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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: A small smackerel of news

When you work with the real Winnie-the-Pooh you have a tendency to get complacent. “Oh sure,” you think.  ” I know everything about that bear.  Absolutely everything.”  So it’s nice when the universe gives you a swift kick in the pants to remind you that you are not always up on your Pooh knowledge.  Or at least not as up on it as you might think.  For example, I completely missed the fact that they just reissued The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook by Virginia H. Ellison (amusingly my library’s gift shop has known for quite some time has stocked several copies accordingly).  I found this out when a reporter from the Associated Press wanted to interview me (or anyone else who worked with the silly old bear) about Pooh and food.  The final piece, Counting pots of honey? Pooh’s recipes for them consists of me desperately trying to think of ways to describe Pooh and food.  You will probably enjoy it more for the cute honey gingerbread cookie recipe at the end.

  • The article in Tablet Magazine (“A New Read on Jewish Life”) is entitled The Others: Several new books for children and young adults ask us to see the world through Palestinian kids’ eyes.  Its author is Marjorie Ingall, one of my favorite children’s book reviewers, most recently seen heaping praise upon A Tale Dark & Grimm in the last New York Times children’s book supplement, as is right.  The article in Tablet gives great insight into books like Where the Streets Had a Name (which I reviewed myself) as well as Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which I have on order with my library.  For this article, Marjorie is lambasted in her comment section.  Some of the comments are thoughtful, but a great many show why this issue is so rarely discussed in children’s literature today.
  • I suppose it’s old news, but more Best Book lists of 2010 are up and running!  First you have the Kirkus list, which contain more than a couple non-fiction titles that I would like to get my hands on.  It also features my beloved Departure Time, a fact that makes me inordinately happy.  Another list that came out last week was the School Library Journal picks.  Split into different parts, you can read the somewhat truncated non-fiction list here, the picture book list here (The Chicken Thief is a pleasant surprise), and its YA heavy fiction list here with its single graphic novel inclusion (can you guess which one?).
  • Doing the research for my reviews and posts is so useful!  For example, when I mentioned that the artist Julia Denos would be doing the illustrations for the upcoming Audrey Hepburn picture book biography, I checked out her blog and discovered that she was also working on this:

Oh, sweet WOW!  That, oh best beloveds, is a new cover, one of many, that Ms. Denos is making for Hilary McKay’s Casson family series.  Now I’ll be honest with you . . . I never fell for the Cassons.  It’s a purely weird reaction, I know, particularly when you consider how much I like similar books like The Penderwicks n’ such.  In any case, I like Saffy and Caddy and Indigo, but I could never take Rose (who actually has her own blog) and that’s quite a conundrum.  Maybe I would have liked the series more if I’d read them with the Denos covers, though.  After all, this kind of gives the book a Nancy Drew-esque feeling that appeals.  Ah, what could have been . . .

  • Speaking of covers, in the future I am convinced that we will all be allowed to pick those covers of our printed books that we feel fit those books best.  The internet will supply an endless number of possibilities and we shall simply select and create book looks for our personal libraries that truly represent our tastes.  And jet packs.  We’ll all have jet packs.  In the event that this doesn’t happen (jet packs have that whole burn-your-legs-off aspect that gets so vexing) we’ll just be content with graphic designers like Matt Roeser who has a site called New Cover where he simply says, “I read books and then design new covers for them.”  Happily he’s done one children’s literature-related jacket as well.

Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.

