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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Hotsy Totsy, Ducky, Spiffy, Etc.

When I first became interested in children’s literature I decided that it would be a good idea to teach myself about all the old greats of the picture book world.  A good idea, but self-teaching is inherently limited.  As such, I’ve missed a lot of folks. For example, until now “Saul Bass” meant nothing to me.  Yet after reading the Ward Jenkins post on the Rizzoli reprint of Henri’s Walk to Paris, that is one book I would love to get my sticky digits on.  Just gorgeous stuff.

I’ve noticed a couple of folks around the country working to make literary loving hip in the mind of the average consumer with varying degrees of success.  One project that has interested me, though, is this Litpunch idea the Twin Cities are engaged in.  Basically you get a card, you attend fun free literary events, and if you get your card punched twelve times you get a $15 gift card to a bookstore.  I do wish the libraries were involved in some manner but it’s a great notion.  Imagine if they did the same thing with children’s literature!  I await that happening someday.

  • This is impressive!  Want a fabulous list of in-print books set on every continent of the world?  And would you like such a list to also include activities and recipes and the like?  Then I think it’s time to take a trip to Read Around the World.  It’ll do your old heart good.  Promise.
  • Speaking of recipes, you know that fabulous book Press Here by Herve Tullet?  Well, would you fancy trying a mess of Press Here cookies?  Children’s Books for Grown-Ups has got the goods.  It’s part of a regular “Bookish Bites” series.  I’m seriously looking forward to how Natasha will tackle that upcoming Moomin birthday cake.  There but for the grace of parental challenges go I . . .
  • Once in a while at Hark, A Vagrant, Ms. Kate Beaton will reinterpret various Edward Gorey covers.  Here’s one she may have missed.  It appeared recently on the 50 Watt blog and features a Gorey spider.  Have you ever seen a Gorey spider?  Did you know that you were missing out?  That your life contained a gigantic Gorey-spider shaped void?

Well now you know.

  • Is texting “an ideal springboard to good poetry-writing”?  Are our text-happy students future poets in the making?  Poet Carol Ann Duffy thinks so and goes on further to say that for this generation poetry is the perfect form.  A great piece in The Guardian discusses why she feels this way.  Thanks to Playing By the Book for the link.
  • I’ve noticed a distinct trend when it comes to children’s books that don’t slot into the usual categories.  It seems to me that the best result of the electronic revolution is that already professional artists can create books for kids that make use of multimedia platforms.  A recent article in the Nashville Scene highlights a book called When Comes What Darkly Thieves by artist Ben Rubin that does just that.  Fascinating.
  • A different artist going a separate route is Cynthia Von Buhler.  She’s started a Kickstarter page for her Speakeasy Dollhouse (think The Dollhouse Murders meets Some Like It Hot meets The Godfather).  It’s one of the cleverer Kickstarter pages, not least because Von Buhler’s family history makes everyone else’s sleepy in comparison.  I love the models and I love that folks who contribute a little can get an Amanda Palmer song while those who contribute a lot can get a tiny version of themselves in the upcoming book.  Clever idea that.
  • Name me all the Scottish children’s book authors you know . . . and GO!  Want a hint?  Then check out the shortlisted books for the 2011 Scottish Children’s Book Awards.  Ross Collins!  I had no idea.  Love seeing Dear, Vampa there.  See the list yourself though.
  • I like being told about random artists around the country that have children’s book potential.  David Eldred fits that profile, I think.  He has a sequence involving a boy and a bison that’s rather charming.  Worth looking at, I should think.
  • “Booktrust is an independent UK-wide charity dedicated to encouraging people of all ages and cultures to enjoy books.”  All well and good.  And Thursday was International Literacy Day, which is one of their big events.  Next year hopefully I’ll be better prepared to help them celebrate.  In the meantime, I’m childishly pleased to learn the name of Booktrust’s Chief Executive: Viv Bird.  Another Bird!  Working with books!  The more Birds the merrier, that’s what I say.
  • Daily Image:

What do you get the reader child or teen who has everything?  How about shoes you can customize and that display various famous works of literature on them?  Stuff like . . .

Lord of the Flies

Or even The Catcher in the Rye

You gotta wonder about the kid who wears The Scarlet Letter, of course.  Many more abound on the site. Thanks to AL Direct 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. Surprisingly, I DO know of a Scottish picture book author! Natalie Russell!

  2. That Edward Gorey spider reminds me of the Medieval bestiary drawings, where the artist had never seen the living creature before! “Uh, it has 8 legs. It’s sort of furry up close. Yeah, it’s sort of like a crab, I guess.”

  3. I can understand not knowing he did a kids’ book (certainly came as a shock to me) but how could you be married to Matt and not know Saul Bass?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      This is a pretty good case of my blithely blogging something without consulting the resident husband. Good call, Dan. Matt definitely knows who he is.

  4. Now we know why the itsy-bitsy spider was looking for a water spout.

  5. Wow. Thanks for filling the gigantic Gorey-spider shaped void in my life. Creepy cover.