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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Words, words, wonderful words

Though I mentioned it yesterday, I was pleased as punch to discover the recent winners of the Society of Illustrator’s Original Art.  The Gold?  It went to a plucky (and very good) little nonfiction title by the name of Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem, both written and illustrated by Rosalyn Schanzer.  I dare say that the silver winners were none too surprising (Kadir Nelson & Lane Smith = yup yup yup) so I love the surprise Schanzerization of the award.  Ditto the Founder’s Award going to Zachariah Ohora.  His Stop Snoring, Bernard has some gorgeous art, no question.  The best part?  One of the judges was none other than Jules Danielson, blogger at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and one of my co-writers (the other being Peter Sieruta) on my upcoming Candlewick book.  I do believe that is the very first time a blogger who was not an author or illustrator has served on this committee.  Well blazed trail-wise, Jules!

  • Oh, and while we’re on the topic of all things Jules, as you can see she’s influential.  So when she releases her list of Favorite Picture Books of 2011 (So Far…) folks sit up and take notice.  I know I do.  She’s got some of my favorites on there, it’s true.  Do be so good as to check ’em out!
  • On the one hand I’m thrilled to pieces that actress Joanna Lumley is spearheading the creation of a national center for children’s literature in Scotland!  On the other hand, does it really have to be in J.M. Barrie’s old house?  Really really?  Oh, all right.  Whatever it takes to give me an excuse to go to Scotland.
  • Hark, A Vagrant has a new series of Nancy Drew cover interpretations up and running  Anyone else find The Sky Phantom as weird as I do?  And I know my library circulates a copy of The Message in the Hollow Oak.  How did I not notice its peculiarities before?
  • In my last Fusenews I managed to write up a long and detailed series of thoughts on the University of Chicago’s current exhibit on Soviet-era children’s literature.  Then I failed to save that draft.  Pfui.  I recall that I probably mentioned that the next Guest of Honor at the 2012 Bologna Book Fair will be Russia and that enterprising jet setters might have some fun comparing the art in the Chicago exhibit with the art they’ll be displayed in Bologna next year.  Seems likely anyway.
  • When I want to kill time I do it by pacing the internet restlessly.  When Marc Tyler Nobleman wants to kill time, say until the release of his children’s Batman bio, he does so in a slightly different manner. As he told it to me, “To bridge the gap between my book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman (2008) and my upcoming book on Batman/Bill Finger (2012), I found and interviewed 99 “lost” stars of superhero/cartoon entertainment of the ’70s and ’80s – from the pimp in Superman: The Movie to the original singer of the Scooby-Doo theme to the voice actors of the Wonder Twins.”  I’ve now been killing time going through some of these interviews.  Utterly fascinating.  If you’re into that kind of thing, of course.
  • Doggone collectors.  It’s not that I wouldn’t also love to own the penultimate picture from the original Winnie-the-Pooh, but it seems unfair that other folks wouldn’t be able to see it.  Now they can for a limited time at The Carle.  There you’ll have a chance to view original art from Winnie-the-Pooh.  Very cool stuff.
  • As you may have heard, Julia Donaldson is England’s Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate (at least through 2013).  As such, she’s come up with a list that is exceedingly useful to librarians like myself.  Check out her Great picture books to perform should you get a chance.  Not all of them are available in America, but those that are should be a lot of fun.  She has excellent taste too.
  • If Oprah’s allowed to have favorite things then so am I.  Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty, if you haven’t heard of it, is the premier illustrator dad and his kids blog out there.  Aaron Zenz is the mastermind behind it, and this year the blog hits the big old five year anniversary mark.  How to celebrate?  Well, Zenz has done this once before, but he’s encouraging illustrators and artists of all stripes to find images his horrendously talented children have drawn (seriously, these kids got mad skillz) and reinterpret them.  An example.

By a kid:

By adults:

J.C. Phillips of Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed and Melinda Beavers (who created the Editorial Anonymous slush monster) did the two adult versions, respectively.  You can find many more by artists you adore here.

