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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “I’m not trading my beef jerky for your edamame.”

This may have to qualify for this month’s Best Thing Ever. You know Jon Scieszka?  Great guy.  Has two kids as it happens.  Casey and Jake.  Good guys.  Adults.  Now along with Steven Weinberg (who wrote To Timbuktu with Casey) the trio has created Diary of a Manly Kid.  Pretty much what it sounds like and if you’ve read the Kinney books it’s parodying, tis hilarious.

Interesting that the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced right before ALA this year.  I was much taken with Elizabeth Bluemle’s reactions to the winners too.  For my part, I was thrilled to pieces to see Anna Hibiscus get its due (particularly in the midst of all that YA fiction).  Ditto Pecan Pie Baby.

  • Hm. Okay. I’m willing to accept that this story may be true because it appeared in the national news.  But come on.  Seriously.  This woman’s name is “Alice Ozma”?  Sounds like a character name in a fantasy novel for kids written by an author who usually pens books for adults.
  • Many people said it.  The Onion AV Club said it best.  After all the speculation as to what Pottermore might be (I had hoped for that long awaited encyclopedia she’d promised us) the answer came.  “Well, the day has finally arrived and we finally know that Pottermore is, in fact—cue the sad trombone—a new interactive online experience’.”  I am now going to incorporate the phrase “cue the sad trombone” into my everyday speech.  Just see if I don’t.
  • A review worth reading!  Monica Edinger approached the Michael Sims title The Story of Charlotte’s Web with, as she says, a great deal of trepidation.  The result is a thorough and entrancing review of a book that, quite frankly, I was unaware existed.  Read.  Discover.
  • Speaking of annotations (were we? Yes we were) Michael Patrick Hearn was in my library the other day.  I did not let on that I knew who he was (I’m sneaky like that) but had I known that he was soon going to conduct a Q&A between Eric Carle and Tomi Ungerer at The Carle I’d have complimented him on his luck.  As it stands, the meeting of Ungerer and Carle is ideal since both men have entire museums in their name.  Who else can say the same?  I thought that there might have been a Quentin Blake gallery somewhere, but now I can’t seem to find it.  In any case, be sure to check out this article on Ungerer in The Boston Phoenix as well as this one by The Carle itself.
  • Shaun Tan appeared to be the man of the hour last week.  Not only did he respond to an interview in Der Spiegel entirely in cartoons but he also donated an image to Sweden’s Nationalmuseum (all one word?).  If you’ll recall, he recently won the Astrid Lindgren Award.  That makes this picture all the more appropriate:

  • Huh.  Did NOT see this one coming.  What’s next?  Over Sea, Under Stone?  From Cynopsis Kids:

Fox 2000 has signed Thor Freudenthal (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) to direct Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters; the second movie based on author Rick Riordan’s hugely popular book series, per 24 Frames.  Additionally, the studio has picked up actor Logan Lerman‘s option to return as Percy Jackson in the new movie.  The writing duo of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, Agent Cody Banks) are penning the script for Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters.  The first movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was directed by Chris Columbus.  Columbus will produce Sea of Monsters.

  • New Blog Alert: I’m being a bit cheeky with this one since I fully intend to be a part of it.  SLJ loves new blogs and so they’ve created one worth looking at.  Touch and Go is now the official SLJ review blog of book apps for kids.  I’d reviewed an app on my blog once before and intended to do more, but didn’t have a consistent way of doing so.  Problem solved!  Expect to see some of my reviews showing up there then.
  • Huh!  Here’s an idea.  A disaster occurs and folks decide that in the midst of basic necessities, maybe the kids involved need something fun for their brains.  The result?  A Kickstarter project to create comic books for the kids of Joplin, Missouri.  They’ve reached their goal already, but it’s an interesting project worth looking at anyway.  Thanks to Marjorie Ingall for the link.
  • Sometimes I feel that Highlights Magazine does more for the world of children’s literature than any other magazine out there (apologies, Cricket).  Partly this is due to their publishing house Boyds Mills Press.  Partly it’s related to the cool writing retreats they hold for nonfiction authors on their grounds.  And then they go and create cool awards that benefit author of children’s books.  Recently Highlights decided to create something called The Smiling H Award for those contributors who have helped, “kids become their best selves — curious, confident, creative and caring.”  Okay.  Eight folks received the award, though I only knew three off the top of my head: Eileen Spinelli, Valerie Gorbachev, and Henry Winkler.  Oh!  And Sheila Bair has a book out with Albert Whitman and Company as well.  Good to know.  Thanks to Hillary Bates for the link!
  • In lieu of an Abrams preview (alas) Chad Beckerman fills a much needed gap in the universe with his sneak peek of the Abrams Fall 2011 offerings.  Those of you who plucked galleys at ALA won’t be surprised, but for the rest of us it offers some fascinating tidbits.  I’ve an eye for that What Animals Really Like.  Don’t know what it’s about but I’m intrigued.
  • Grahame Baker-Smith just won the Kate Greenaway Medal over in the U.K. (their equivalent of the Caldecott here).  Beware of following this link to some of the images of the book he won it for, though.  Right now I’m just staring at the images while the perpetual lyrics of “WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT WANT” plays in my head to the Green Acres theme song.  Looks like the book (FArTHER) was published by Templar.  Does that mean Candlewick will bring it over here (oh please, oh please)?  Thanks to Playing By the Book (who has a cool review of the children’s literature centric film Eleanor’s Secret that’s worth viewing) for the link.
  • Daily Image:

In the face of rioting Canadians . . .

Apparently their names have been sewed onto the backs of their jerseys.  Thanks to Joanne Bernier Galluzzo for the image!

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. Her real name is Kristen Alice Ozma Borzina. Her dad was a children’s librarian and chose Alice (from Carroll) and Ozma (from Baum) as her middle names. When she published THE READING PROMISE she dropped her first and last names.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Ahhhh. Thanks, Peter. The coincidence was just too much for me. Too too much.

  2. Thanks for the Amy Sohn article – yes, the joke is wearing a little thin for me now, but her article is an interesting read. I do hope FArTHER makes it to your shores – a beautiful book indeed. And of course, thanks to linking to my Eleanor’s Secret review!

  3. I think the weirdest thing about the father/daughter reading project isn’t her name, it’s the fact that in her interview, she lets out that her first night at college was her FIRST night away from home. How is that even possible. Not a single sleepover? Or camp? Maybe they should’ve read “Ira Sleeps Over” as a bit of bibliotherapy.

  4. My favorite part of Diary of a Manly Kid is the disclaimer at the bottom of the page: “This is satire, but some kids could really come up a little bit.”

  5. I read the Alice Ozma book and it is a little weird in places, but they do explain the sleepover thing. She did spend nights away from home, but her father would call her and read to her over the phone on those evenings. She was also active in high school drama and when rehearsals ran late, he’d come to the school and read to her in the parking lot!

  6. There’s another great article about the Reading Promise from a year ago that has some additional anecdotes: