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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “The Hardy boys were tense with a realization of their peril.”

So I’m reading through my weekly edition of AL Direct and I notice that no matter what worldwide occurrence takes place, librarians are always there. Whether it’s damage to two libraries in Egypt, stories from the librarians in Christchurch, New Zealand, or how the Wisconsin Library Association delayed Library Legislative Day due to the protests, the profession is there.  That last story was of particular interest to me, since I had wondered whether any school librarians were amongst the protesters in Wisconsin lately.  According to the article, they most certainly are.  You go, guys!!  Seriously, I want to hear more about it.  If any of you know any school librarians marching in WI, send them my way.  I’d love to do a full post on them.

  • Speaking of folks in the news, I have to give full credit to author/illustrator Katie Davis for consistently locating the hotspots in children’s literature and convincing folks to talk to her about them on her fabulous podcast.  In the past she’s managed to finagle everyone from the editor who wanted to replace the n-word in Huckleberry Finn to James Kennedy on the 90-Second Newbery.  Now she’s managed to get Bruce Coville to talk about what went down when he and fellow children’s author Liz Levy got stuck in Egypt during the protest period.  That Katie.  She’s got a nose for news.
  • I’m having a lot of fun reading How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely these days, and I can’t help but see echoes of the plot in this story about the man behind the Hardy Boys novels.  We hear about the various Carolyn Keenes all the time, but why not the Dixons?  After reading this old piece in the Washington Post from 1998 (The Hardy Boys The Final Chapter) I feel vindicated.  I reread some of my old Three Investigators novels not too long ago and they STILL held up!  I always knew they were better than The Hardy Boys.  Now I have proof.  I was going to save the link to this essay until the end of the Fusenews today, but it’s so amusing and so delightfully written that I just have to encourage you, first thing, to give it a look.  Thanks to The Infomancer for the link.
  • Fun Fact About Newbery Winning Author Robin McKinley: She’s learning to knit.  Related Sidenote: She also has a blog.  Did you know this?  I did not know this.  And look at the meticulous use of footnotes.  McKinley should write the next Pale Fire.  I would read that book.  Thanks to mom for the link.
  • I have a habit of assuming things.  This would be a fairly harmless activity if I simply limited myself to assuming things and keeping silent about them.  Instead, I tend to blog my assumptions.  Some of that is fine.  Some of it, not so fine.  So it’s nice when I’m not wrong.  For example, I speculated a little while ago that while Jacqueline Woodson’s daughter is in Knuffle Bunny 2, it sure looked like Mo Willems’s daughter Trixie was in Woodson’s Pecan Pie Baby.  Houston, we have confirmation.
  • At the children’s bookgroup I run we discussed One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.  When the conversation hit a lull I held up the cover and told them how many awards the book had won.  “Now how would you put four big awards on this cover?”  The kids puzzled it over, wondering if the medals could be shrunk down, a suggestion I found mildly brilliant.  Here, however, is what the publisher chose to do, and I think I like it.  Funny that they placed all four there too:

