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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: ‘Arf a mo’!

Matt’s been reading this WWI epic graphic novel called Charley’s War by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun where the British soldiers keep going around saying the phrase ‘arf a mo’.  We didn’t understand what it meant until we put on some awful faux-British accents of our own.  Then it made sense.  Anyway . . .

So I feel kinda bad.  See, earlier last week I wrote up this Little Brown preview and I neglected to include some information in it.  Bear in mind that I was a jet-lagged pregnant lady who had touched down from Barcelona and by 2:30 in the afternoon was making a concerted effort not to use the teacup in front of me as a very small/awkward pillow.  In any case, I sort of conked out mentally before the special guest arrived, and this is a shame.  Normally I report on the special guests, particularly if they’re local, particularly if they are not YA.  Yet for Ms. Sujean Rim I said not a word.  This is surprising since Ms. Rim is a fashion designer turned picture book creator.  With such illustrious credits to her name any sensible blogger would sit up and take notice.  What was working against Ms. Rim’s favor, however, is the fact that when it comes to fashion I am inept.  Seriously, I can wear the same pair of shoes for 3 years, consistently soleing and re-soleing them without thinking about it twice.  I also do not understand why women like bags.  Not at all.  Fashion is like football or royal weddings to me: It is a language I do not understand.  I do understand picture books, however, and Ms. Rim’s Birdie’s Big Girl Shoes and consequent follow-up this fall Birdie’s Big Girl Dress, about Birdie finding the perfect dress, look to have a nice style about them.  So a belated tip of the hat to Ms. Rim then.  Tis not your fault, m’lady.  You just happened to appear on a day when the sleepiest blogger in New York City also happened to be the least-adept-at-fashion.

  • “When this Bird sings, even the Mockingjay stops to listen.” What are you guys up to tonight?  Some of you may be reading this days after I post.  Others amongst you have gotten up at hours too early to be calculated.  For those of you who are logging in at a reasonable time, today (Monday, May 2nd), you may wish to spend some time with me tonight.  Not at the Children’s Book Choice Awards Gala, which would be lovely but pricey.  Rather, at the far more free top-rated Hunger Games podcast Fireside Chat where at 10:35 p.m. I’ll be discussing stuff of some sort.  You can listen live if you like or just hear it afterwards.  Should be fun!
  • When it comes to movies, I live by the Bechdel Test.  Sometimes, though, it feels like if a movie wasn’t written by Jane Austen it’s going to fail the easy requirements.  So really, it had never even occurred to me to try the test out on literature.  When I did, I noticed that if I were to apply the test to the current crop of graphic novels for kids then every single one I’ve read and enjoyed (Zita the Spacegirl, Sidekicks, and even Squish) would fail.  Weird, eh?
  • The best test as to whether or not a YA or children’s book is officially a phenomenon is if someone mentions it to you in a bar.  Hunger Games?  Officially a phenomenon since I’ve had bar conversations about it.  Harry Potter?  You bet.  And just the other day someone I knew asked, “Have you seen that new picture book Go the F*** to Sleep?”  By complete coincidence I had indeed heard about it just the day before on Crooked House.  Only thing is, I had assumed that this was a fake book.  One of those College Humor creations put out there for the amusement of the masses.  Nope.  With blurbs from folks like Jonathan Lethem, it’s coming out with a publisher by the name of Akashic Books this October.  The illustrator, I noticed, was the same guy who wrote that picture book about pot back in 2006 called It’s Just a Plant.  So there you go.
  • My favorite British children’s literary blog these days is the illustrious Playing by the Book.  Consistently creative and interesting, it recently posted a fascinating list of recommended picture books.  Called 49 Brilliant Picture Books from the Past 5 Years as Chosen by Award Winning Illustrators, the list comes from the winners of the recent Booktrust New Best Illustrators Award and their choices are eclectic and fascinating.  I was particularly intrigued by the universal (and much deserved) love for The Haunted House by Kazuno Kohara.  Truly interesting stuff.
  • Do you have a shame shelf?  Which is to say, a shelf of unread books that stare at you in the face, mocking your day-to-day activities until you finally cave and start reading them all at once like some kind of mad librarian?  Me too.  Mine is full of 2011 books which I rotate through using a system that makes sense only to myself.  Author Jonathan Auxier discusses his own shame shelf and the shame shelves of others on this blog The Scop.  I’m particularly fond of the photograph he includes.  Oh!  And congrats on the release of your MG’s cover, Jonathan.  That artist Gilbert Ford has a style that really lures in the kids.  No wonder that Pseudonymous Bosch’s books sell so well.

‘Arf a mo’!  Do you recognize him?   You may know him better from his amazing book trailer blog Watch. Connect. Read. (which I really need to put on my blogroll one of these days).  His pseudonym may be Mr. Schu, but get to know him better and you’ll see that this is just a shortening of his real name John Schumacher.  I also think that this may be the first time a blogger/librarian has been featured on SLJ’s cover since the controversial liquored up librarians shoot.  Well done, sir!

  • I am having a very very hard time not buying all of Lucy Knisley’s poster summaries of the first four Harry Potter books right here and now.  Take a gander at them and you’ll understand my dilemma.  Then again they’re a mere $10 a pop.   I may have to splurge.  They even contain a nice use of “j’accuse”.  Many many thanks to Monica Edinger and Phil Nel for spotting them.
  • Big time congrats to Dori Hillestad Butler for her recent Edward Award win for the Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy!  The Edgars are given to the best published mysteries of the year and include a juvenile category or two to keep folks like myself happy.  Haven’t read Ms. Butler’s book?  Head on over to Early Word then, where Lisa Von Drasek gives you the rundown.
  • Daily Image:

Though they may have gotten the idea from the library that was doing this with old record albums (35 points to anyone who can find a link to what I’m talking about) this ad campaign from a bookstore is still rather delightful:

Thanks to NYBR Classics 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. Being on the west coast, I have the opportunity to read your posts the night before they’re technically “up.” Usually that makes me feel special, but in this case it led to me spending a fitful night, tossing in bed, muttering the words “arf a mo” in the hope I might figure out what on earth they meant. Finally, I got up (at 4:30am) to google it: Thanks a lot, Birds!

  2. I know exactly the old record album thing you’re talking about, and it’s driving me CRAZY that I can’t find it. Sigh.

  3. Jonathan, I want that poster. Very very much. I regret your sleepless state . . . but that regret doesn’t really make my delight in the poster any less. Tis gorgeous! I wish to hang it on my wall alongside my Keep Mum, She’s Not So Dumb poster.

  4. Love thinking of you going around saying “arf a mo” 🙂 And the test as to whether or not a YA or children’s book is officially a phenomenon – brilliant. Unfortunately I don’t hang out in enough bars to test it, but I believe you entirely! And thanks too for your kind words once again. I shall now skip happily up stairs to put my kids to bed!