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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Midnight Cowboy meets Watership Down

Our top news story today is the fact that NOW is the time to start nominating books for The Cybils!  The Cybils, for the record, are the only book awards handed out to children’s and YA titles as chosen by book bloggers.  Books that win The Cybils are meant to represent those titles that have literary merit and are also fun for kids to read.  Nominations are going on from now until October 15th, so you have some time.  Be sure you read the nomination rules before casting your votes though.  I made the mistake of continually mentioning books with publication dates later than October 15th.  Don’t make my mistakes, folks.

  • Out of loyalty I began today with The Cybils, but had that piece of news not been a contender then you just KNOW I would have started with Chad Beckerman’s absolutely fantastic summary of what went into creating the upcoming Diary of a Wimpy Kid Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.  If you read nothing else today, read this.  AH-MAZING!  Big time thanks to Chad for the link.
  • *sniff sniff*  Smell that?  That’s the smell of Halloween in the air, my pretties.  The air is crisp with it.  And what’s that other smell?  *sniff sniff*  Ah.  Yes.  That would be the smell of fear.  It’s wafting over from California where their libraries are getting privatized.  There are many telling moments in this particular article, but my favorite was the moment when the company Library Systems & Services says that, “Pensions crushed General Motors, and it is crushing the governments in California.”  You’ve gotta read it to believe it.
  • All right fellow children’s librarians.  Back me up on this one.  How often have you been sitting at your reference desk and been asked, “What’s the name of the fourth Boxcar Children?”  Or, “I need the twentieth Katie Kazoo.  Do you know which one that is?”  The simple fact of the matter is that not all OPACs (Dynix, Millennium, etc.) are all that great at conjuring up long lists of series titles’ individual names.  So the Brits went and did it for us.  Now admittedly Children’s Book Sequels is darn UK-centric and the two series I mentioned just now don’t show up there.  Still and all, if you’re looking about for all the Animorphs, Magic Tree House, or Chronicles of Ancient Darkness books, here is your key.
  • Speaking of Europe (and unions for that matter), if Peter Jackson takes over the filming of The Hobbit, it looks as if he might move it to Eastern Europe to avoid hiring union actors.  That’s a lot of “ifs” and “mights” but you get the general gist of the thing.
  • And while we’re on the topic of blogs, it does my heart good to remind you of ReaderKidZ.  Describing itself as, “a resource for teachers, parents and librarians who work with readers in grades K-5,” you can bet your bottom dollar that their layout is far and away more attractive than my own.  On top of that they have fun book recommendations, valuable links, and even authors-in-residence.  Glory be.  Note to self: Add to blogroll.

Margorie Ingall directed mine eyes to her absolutely fascinating piece in Tablet Magazine, K’tonton Time.  As she said to me, “K’tonton was one of the first — if not THE first — popular American Jewish children’s books.  I was really struck, in reading about the history of American Jewish children’s lit, how much it paralleled the road of American children’s lit in general, but a few decades behind. you start with the didactic moral preachy books, then comes the books kids actually want to READ and finally the books that MUST BE CENSORED because they will lead children astray.”  She realizes too that this is a simplistic take, but I personally find it doggone accurate.

  • If I’m going to be honest, I get some of my best stuff from Marjorie.  Like this post on Vulture’s What Celebrity-Penned Children’s Books Tell Us About Their Authors.  Yes, the worst celebrity picture book of all time is there (an unofficial vote gave the honor to Jay Leno’s title).  The comments are pretty fantastic too.  My favorite comes during the Paul McCartney High in the Clouds: “McCartney never met a medley he didn’t like, hence grafting Midnight Cowboy to Watership Down.”  Thanks again, Marjorie!
  • Recently I visited Chicago to speak with the lovely folks at SCBWI there (thanks again, guys!) and I stayed with author James Kennedy.  James has a small daughter that is the epitome of adorable.  I swear to high heaven that if my carry on backpack hadn’t already been full I’d have stuffed her in there and high-tailed it back to NYC before either of her parents could so much as sneeze.  She has, of course, a copy of Goodnight Moon in her possession and James was able to show me an honest-to-goodness continuity error in the illustrations.  Yeegats!  That pairs rather nicely with the disillusioned Mental Floss piece Good Grief, Moon! that laments, “I was just flipping through a recent back issue of the New Yorker and discovered that one of the highlights of my childhood was based on a lie (a lie, I tell you!).”  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
  • Hot debate!  Hot hot hot debate!  ALSC is about to cast votes over the age-level that ALSC recognizes as “children”.  Right now they say kids go until the age of 14.  But are kids really more 13?  Over at Heavy Medal they debate how those ages apply to the Newbery Medal.  I put in my two cents and the comments just keep on rolling in!  Fascinating talk.
  • Jealous of Kidlit Drink Nights in New York City (remember there’s one tomorrow, people)?  Live in or around Nashville?  Those are two pretty strange questions, but there’s a method to my madness.  My co-author Jules of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast is hosting the very first Nashville Kidlit Drink Night.  If you’re local and interested in attending, go let her know.  I think it could be a hoot.  I wonder if any children’s or YA authors live in that part of the country.  Let me know if you can think of any.
  • How much do I love Paper Tigers?  Let me count the ways.  Or better yet, let me direct you to them.  Paper Tigers, as some of you may know, is “bimonthly update focuses on Children’s Literature from India and the Indian diaspora and the many ways in which it has changed over the years.”  They’ve been around for a while, but once in a while I like to remind folks of all the great sites out there.  That’s all.
  • Sometimes it’s really difficult to tell the real internet links from the fake ones.  The recent link to the Tea Party Coloring Book, though?  That one’s legit.  The Onion did not have a hand in this, whatever you might think.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • Woot!  A hearty helping of congrats to Kathleen Krull and her 2011 Nonfiction Award win, as distributed by the Children’s Book Guild!  Couldn’t have gone to a more deserving gal.  Kudos, Kathleen!
  • Straight outta Canada, Cynopsis Kids has this report, and not a minute too soon:

