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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Encyclopedia Peck

As far as I’m concerned, every good blog post should begin with fiction starring Gregory Peck.  What we have here is one of the luscious finds boasted by Greg Hatcher over at the site Comic Book Resources.  I’m a big fan of Hatcher because when he does round ups like this one he always takes care to mention a lot of collectible children’s literature.  In this post alone you’ll see what the going price is for a good old hardcover Oz or Narnia title, as well as his discovery of Millions of Cats.  I remember that when I conducted my Top 100 Picture Books Poll that Millions of Cats was the surprise Top Ten winner.  Folks continually forget to give it its due.

  • Collecting Children’s Books has the usual plethora of wonderfulness up and running for your consideration.  First Peter discovers and prints out the complete shortlists of Newbery contenders between the years of 1973-75 (something I wish they still did) and then in a different post considers the state of recent children’s books and whether any of them have been made into Broadway musicals.  None that I can think of, since A Year With Frog and Toad isn’t exactly contemporary.  Coraline did sort of make it to Broadway a year or so ago (or was that considered off-Broadway?), but that’s the only one I can think of.
  • Hey hey!  While we were all sleeping the candidates nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award were announced.  You can see the full list of candidates from countries all over the country here.  If I had the time and ability I would familiarize myself with all those names that are unknown to me.  On the American side of things, however, here are the USA representatives: Ashley Bryan, Eric Carle, Julius Lester, Grace Lin, Walter Dean Myers, Anne Pellowski, Jerry Pinkney, Reading is Fundamental, and Allen Say.  Good luck, guys (and well played Grace for being the youngest).  Here’s hoping some of you make it to the final consideration.  After all, the Lindgren is the largest monetary award a children’s writer or illustrator can win.
  • It was a good week for finalists of all sorts, actually.  The National Book Award finalists were released last week and included Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker, Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird, Laura McNeal’s Dark Water, Walter Dean Myers’ Lockdown, and Rita Williams-Garcia’s One Crazy Summer.  How interesting it is to me that non-fiction didn’t make even a single appearance on the list this year.  After last year’s double whammy of Charles and Emma as well as Claudette Colvin (which ultimately won) I guess we used up all our non-fiction chips for another five years.  Also interesting to me is the children’s book to YA ratio.  Last year you could only call one book MG (the aforementioned Colvin).  The year before that there were two (The Underneath and Chains).  The year before that, only one (The Invention of Hugo Cabret).  This year there are two (Mockingbird and One Crazy Summer) which seems to be the max.  This is one of the rare awards where MG and YA compete for the same honor.  I live in hope that one of these days we’ll see the ratio switch.  Someday . . .

Hey!  Publishers!  The time has come to start nominating folks for the Ezra Jack Keats Award, yet again.  Hey!  Authors and illustrators!  Do you have 1-3 awesome picture books to your name that have never won major awards before?  Has one of your books come out in 2010?  Well, go bug your publisher to submit your book to this award then.  Only they can do it.  Trust me, if I could, I would.  I think you’ve got some real talent going on there, kid.

  • If you’ve opened your newest New Yorker then you probably saw the article they did on children’s books about the birds and the bees.  Glad to see them giving Robie Harris and Michael Emberley their due.  Year in, year out, Harris is the standard.  Her books are like the Our Bodies Our Selves of kid literature.
  • Other news this week is the fact that Julie Just, editor has stepped down from her position as the children’s books editor at The New York Times to become an agent with Janklow & Nesbit.  We wish Ms. Just all the luck in her new endeavor… and then we hungrily speculate over who her replacement will be.  Sure hope they’re nice.  Sure hope I know them.
  • Speaking of the Times, the reactions to that piece they did on the death of the picture book is the gift that keeps on giving.  You fools!  You went and made Lisa Von Drasek mad!  One of the first things any New York resident learns is not to make Lisa Von Drasek mad.  Because when she gets angry, she gets articulate.
  • Two spots of news for you today from dear old Cynopsis Kids.  The first isn’t movie related, but I still found it blooming fascinating:

Penguin Young Readers Group and Archie Comics revealed they are partnering on a new series of new middle grade novels and humor books, featuring the Archie Comics characters, during New York Comic-Con over the weekend.  Under the Grosset & Dunlap imprint, the series are slated to launch in summer 2011, the middle grade novels will feature new stories starring Betty and Veronica, while the humor books are targeted to K7-10 and will feature Archie and Jughead.  Archie Comics recently launched the Archie Comics App, and over the summer released Life with Archie , a new full-sized magazine that follows Archie’s married lives to Betty and Veronica.”

