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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “Compare and contrast Goodnight Moon with The Sun Also Rises”

Lotso hotso news today, folks.  I hardly know where to begin.  Let’s start with the big news that the illustrious editor Margaret K. McElderry passed away recently.  I had mentioned The McElderry Book of Greek Myths in my Valentine’s Day post earlier this week.  Maybe she was on my mind.  In any case, there’s a great New York Times piece from 1997 on her.  I’m fond of it, not least because Eden Ross Lispon mentions four books McElderry edited right off the bat and they are ”The Borrowers”, ”Ginger Pye”, ”The Dark Is Rising”, and ”The Changeover.”  The Changevoer!!  The book I keep hoping will be reprinted soon so as to leap on the Twilight train while there’s still time!  In any case, I was unaware that Ms. McElderry worked in my own children’s room for years.  Good to know.  Fellow librarian and novelist Sara Ryan offers her own remembrance of Ms. McElderry and The New York Times wrote up one as well.  Dunno that they needed to include the idea that We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is “un-P.C.”  Um . . . maybe if you’re Stephen Colbert, but what precisely is “un-P.C.” about that book again?  It’s not like Oxenbury depicted the kids packing heat, after all.

  • In other news the Cybils Awards (the only awards awarded by bloggers) for children’s and YA literature were announced this week.  The Cybils strive to balance great writing with child-friendliness.  With those in mind I think their selections were top notch.  You can see all the winners here.  This year none of the books I nominated made the final cut, but I see that frequent commenter on this blog Eric Carpenter got TWO of his books on there!  Well played, Eric.  Well played indeed.
  • I like it when my favorite folks end up linking to one another.  I couldn’t have been more shocked, though, with a recent posting by Kate Beaton.  She was writing a comic about Ada Lovelace (and where is the children’s biography on the fact that the first computer programmer was a woman, by the way?) and then mentioned in her notes that there were some Jules Verne illustrations out there that were “definitely worth a look”.  I love me my Verne, and lo and behold who did Kate link to but none other than Ward Jenkins, he of this season’s Chicks Run Wild (by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen).  Ward speaks of Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future by Franz Born, illustrated by Peter P. Plasencia circa 1964.  Worth your time.
  • Carbon dating jackets with headless girls and cupcakes.  The book that proves that kids will buy a hardcover to infinity if they like it (and no, it’s not Wimpy Kid).  A Giving Tree cake on a reality show?!  Oh man.  Y’all need to run over and read your Collecting Children’s Books lightning quick this week.  There’s GOLD in them thar hills!  I hope it was an apple cake.  That would be apropos.
  • It’s kind of funny, but my biggest objection to the SparkNotes: “Goodnight Moon” piece on McSweeney’s (which I kind of love) is the mention that Goodnight Moon was a commercial success when it came out.  Not so.  That’s a funny thing to pick on when the whole piece is balderdash, but it’s true, mate.  The book wasn’t that big a hit at first.  Thanks to The Infomancer for the link!
  • “Maybe there is something about children’s literature  –  which is meant to be read by both children and adults — that captures this child/mentor relationship in a way that adult literature cannot?”  In the context of R.M. Ballantyne’s Coral Island, author Jonathan Auxier examines the child/mentor relationship in books.  I am particularly pleased with this piece since he takes care to mention D.M. Cornish’s Foundling trilogy.  Can’t mention that series enough, that’s what I say.
  • I think I could be forgiven for reading a title like Victoria to star in film on Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and think for just a split second, “Wait . . . Victoria Beckham?”  Then I noticed that the article was from Victoria & Vancouver Island.  Ohhhhh.  Not that I wouldn’t put it past Posh Spice to try to wrangle a part as Rowling (the more I think about it, the more creepy possible it becomes) but at least the piece about the unauthorized film about the writer’s life isn’t putting forward that idea itself.  Thanks to bookshelves of doom for the link.
  • Phil Nel offers his response to the recent Martin Amis comment that writing for children would force him to “write at a lower register than what I can write.”  It is always interesting to hear which adult authors carry an anti-children’s literature bias and which ones don’t.  Generally speaking, if they begin writing for kids themselves out of a place of love (Salman Rushdie, Michael Chabon, Adam Gopnik, etc.) the results may be a mixed bag but at least you know their intentions are in the right spot.  BookLust, for its part, cast Mr. Amis in a variety of different children’s literary roles while Charles London of this year’s We Are Not Eaten by Yaks offers his own response to Mr. Amis.  Thanks to Achockablog for the latter link.
  • An Author Skype Tour blog set up with the express purpose of helping teachers and librarians connect to their favorite writers of children’s books?  Sounds like something we’ve been needing.  As I learned recently, this site is meant to act as, “a resource for authors, publishers, teachers & librarians to promote author Skype tours and help teachers & librarians meet their students’ and readers’ needs. It’s an Author Skype Tour blog which lists author tours and allows teachers and librarians to search by age level, theme, curriculum connections & writing topics.”  Check it.
  • I’m sure there are those amongst you who are just as relieved to hear that children’s authors Liz Levy and Bruce Coville made it home safe and sound from Egypt.  They recently spoke with SLJ about their experiences over there and what the American media got wrong.
  • Sick of American children’s books cluttering up your shelves?  Want something fresh?  Something foreign?  Something entirely new?  You’re in luck then.  USBBY has just released its 40 international books for its 2011 honor list and the titles look great.  I’m just glad to see Departure Time mentioned.  I did adore that book.
  • New Blog Alert: And this one has such a fine pedigree.  Audrey Wood, wife of Don and co-creator of such enormously famous books as The Napping House or King Bidgood is in the Bathtub has a brand new, bright and shiny blog.  I’m a little unnerved to discover that there’s a real life King Bidgood out there somewhere, but I liked how Don snuck Audrey into the book (even if she isn’t all that pleased by her own appearance).
  • Hmm.  Well, its British but I think this is one of the more interesting book to game show ideas I’ve heard.  From Cynopsis Kids:
  • CBBC orders up two seasons of the new game show Gory Games (13×26) from the team the produces Horrible Histories.  Hosted by Dave Lamb (Come Dine With Me) and puppet Rattus Rattus (Horrible Histories), Gory Games will pit kid contestants against one another answering questions about history and featuring foul facts, putrid props and scary sketches.  Set to debut later this year, some of the questions on Gory Games will be presented by members of the Horrible Histories historical ‘stars’ as well as the author of Horrible Histories books Terry Deary.  Gory Games is a Lion TV and Citrus Television co-production for CBBC.

