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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Croquet and Pentanque (together at last)

Maybe half a year ago I mentioned that Ms. Lucy Knisley had created a cartoon poster for the first four Harry Potter books.  Now with the final Potter movie coming out, the posters are at long last complete.  They follow the plots of the books, not the films, but the look of the characters can be amusingly cinematic at times.  And for the record, if I were a tattoo-minded dame, I would adore getting this image of Luna Lovegood and her pop.

But that’s not really my top news story of the day.  How could it be?  No the top news story is that it is once again time for the Summer Blog Blast Tour.  Twice a year a cadre of bloggers for child and teen books gather together to interview some of the luminaries in the field.  Chasing Ray has the round-up, so seek ’em out and read ’em up.  I know I will.

When I lived in London for a time (it was like a little Intro to New York) I would periodically buy the newest issue of Time Out London and find interesting places to visit.  One day the mag highlighted a toy museum.  It was called The Museum of Childhood and it was fascinating.  I was too intimidated to take any pictures, though, so I sort of forgot that I even went.  Years have passed and I see that author/illustrator David Lucas has also been to that same museum and he has written about it in the post What do TOYS Think of Us? Stick around for the moment when he starts talking about panpsychism.  Looking at all those ragamuffin bits of much loved cloth and felt reminds me of my library’s own original Winnie-the-Pooh.  He is, after all, of the British persuasion.

  • Yay, Sunday Brunch!  Over at Collecting Children’s Books my partner in writing crime (we’re doing a Candlewick book with Jules from 7-Imp) has a delightful post that is well worth your time.  My favorite parts include the childhood of a future Brat Packer, a reason why Erin E. Moulton’s Flutter is unique, and a vote for “The Year’s Creepiest YA Novel.”  Hooked yet?
  • Marci, this is for you. Remember how we were trying to figure out how one would go about creating Quidditch croquet?  Well . . .
  • And since this is turning into a Harry Potterish kind of post anyway, who would have predicted after seeing the first HP film that Malfoy would grow up to look kind of goofy (though maybe I shouldn’t say anything about a guy with a rap contract) while Neville . . . Wow.  Thanks to mom for the link.
  • I’ve put off reviewing apps for the moment, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see them.  So I know personally that the SLJ review of the app for Hildegard Sings happens to be right on the money.  Probably because I happened to give it a little feedback prior to publication.  Go check it out!
  • In the annals of children’s literary history it would be nice if someday someone collected all the illustrations children’s illustrators have made of one another.  I’m sure Feiffer has doodled Sendak at some point in his life.  And how cool would it be to find an Ezra Jack Keats image of someone like H.A. Rey?  In the meantime we’ll be satisfied of pictures like this one Peter de Seve did of himself and Mo Willems playing Pentanque.  Love the concentration on display there.
  • Actually, this is somewhat along the same lines.  In Britain a host of children’s authors were asked who their favorite fellow living author is.  Frank Cottrell Boyce and Mal Peet chose Yanks.  Great Yanks at that.
  • Aw, man.  Bologna be damned.  I wanna be part of the excellent children’s literary road trip Mr. Schu and Donna go on.  I mean, I’ve never even been to The Reading Reptile like they have.  Looks pretty darn cool, though.  For a play by play on their adventures, best that you visit their blog pronto.
  • Speaking of road trips, that great Greg Hatcher is at it again!  This week he introduces us, in the course of his travels, to a Hardy Boys knockoff series that, in his own words, did not, “even have the staying power of Whitman’s other teen sleuth Trixie Belden.”  Later he mentions the book Captains Courageous, which stirred something in the back of my cranium.  Is there a children’s book out this year in which a character reads that title?  Dead End in Norvelt, perhaps?  I can’t remember.
  • This was heartbreaking.  A couple months ago I had a girl come into my library asking for books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  So I hauled out the usual fare, and spent a little extra time talking up my beloved Popularity Papers.  She looked interested and took it to read.  I figured my job was done.  Five seconds later she’s back with an apologetic look on her face.  “I can’t read this,” she said.  “It’s in script.”  Part of the book is written in cursive and the kid was convinced it was unreadable.  I remembered this moment when I saw the TIME article reporting that in Indiana cursive will no longer be taught.  Geez.  Thanks to Galleycat for the link.
  • The site Imaginawesome reinterprets children’s drawings with professional artists. Neat, right?  Guess I’d be more impressed if I hadn’t seen it done two years ago (and brilliantly) by children’s authors for the work by the kids of Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty.  Not that it isn’t a cool idea.
  • Ah, Anne Carroll Moore.  Unfair that you’re primarily mentioned these days when it comes to the books you didn’t like.  Still, this NPR piece on How E.B. White Spun ‘Charlotte’s Web’ is pretty fun stuff.  Enjoy.  Thanks to Leesa Bird for the link.
  • I never had a desire to become a teacher.  They’ve more guts than I.  This is probably for the best too since if I was a teacher I’d probably take an unholy pleasure in finding the plagiarists in my classes.  And I’d certain find a lot of ways to use the piece Tools for Tackling Plagiarism that SLJ put out.