Wow.  Are we talking prose here or comics again?  Prose would be bloody fascinating.  As for the actual movie news of the day:

DreamWorks announced several changes to 2011 its movie release schedule, including shifting Steven Spielberg’s family-targeted movie War Horse to a holiday release, per Coming Soon .  Directed/produced by Spielberg, War Horse was set for August 10, 2011, but will now open wide on December 28, 2011.  This move puts the Spielberg movie up against another of his pictures, Adventures of Tintin: Secret of Unicorn, a 3D project which he also directed/produced and Paramount and Sony have slated for release on December 23, 2011.  War Horse is based on a play, which in turn is based on a young adult novel by Michael Morpurgo.”

Around half a year ago my library had to field a swath of uncommonly handsome young men, all asking for copies of War Horse.  It took us a while before we realized that they were all going to try out for a part in the film but wanted to read the long out-of-print book first.

  • Planning to be in the UK anytime soon?  Fancy taking a children’s literary tour of the sites?  Then you are in luck.  The blog Playing by the book has created a two part series where a variety of different sites are listed (part one here and part two here).  How else will you know the location of J.M. Barrie’s birthplace (complete with its own Peter Pan statue) or the fact that The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently putting on a musical version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda?  Ah, to be across the sea.
  • You know, I wish we had a nice big list of every single children’s literary award out there that I could consult on a regular basis.  For example, had you asked me yesterday to name all the American awards for funny children’s books, I would only have been able to mention the Fleischman Award handed out by SCBWI.  Now I learn that Ohio State University has a tendency to hand out what they call the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children’s Literature.  Daniel Pinkwater just won himself their 2010 award.  Of course, part of the reason I may not have known about this award may have something to do with the fact that the last time it was given out was in 2004 to the late, great Paula Danziger.  One can only assume that nobody was funny in the intervening six years.  Thanks to AL Direct for the info.
  • Daily Image:

I think we can all agree once and for all that the Victorians were an odd lot.  Particularly their taxidermists.  That said, is it wrong that when I read this article on taxidermist Walter Potter I found myself thinking, “Hey!  You could make a cute little picture book out of these dioramas.”

Answer:  Yes.  It was wrong of me to think that.  I suspect that folks don’t think that taxidermied baby bunnies are appropriate picture book fare.  Go figure.  I shall now atone by thinking about The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos for the rest of the day.  Hoo-wee mama.

(By the way, is it weird that I had two taxidermy-related Daily Images in my Fusenews posts in a row?  It is, isn’t it?)

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. Thanks so much for linking to my UK kidlit tour! Yes, the musical Matilda looks wonderful. The songs have been written by Tim Minchin, a very funny and usually quite acerbic comic so I can’t wait to hear how they’ve turned out.

  2. Ah, but there IS a rather comprehensive list of children’s book awards — the Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature ( which is kept stunningly up to date by librarian Lisa Bartle. According to the site, “DAWCL has over 8,300 records from 91 awards across six English-speaking countries (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Ireland). ” Although I will admit that neither the Jo Osborne Award or the Zena Sutherland Award appears in the database, this is still one ding-dang useful resource. (Who knew that the Society of School Librarians International gave out an award?)

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Brooke, this link may have seriously improved my quality of life. Thank you! I had absolutely no idea. To the internets!

  3. Here is another taxidermy-related image for your blog! Sophie Blackall’s window case, part of the Drawn in Brooklyn show:

  4. Off Broadway seems to be the home of Children’s Books into musicals today “Freckleface Strawberry-The Musical” is playing at the New World Stages of course my favorite musical based on a children’s book has got to be The Secret Garden which actually was on Broadway back in the early 90’s.

  5. I’ll grant the requirement was “recent,” but if someone else brings up “The Secret Garden,” how can I resist?