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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: “A sort of child’s Jane Eyre.”

  • “Jarrett Krosoczka is one of 25 hottest children’s authors in the nation.” So said Henderson City Mayor Andy Hafen when presenting Mr. Krosoczka with the key to the city.  I’ll just say that again.  The mayor of a city mentioned Jarrett being part of my old The Hot Men of Children’s Literature series when presenting him with that city’s key.  Geez o’ petes.  Looks like I’m going to have to restart that series one of these days (though I KNOW I did more than just twenty-five!).  Credit to The Las Vegas Review Journal for the image.
  • In my children’s room we have two copies of Florence Parry Heide’s The Shrinking of Treehorn.  It is regularly requested throughout the system, though sometimes difficult to find thanks to its small size (it will occasionally meander over to our Little Books Shelf when it’s in a wandering mood).  Thus it was with sadness that I learned that Ms. Heide passed away recently at the age of 92.  We should all reread Treehorn (or any of her other works, for that matter) in her honor.
  • Wow.  I am in awe.  Here we have a really amazing and worthwhile piece over at Teach Mentor Texts charting a teacher’s changing attitude towards Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back.  From initial disgust to grudging appreciation to possible enjoyment.  It’s a testament to keeping an open mind after a first reading, and the amount of self-awareness at work here is amazing.  Folks sometimes tell me that my reviews of picture books are far too long, but I think this post makes it infinitely clear how there is to be said about the power of that format.
  • Remember that picture book manifesto that aired recently?  Well at Fomagrams there’s a piece from David Elzey called of picture books and amnesiacs that gives that document a thorough once over.  Everything from the statement on “robust criticism” to the relative honesty or dishonesty of “tidy endings” is examined thoroughly.  Today I appear to be linking to posts from folks unafraid to use their brains.  A nice trend.
  • Is 90% of everything crap?  Jonathan Hunt says so, sparking a variety of different comments from his regular readers.  Heavy Medal is always good for thoughts of this sort.  In fact, I recently decided that the site has given me a chance to examine my own personal Newbery book prejudices.  Prejudices, I would add, that most committee members share, but prejudices just the same.  More on that when I tally up the final predictions at the end of the year, of course.
  • Speaking of the Newbery, is it a good or bad idea to find out as much as you can about a book before rendering a final decision about its worth?  I ask this because Jules recently had a magnificent interview with Brian Selznick about his Wonderstruck over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast the other day.  Could change your mind about the whole book… but would you want it to?
  • Hmmm*.  When I see a link called The 10 Best Graphic Novels  – In Pictures, that’s one thing.  But who was the editor that thought it was a good idea to write the subtitle “Rachel Cooke’s pick of the graphic novels that transcend the comic book medium.”  Transcend how exactly?  By being good?  I interpret that word to mean “to rise above”, thereby casting aspersions on comic books as a whole.  However, I acknowledge that I can be a bit persnickety about these things sometimes.  A bit thin skinned.  Still . . . transcend?  Really?  Thanks to Pamela Paul for the link.
  • I don’t know why I’ve never heard someone refer to The Secret Garden as “A sort of child’s Jane Eyre” before, but a better description you could not find.  A fantastic post at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure follows Miriam Halahmy as she joins Britain’s Children’s Historical Book Society (there’s a future blog post subject in the making!) on a Frances Hodgson Brunett “study day”.  Lots of facts about The Secret Garden abound, but this one’s my favorite: “Dickon was originally called Dick but FBH was told this was a silly name. She felt that Dickon was a good country name.”  Good call, Frances.  Thanks to Monica Edinger for the link.

It’s not exactly breaking news that Raina Telegemeier adapted Ann Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books into the graphic novel format, but I have found that Ms. Telegemeier’s fame has slowly been increasing over the years.  The other day I asked the kids in my children’s book group what authors they would like to meet in person.  They said the usual (J.K. Rowling, R.L. Stine, etc.) and then one said with stars in her eyes, “Raina Telegemeier!!!”  I showed her where Raina had once signed my library’s guestbook and the poor kid nearly fainted.  I think we’re gonna have to do Smile in bookgroup now.  Anywho, Newsarama only just got the memo about BSC and it interviewed both Raina and Ann together at once about the process.  You can read part one and part two, though part three doesn’t seem to be out yet.  It’s exhaustive!  Thanks to Eric Carpenter for the links.

They say to win an Oscar all you need to do is play someone with a terminal disease.  So what do you do if you want to win a Newbery?  Knock off the ‘rents.  Don’t believe me?  Peter has the stats.

  • Growing up I distinctly remember my mother telling me how much she loved and enjoyed an old gentle fantasy novel from her youth called something like David and the Phoenix.  Written by Edward Ormondroyd it was your basic boy and his phoenix story, its author long since lost to the sands of time.  No more.  I’m not entirely certain how Marc Tyler Nobleman was able to track down Mr. Ormondroyd, but track him down he did.  Now for the first time you can read an exclusive interview with the man himself.
  • This is not a book.  Why is this not a book?  This must become a book.  Bookify this, publishing world!!
  • Daily Image:

My first job as a NYPL children’s librarian was at the Jefferson Market Branch, a fantastic 1860s former courthouse with a grand old clocktower and a reference room in the basement constructed out of former cells.  The previous children’s librarian had been a bit of a packrat, so I set about cleaning out the office when I arrived.  This being New York, you can imagine the yelp I let out when I reached behind some books only to find the unmistakeable feeling of fur.  Margaret Wise Brown’s Little Fur Family turned out to be the culprit and . . . well, let’s just say it hadn’t aged particularly well.  That book is included amongst many in this fascinating collection of Unusual Bindings from AbeBooks.  Eschewing the obvious gross choices (you can see them for yourself on the site if you’re curious) I was rather taken with the . . .




Though The Little Fur Family will always have a nasty little place in my heart (it’s even the size of a mouse, for crying out loud!).

Thanks to @Charlesbridge for the link.

*I just noticed that the number of “M”s in a “hmmm” corresponds directly to my level of skepticism.  Because I’m crazy.
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 is an interesting observation- that ‘The Secret Garden’ is like a child’s ‘Jane Eyre’! Very true. Now this I must share with my co-contributors on Saffrontree!

  2. I’ve heard THE SECRET GARDEN called the child’s LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER because of the Dickon/Mary/Colin triangle. And in googling to see where I may have read that, found this: Of to see if I can get a copy. Let me click through the links you have to see if they mention it.

  3. Gah, an orca drowning its trainer? It’s too soon for that joke.

  4. Thank you so much for pointing out the Edward Ormondroyd interview. David and the Phoenix was my husband’s favorite childhood book, and we read it together when we were first engaged. Can’t wait to share it with him!

  5. Vanity Fair had an article about Brown back in 2000, BUNNY DEAREST. I’m pretty sure they discussed the fur book.

  6. I agree with Brooke, Betsy – thanks for pointing out the Edward Ormondroyd interview.