  • New Blog Alert: I think I had forgotten, or perhaps I never really knew, that there was a blog out there by the name The History Girls. It describes itself thusly: “The History Girls are a group of best-selling, award-winning writers of historical fiction. Some of us write for young adults, some for fully fledged adults, some for younger readers.”  They came to my attention recently when Teresa Flavin linked to my weirdo raven trend post and then proceeded to give a thorough encapsulation of ravens throughout history and the world.
  • Good news, authors.  A new study has deemed your plots irrelevant. Yup.  And spoilers increase enjoyment.  Which may account for my desire to recall every scene from those movies whose trailers I’ve seen.  Read more and discuss over at Kidsmomo.
  • The artist Chuck Groenink wasn’t pleased with the recently released publicity pictures of The Hobbit‘s dwarfs (“[they] look like a cross between Scandinavian hard rockers and klingon cosplayers”) so he drew his own.  Marvelous.
  • Were you a fan of Kate Milford’s The Boneshaker?  Of course you were.  It’s part of the reason I like you.  So good news!  There’s a prequel coming out soon.  Goody goody goody!
  • Oooo.  Here’s a ponderable: “What is your favourite middle grade/tween read of the past 10 years (and why).  What is your favourite middle grade/tween read of ALL time (and why)?”  Stacy Dillon at Welcome to my Tweendom wants to know.  Help her out with some answers, if you would be so good.
  • I’ve only been there once but that was enough to hook me for life.  Now author Kate Messner has taken a trip to the Highlights Foundation Retreat.  Plus she gets to encounter a gigantic faux dino head.  Guess I’ll just have to go back one of these days to check it out for myself.  Ho ho!
  • Editor Stacey Barney at Putnam asks Am I Still Digging Publishing? Dunno, but I love that she used the term “dig”.  I’m a big fan of using mildly outdated language and “dig” is one of my favorites.  Well played, Ms. Barney.  Well played indeed.
  • And now, what you’ve all been waiting your whole lives to hear: A Stray Cats/Muppet Show Mashup.  No no.  Don’t bother to thank me.  My life is all about the giving.
  • Place this one in the We Really Didn’t Need That file.  From Cynopsis Kids:

Tim Hill (Hop, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) is said to be in discussions to direct a movie adaptation of Walter the Farting Dog for Paramount, per THR.  The movie will be produced by Mary Parent and the Farrelly brothers, as well as Bradley Thomas.  Based on the Walter the Farting Dog books by authors William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray and illustrator Audrey Colman, the screenplay is being written by Toy Story writing duo Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow.  Hill is also currently developing a remake of the movie Short Circuit for Dimension.

  • Daily Image:

Lots of pictures in the old Daily Images file.  They all paled in comparison to this one.  It’s a portrait of illustrator Dan Santat as painted by Kadir Nelson (see first notation today under folks-we’re-not-surprised-won-a-Society-of-Illustrators-Award):

To see how this picture was made, Katie Davis took excellent notes.  Cool all around.

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. Many good links to start off this rain-threatening Monday morning in northern VA! However, I did an error message for the Welcome to My Tweendom link. Just FYI (I will look it up, but just wanted you to know).

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Thanks, Jennifer! That was a glitch on my end. Has been corrected.

      Dan, are you calling Kadir a liar? That man paints what he sees.

  2. I aspire to be as handsome as Kadir’s painting of me.

  3. Thanks for highlighting the CNLTooty Celebration! I’m in awe of the many wonderful illustrators who are both inspired BY the kiddos and also giving the gift of inspiration TO them as well. It’s great fun as a family to watch the amazing art come in 🙂

  4. Dare I say that I’m jealous of my own portrait? Two words. Cheek bones.

  5. Speaking of Kadir Nelson, there’s an exhibition of his art at one of Cleveland Public Library’s branches this month and next. 🙂