That’s gonna be one big bunny! Production has begun on the new stop-motion animated, preschool/family aimed feature film Miffy the Movie, which is based on Dutch author/illustrator Dick Bruna’s popular white rabbit Miffy character and the puppet animated TV series Miffy and Friends.  Telescreen Filmproductions, a division of Telescreen B.V., which in turn is a subsidiary of the Germany’s m4e AG, and Mercis, which manages the rights Bruna’s work, have teamed for the movie with Warner Bros. Netherlands and Dutch pubcaster KRO Television.  Production of the movie is supported by the Netherlands Film Fund and CoBO Fonds.  Media Programme of the European Community supported the development of the film.  Produced in collaboration with Denmark’s A.Film Production and a team of stop motion animators in Latvia, Miffy the Movie is being directed by Hans Perk, from a screenplay by James Still.  Production on the movie is slated to be completed in 2012, with plans for its worldwide theatrical release in 2013.

  • Now let us turn our attention to Australia.  It appears that The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards have just been announced.  The shortlists are here and the winners were Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (Young Adult) and  Shake a Leg by Monty Boori Pryor and Jan Ormerod (Children’s).  Thanks to Judith Ridge for the info.
  • Over at Sailor Twain, Mark Siegel praises William Stieg, Barbara McClintock, and Jon Agee in turn.  I would not normally think to pair those three together, but I like the connections Siegel draws between them.
  • My least favorite Newbery is definitely Daniel Boone (see The Newbery Project to learn why), but The Matchlock Gun makes for a close second.  Now 100 Scope Notes has come up with a new cover for it.  Ah well.

  • Daily Image:

This has been an excellent year for book dresses.  The latest inclusion?

The bodice is made of typewriter parts.  See Some Like It Vintage for a close-up of the pages.  Thanks to Playing By the Book 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. That’s interesting about the Popularity Papers and the script. I wonder, though, if it’s more than unfamiliarity with script that was the problem: for a lot of folks with dyslexia and other visual processing issues, it really might be close to impossible to read a heavily script-y font. Which, of course, leads me to thinking that e-books would be a great solution to this: print it the way it makes the most sense (with the handwriting) but allow a speedy font change (or a readaloud or or or!).

    And thanks for running the picture of the dress. You’ve saved me embarrassment as I was going to wear that next time on the red carpet, but I guess it wouldn’t be fresh anymore….

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Hm. You make a great point about script and dyslexia, Greg. I admit that that hadn’t occurred to me.

      Take in the seams and I bet you could still wear that dress too. Never lose hope!

  2. “This has been an excellent year for book dresses.” So true.

  3. I was surprised that the Indiana story got so much press, as many schools haven’t taught cursive in decades. One article stated that 41 states no longer require cursive in the curriculum…though some school systems still choose to teach it. The dyslexia issue is a valid point, but I think in most cases these days kids simply don’t know it. I have an author friend who always begs her publishers not to put her titles on the cover in cursive “because kids cant’ read it.” And kids who send her fan letters frequently ask her not to handwrite her response because they simply don’t know how to read cursive.

  4. My eight-year-old is reading The Popularity Papers and having trouble with the cursive, even though she learned cursive in school last year. The thing is that they push perfect handwriting so hard, she only knows how to read cursive that looks like the stuff on their worksheets. I tried to explain about everyone having different handwriting, and she was baffled, since her teacher made it clear that all handwriting was supposed to look exactly alike. Luckily The Popularity Papers is highly motivating, so she’s getting some practice deciphering!

  5. Whew, I feel dizzy! Thank you for this amazing round-up. Jumping in on the cursive discussion, it reminds me of when I was a child reading my dad’s old Babar book – I can still see myself sitting up in the huge old bed I slept in at my grandad’s house feeling sooo proud the day I could actually read it! And yes, the Museum is wonderful – thanks for pointing to the article.

  6. My students always start the year complaining that they can’t read cursive, and then when I write directions on the board, I sneak in cursive letters here and there and they are fine. By January I’m writing entirely in cursive and they can read everything. Unfortunately there is nowhere near enough time in the day to fully teach both cursive and typing, and cursive is usually the one that gets short-changed. Thanks for the Museum of Childhood link–one of my favorite places in London!

  7. Hahaha! Yay quidditch croquet! Thanks 🙂

  8. When I heard the NPR piece on White, what struck me, besides that I love turning on the radio and finding stories that I like to believe are directed soley at me, was that it mentioned a poll that PW did on the best Children’t books. Did they do one too? Or were they mixing it up with another most awesome poller?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Huh. Well that’s an excellent question. I never saw a PW poll, but it may exist. Anyone know?