  • In movie news, this one’s an oddity.  Not since Lovely Bones has the dead protagonist of a book had more star power than her living cohorts. From PW Children’s Bookshelf:
    “Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment have acquired film rights to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher as a star vehicle for Selena Gomez. In the 2007 novel from Razorbill, a boy finds a box of cassette tapes recorded by a girl he’d had a crush on; the tapes explain to 13 people how they played a role in her death.”

    Daily Image:

    Some daily images require very little explanation.  TYWKIWBI merely calls this “Best profession for a giraffe.”

    Thanks to Aunt Judy 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. Thank you, Betsy, for contributing to the latest StorySnoops blog post!

  2. My husband, in his mind, named our second daughter for Ada Lovelace. In my mind, we got it from the novel Cold Mountain. Oh well, at least she’ll have two stories to tell.

    And, yes, she needs a biography. Lovelace, not my daughter.

  3. thank you! as a long-time, hardcore fan of The Changeover, where do I sign up for that campaign?

  4. I remember entering the Margaret K. McElderry Picture Book Contest year after year in the 90’s. The winning book would get a publishing contract. I can’t seem to find much info on it now, but it kept me submitting stories.

  5. LOVE the Verne illustrations — thanks for putting them on my radar! Also, thanks for the mention of the mentor post (fitting, really, as the whole thing was sparked by your FACTOTUM review.)

  6. Nathan — I entered that contest, too! (in its last year, 2002) I didn’t win the contest, but I won bigger: working on my entry gave me both an appreciation for kids’ books and also a new career. I wish I’d thought to thank Margaret herself. Thanks for another juicy post, Fuse.

  7. Betsy, that’s a lot to digest. Thanks for all the great links! I already read COLLECTING CHILDREN’S BOOKS and PW CHILDREN’S BOOKSHELF, but I hadn’t seen the others.

    Unfortunately, when I tried to click on your link to Audrey Wood’s new blog, I got a 404 error.