Scaredy Squirrel (26×30, 52×11)  targeted to K6-11, this 2D animated series is based on the book series by Melanie Watt.  Produced by Nelvana, Scaredy Squirrel will premiere on YTV (Canada) in 2011.”

  • Daily Image:

I’ve cotton candy on the brain.  It’s not strictly children’s literature related but who’s counting.  The fact that I didn’t know this existed until now is a crime against man NAY a crime against nature NAY a crime against the wholesome well-being of my very soul.

Which is to say, it’s maple cotton candy.  Appropriate thanks to bookshelves of doom for the info.

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. What’s Next by Kent District Library is fabulous for series, and they have both Boxcar Children and Katie Kazoo!

  2. I’m all about Fantastic Fiction, which also has both Boxcar and Katie:

  3. The Mid-Continent Public Library has my favorite series resources, and they too have Boxcar Children and Katie Kazoo. Also you can sort by series title, book title, author or subject. I wouldn’t have made it through the SRC this summer without it!

  4. I second MCPL. They ROCK! Part of me kinda wants to work there, just so I can play with their lovely, lovely lists…

    As to privatising…why not go after a bigger institution, instead of us poor little libraries? What about schools? Oh, wait, they tried that, didn’t work. Duh!

  5. I THIRD MCPL for series and sequels. 🙂

  6. Nostalgia Electronics has a cotton candy machine that uses hard candy. It is super easy to use, we got it for our teen programs and tested it extensively with the staff first. Any flavor of hard candy you can find can become cotton candy…butterscotch…caramel mocha…peppermint…hmm, time for another test day, I think!

  7. A series index would be a great resource, but I have my doubts about one that lists “The Bastable Children” under “T”. (also The Borrowers, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The Goose Girl, etc, etc, etc)

  8. I don’t know what I would do without MCPL’s Series & Sequels database. LOVE IT. Saves so much time, and they update it all the time so it will even list the books that aren’t out quite yet.

  9. In Nashville, they should totally get in touch with the local chapter of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) which has over 80 members. Email Mary Grey James at East-West Literary – she’s the president of the national WNBA and she’s an agent for children’s books.

    WHAT is the continuity issue in Goodnight Moon!? How can you give us that teaser but not tell us what it is? Please please please?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I’d need the book in front of me to be precise. All you need to know is that that it involves the dollhouse.

  10. There’s a machine that turns candy into an entirely different kind of candy?!? Best tip I’ve gotten all day.

  11. my canadian husband has decided to argue the merits of maple cotton candy with me, and i’m still. not. buying. it.

    also, this is not the time or the place for it, but as a person who’s actually worked for a county who went into contract with LSSI (albeit, one that was seconds away from closing all SIX branches due to budget cuts), and then worked for LSSI for two years, i have lots to say about that topic. which is probably why i usually don’t join in the debate until i’m at least two whiskeys in…

  12. Thank you for mentioning the Cybils. I actually hadn’t heard of them, but I will check out the nomination rules. And a super big thanks, also, for mentioning my new blog (Picture Books & Pirouettes). I’ve gotten so much extra traffic in the last few days because of you! It’s great getting to know the kidlit blogging community. And your blog is so much fun!

  13. @Carin Siegfried The error in Goodnight Moon: look at the very first time the “toyhouse” appears, on the page where it says “And two little kittens / And a pair of mittens”. The lower left-hand pane of one of the windows on that house is missing the bottom of a curtain. But every other time the “toyhouse” appears, the curtain is there! I CALL SHENANIGANS. WHAT WAS CLEMENT HURD TRYING TO TELL US???

  14. Hi Thanks for all your comments – I have been thinking about removing the definite article from the name of the series – but its what the children see on the cover. Think I might do it anyway. Katie Kazoo and the Boxcar Children are not read over here in the UK so I’m going to add them anyway. Anything to encourage a child to read.