  • Wow!  Ebooks are one thing, but cool informational guides like 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web are another entirely.  Christoph Niemann, best known to us as the picture book author/illustrator of books like Subway, has illustrated this nifty little series of explanations. Many thanks to Don for the link!
  • As a reviewer I don’t particularly care for writing critical reviews.  They don’t tend to lead to anything but trouble, but I figure that they serve a purpose in the long run and a reviewer who doesn’t critique every once in a while is not a reviewer but a cheerleader anyway.  I’ve a critical review gearing up for this week, so it’s good to read Jaclyn Dolamore’s Ten Types of Reviews That Make Authors Sad.  I’m not saying I haven’t done some of the things she objects to, but at least I can keep some of those notes in mind so that I can avoid sloppiness.  Thanks to Abby (the) Librarian for the link.
  • Speaking of critiques, authors may not like getting negative reviews, but imagine if a famous songwriter criticized you in verse.  Lyle Lovett did just that to Kathi Appelt (though, happily, it was more a criticism of her bartending skills than her writing).  If I were Kathi I wouldn’t feel too badly.  I mean, I wouldn’t mind being immortalized in song, even if that song did have a bit of a pout to it.  You can read Kathi’s explanation of what happened here, and then read the verses of the song in question here.
  • A patron walks into my library the other day and happens to mention, “Oh, we just did the Matthew Broderick walking tour of Bryant Park and it was so lovely!”  Bryant Park is the stretch of greenery that extends just behind my children’s room.  I had visions of the former star of Ferris Bueller leading packs of people around the ping pong tables and merry-go-round, until she explained that it was a free tour you can get off of iTunes.  There’s a different one you can take for my library itself (not with Broderick).  I admit it.  I downloaded them all.  You never know what interesting tidbits you might pick up.  If you’re planning on a visit, give ’em a whirl!  I let you know how they are.
  • Random House to Shutter Tricycle Press reads the headline.  Hm.  Just a year ago RH bought what is described as the “18-year-old children’s book imprint”, and one of the few imprints out there willing to put out books about same sex families like Mommy, Mama, and Me as well as Daddy, Papa, and Me.  One might wonder why they chose to shutter it so soon.
  • The original anti-bullying book One Hundred Dresses has been adapted for the stage out in Skokie, IL.  That’s a rather clever idea.  Pair it with a viewing of the filmed version of Molly’s Pilgrim (quiz question: Which cast member of That 70’s Show plays the mean girl?) and you could have yourself a whole range of different immigrant acceptance programs.  Thanks to PW Children’s Bookshelf for the link.
  • Daily Image:
I am sick right now.  I have a cold in my nose that is currently eyeing my throat with a clear intent to make me completely ill just in time for Thanksgiving.  Maybe that’s why I selected this Seussian advert today.  Right now I’d give anything wrap my head in cellophane to keep out any and all germs.  Too little, too late.
Thanks to BoingBoing 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. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate — water and OJ. Get as much sleep as you can. And find a great book to re-read. (I am a firm believer in self-medicating with doses of carefully chosen literature). Something funny/happy/uplifting. As the old saying goes, “It’ll do you good and help you, too.”

  2. Feel better, Betsy! Thanks for the link.

    And I give up — WHICH That 70s Show star is in Molly’s Pilgrim???

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Answer: Mila Kunis, of course! She looks exactly the same at 10 as she does today. The true irony is that the actress was born in Kiev and yet plays a part where she mocks a girl for being Russian. Sweet irony.

  3. Oh, boo! Shoo that cold away. Hope you feel better.

  4. The Hundred Dresses has also been performed at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD, a few years back.

  5. Alyson Whatcott says

    I loved Departure Time too! Thanks for the recommendation. What a great read!

  6. How strange–I loved all the Casson books but never really got into the Penderwicks. It just felt too much like Elizabeth Enright’s work for me to really love it.

  7. I enjoyed reading the news today. Hope you feel better. And don’t forget that you and I became friendly due to a critical yet astute observation of my picture book (even if I still disagree). Good things grow from honesty.

  8. Thank you so much for the news that The Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook is back in print! Now if only I can get my hand on those adorable cookie cutters . . .

  9. Hey Betsy, just stumbled across this post again. Weird to think you posted this almost 3 years ago and am now putting the final touches on your cover! Crazy little world!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Wow! Shockingly small world we live in, eh? Love the connection. I can see that I’m in good hands.