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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

The Secret Past of Phillip Pullman

Let this reassure all the authors of children’s books out there.  You can be the greatest writer in the world and still produce middling fare in your early years.  Today’s example is How to Be Cool by Philip Pullman circa 1987.  Perhaps a bit different from The Golden Compass:

Step One: Find some hot pink pants to match your hot pink shoes and baby pink socks.

Thanks to Monica Edinger for showing me this!

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. Linda Urban says:

    Holy cow! I am currently wearing that exact combination! I need to get this book and learn what the next step is. Cool — I’m coming for YOU!

  2. Linda Urban, I heart you.

  3. Of course, not having read it I can’t say for sure if it is middling or not. Dated, yes, absolutely!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Indeed I’m making some assumptions here. It’s entirely possible that this is certifiable literary gold. An undiscovered classic worthy of the likes of Twain, Chekov, and Hurston. The fact that it was turned into a television show may or may not hurt my case.

  4. To say nothing of the hip yellow polka-dotted halls in which you tread. I would really love it if they did a reprint featuring birkenstock or dansko clogs as if to say “Future Librarians Of the World, by ‘Cool’ we mean YOUR kind of cool”

  5. Karen Gray Ruelle says:



  1. […] having it and staging a protest. Yes, that is their name! * How to be cool? Um, I don’t think this book is going to help you. Doesn’t do much for Philip Pullman’s image, either. Too funny! * […]