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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Video Sunday: The Good, the Bad, and the Backhoe

I always find it interesting to watch how different author/illustrators confront audiences.  Writing children’s books means, to some extent, that you’ve signed on to be a performer for children.  So what technique suits you best?  Do you have to rely on a chicken costume, or can you be relaxed and natural with your audience?  This video of Peter Brown offers a great take on speaking to audiences both big and small.  Thanks to @MrSchuReads for the link.

So each week I show you book trailers and each week we discuss where they can go, what they can do, and why they’re different from movie trailers.  We all know that they should take advantage of the unique qualities of the books themselves, but how do you convey that?  One solution may be found in this video for My Name is Not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry, illustrated by Mike Litwin.

It’s like I always say.  Give the people process.  Failing that, give ’em a song where you read the whole book:

That’s Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg, the fellow who brought you Good Egg a year or so ago.

And now . . . Don’t Let the Pigeon Operate the Backhoe.

That would be author/illustrator Mo Willems switching gears (literally) for a moment or two.  On his blog he says, “Man, I really hope books don’t disappear, because I stink,” which is blatant false modesty, if you ask me.  I mean, clearly he has mad picking-up-pylon skillz.  It just pains me to think what a brilliant construction career he could have had, only to discover that fact so late in life.  Sad really.  *sniff*

Typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische has done many a fine book cover in her day.  Here she talks about her DROP CAP series, which I find interesting.

Art In The Age Presents… Jessica Hische from Art In The Age on Vimeo.

I like her point about how art isn’t necessarily about self-expression.  Sometimes you want to create art without drawing upon yourself.  Design allows you to do that to a certain extent.  It’s not something I’ve thought a lot about, but it’s true.  Thanks to Mishaps and Adventures for the link.

Finally, an off-topic video I’ve been wanting to post for some time now.  Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen!  This one’s a doozy.  It’s The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain performing the song that played when my husband proposed to me.*

And hey, if you liked that then maybe you’ll enjoy their versions of Life on Mars or Smells Like Teen Spirit (my personal favorite because they’re trying so terribly to do an American accent on the singing).

*Actually true.  Ask me about it sometime.  It’s a good story.

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. My fave is still their version of Kate Bush’s Heathcliff, but this is pretty great too. Have you seen the video where they have the whole audience playing ukuleles along with them?

  2. And nice proposal story, btw!

  3. lisainberlin says

    Wow! Mo does a brilliant job! What a waste of talent! Well, he could always moonlight.