  • In the world of adult books there are new translations of authors all the time.  Children’s books, not so much.  You’ll get an occasional new take on Hans Christian Andersen (tricky stuff for any translator) but not much beyond that.  Over in England there’s a new translation of the Moomin story A Dangerous Journey by Tove Jansson.  Best of all, Frank Cottrell Boyce has reviewed the book for The Guardian.  “It was as though Kierkegaard had come round on a play date.”  Thanks to Achockablog for the link.
  • Dewey or not Dewey? Every other year or so that becomes the momentary question.  Whether tis nobler to organize your books by subject area or to imitate bookstores as much as humanly possible.  Personally, I’ve no particular opinion on the matter.  But then, all the public libraries I’ve worked in have been Dewey-based.  So long as there’s some kind of organization system, though, I think I’d be fairly content.  Yourself?
  • In terms of the Borders bankruptcy, I was unaware of how much money the bookseller owed to publishers.  $25.8 million to Harper Collins?  Yeesh!  Edward Champion has now produced a stellar blog piece.  After locating the list of the 200 Borders bookstores due to close, he has figured out the closest independent bookstores in the same vicinity and turned them into a list.  That thar’s a labor of love.  Well played, Ed.
  • One rarely hears about listservs in need of funding.  Yet LM_Net has sent out just that.  A plea for help with their operating funds.  School librarians take note!  Thanks to 100 Scope Notes for the link.
  • Okay!  So the books and the brackets and the judges and the whole kerschmozzle have been released for the SLJ Battle of the Kids’ Books.  Now I know that some of you out there aren’t a fan of competition.  I can sympathize with your non-competitive hearts.  For me, though, BoB works best when the clever author making the decision points out the sterling qualities in both titles.  That said, I’m still gonna try to make my brackets in such a way where A Tale Dark and Grimm takes home the gold.  A gal can dream, can’t she?
  • Got your March 9th all planned out for this year?  What’s March 9th, you say?  Why that’s World Read Aloud Day, of course!  Naturally you parents probably celebrate this day twice or three times or more in a 24-hour period, but on that particular day it’s even more special.  Check out the announcement from LitWorld (including plans for a 24-Hour Read Aloud Marathon in Times Square that I just have to check out) for more.
  • Did any of you read the Tina Fey article in the most recent New Yorker entitled Confessions of a Juggler?  If you had you might have noticed that she mentions a moment when her child checked out a book from her preschool library called My Working Mom.  Fey mentions that it was written by two men, but I didn’t think to look up who those men were.  Fortunately Children’s Illustration has my back.  She found the cover:

And look who made it!  Peter Glassman, proprietor of Books of Wonder and the illustrator is none other than Tedd Arnold.  The book originally came out in 1994 and doesn’t appear to be in print.  One wonders if Mr. Glassman has any copies on the bookstore shelves anyway, just in case.

  • The most interesting part of this article isn’t necessarily the fact that they’re turning The Story of Ferdinand by Munroe Leaf into a full-length feature film (what do you want to bet the pacifism doesn’t make the final cut?).  Rather, it’s the fact that this is one of those rare instances where Disney dropped the ball.  Says the piece, “unlike almost every other animated property in the Disney vault, the Burbank studio oddly failed to get a contract with Mssrs. Leaf and Lawson that went beyond its onetime use as a short film.”  Wow!  How’d they miss that?  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.
  • Speaking of films, better get your shelves fully stocked with Cabret for the Thanksgiving season.  Of course . . . even three Cabrets is equal in width to ten normal sized books.  Hmmm.  We’re gonna need special Hugo shelves, it seems.
  • Aw, heck.  While we’re talking about movies, let’s work just one more in.  From Cynopsis Kids:

The Jim Henson Company and Guillermo Del Toro are teaming up with Pathe to develop and produce a 3D stop-motion animated adaptation of Pinocchio , which is based on an edition of author Carlo Collodi’s story that was illustrated by Gris Grimly .  Grimly is set to co-direct the movie with Mark Gustafson (Animation Director/The Fantastic Mr. Fox).  Expected to head into production later this year, the movie features a story developed by Del Toro and collaborator Matthew Robbins , and a screenplay by Robins.  Del Toro will produce with Lisa Henson and Jason Lust of The Jim Henson Company and Allison Abbate (The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie). Gary Ungar will executive producer, as will Francois Ivernel and Cameron McCracken for Pathe. Rocker and film composer Nick Cave will serve as music consultant for the production.  The team will develop the puppets and other 3D elements with UK-based MacKinnon and Saunders, which also did the same for The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.”

