produce a range of paper products including greeting cards, gift wrap, gift tags, gift bags, stationery gifts and calendars and diaries.

  • BookFest is back, baby!  The catch?  It’s not being held at New York Public Library anymore.  A pity but have no fears.  Bank Street College of Education is on hand to pick up the slack.  For those of you unfamiliar with BookFest, this is a day-long program for adults who love literature for children and teens.  Think of it as like my Children’s Literary Salons, but lasting all day.  Space is limited (200!) and the registration closes soon (Sept. 10) so you’ve only a little time left if you’re interested.  For more information, go here:
  • Daily Image:

Overseas, Puffin has been getting creative with their children’s classics.  They’ve started churning out these limited edition covers with all kinds of cool looks.  Here’s their James and the Giant Peach:

And their Secret Garden (created by Lauren Child):

Thanks to bookshelves of doom 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. I love Simon’s Cat! The man knows cats!

  2. Fun CommonSenseMedia fact. As people point out to them their more over-the-top reviews, they go in and remove them (Calpurnia Tate, Tender Morsels) or revise them (Looking for Alaska, Octavian Nothing). On the one hand, they are listening. On the other, it’s done quietly so until you look up a book that is no longer there or see the “updated” tag, you don’t know it’s been done. Yes, transparency may be in their mission statement but it’s not really practiced. Also, why is it our job as bloggers/writers to point out to them their review failings? Why isn’t their system set up to catch these issues before they are being published?

  3. Thanks for this. As a youngster I loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Enid Blyton (more the ‘Adventure’ books) but I was taken completely by surprise this summer by at least 4 children wanting The Famous Five — so much so that I wondered if there was a TV show or movie announcement I hadn’t heard yet? I also reviewed the new Nanny McPhee book and liked it much more than I thought I would. Emma Thompson really can write.

  4. Great reviews of new books in LANGUAGE ARTS! I particularly liked NINTH WARD and the reviewer has nailed why it is excellent.


  5. Blyton’s boarding school stories, St. Clare’s, Malory Towers, and the Naughtiest Girl in the School have a following in the US (despite being formulaic they are very fun); her mysteries less so although I think Macmillan published all the Adventure series in hardcover in the 50s and perhaps early 60s. I inherited a few from my mother, so read them all.

  6. Chris in NY says:

    Blyton’s Adventure series must have been published in the US in the 50s/60s as it was on the Los Angeles Public Library shelves in the mid 60s. One of the few series to appear in those days. I loved Valley of Adventure best- with the waterfall, caves and statues.
    Also, thanks for all the links to things I would have otherwise missed.

  7. Thanks for the link to the ORDER OF ODD-FISH curriculum, Betsy! One of the reasons I wanted to do it was to give another place to showcase all the great fan art I’ve been getting (it’s strewn throughout the margins, like Sergio Aragones).

    Teachers, if you’re interested in using it, I’ll gladly visit or Skype in on your class . . .

    Thanks again for this and all the other great links!