  • Oh, Boston, Boston, Boston.  Why are you so lucky?  It wasn’t enough to have Horn Book Magazine and Candlewick and HMH.  Now you have to have a fabulous looking Edward Gorey art exhibition at the Boston Athenaeum too?  Boston, you’re killing me over here.  Seriously, take it down a peg.  Thanks to Marci Morimoto for the link.
  • Kirkus has been positively goofy about apps and eBooks lately.  Getting sold has clearly given them a new lease on life.  Now they’re making web pieces like Children’s Titles with Tremendous eBook Potential, in which they cleverly link to a whole slew of Kirkus reviews, past and present.  They’re not wrong about Re-Zoom and Sabuda’s pop-ups, either.  I’d love to see those in app format.
  • Theater News: One of my favorite little picture books of all time, Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier, is going to see its staged debut this and next week.  Check out Sergio’s blog for more info.  Ah, to be in Bologna right now . . .
  • Daily Image:

Full credit to Dan Santat for finding this one.  It’s the entire first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone . . . written on a bathroom wall.

Not that this is the first instance of Harry Potter bathroom vandalism encountered.  Thanks to Dan Santat 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. I’ve been meaning to pick up HOW I BECAME A FAMOUS NOVELIST ever since John August mentioned it on his blog. He tells the story of optioning the book in his usual charming fashion here: I’m gratified to hear someone dumping on the Hardy Boys. I hated those books as a kid … along with all the other series in which nothing actually happened to the characters. Why read a book that ends where it starts? (I will make an exception for Beckett.) That bias is probably the same reason I don’t watch procedural dramas today.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I’m probably reading the book for the same reason you’ve been meaning to pick it up. Which is to say, I think Matt read the John August piece, got intrigued, read it, and passed it on to me. It feels so up-to-date and contemporary too. I have to wonder how well it will age, or if the books that are blockbusters now will continue to remain the same kind of blockbusters ten or twenty years down the road.

      Three Investigators 4-Evah.

  2. Ah, I was always a Nancy Drew fan and only read Hardy Boys comics (put out by Walt Disney when they were airing The Hardy Boys on The Mickey Mouse Club.) However, my tender young writer’s heart was crushed when I found out that Carolyn Keene was a psuedonym for a stable of writers. *sigh*

  3. “You go, guys!!!” How about a little objectivity? How about a Wisconsin public school where the librarian’s job description, according to the principal, was “to provide release time for the teachers”, which they were entitled to in their union negotiated contract? Yes, I went – to a non-union charter school (at half the pay), not to protest in Madison.

  4. >bites his lip, Jupiter Jones-style and nods approvingly<

  5. I am SO with you on the 3 Investigators! Jupiter Jones rocks!

    Hey, I’m planning to do a little piece of Library Advocacy this weekend with the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. I’ll post about it on my blog, and then will try to get a little attention… We’re supposed to be happy that they aren’t planning any further cuts this year, after they cut 30% the last two years. I am glad to have a job back, but it’s still rotten for the people of the county….

  6. I LOVED the 3 Investigators!

    I was in first grade when the childrens librarian introduced me to the Hardy Boys. I didn’t like them that much, but I could read them very quickly, which mattered to me for some reason. And then, I found Nancy Drew and I never picked up another Hardy Boys again. To this day, I wonder why the librarian showed me the Hardy Boys but not Nancy Drew.

  7. L is for Lisa who loves your blog.

    I’m in Boston this weekend, signing at Peter Reynold’s Blue Bunny bookstore on Saturday. When I saw on your blog that there’s a Gorey exhibit in town I was soooooo excited. Can’t wait to see it!

  8. Thank you Betsy! I should get images from the show in a week or so.

  9. The entire first chapter of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE on a bathroom wall? Some people have waaaaay too much time on their hands.

    Great post, Betsy!

  10. Oh, wow! I just caught up with my blog reading and found this lovely mention of my podcast! Thank you so much, Betsy! I’m tickled! Going up later today: Oscar “mominee” and children’s author/poet, Betsy Franco (yep, that would be the Oscar host’s mom)!