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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Hubba wha?

Oh!  This is very sad news.  Russell Hoban, the genius behind the Frances books (Bread & Jam for Frances, etc.) as well as older titles like The Mouse and His Child (relatively recently re-illustrated by David Small) has died.  Perhaps appropriate for the season he was also the genius behind Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas, a book made into a holiday classic by Jim Henson.  I had a chance to interview Mr. Hoban myself almost a year ago, and he couldn’t have been nicer.  Utterly forthright in his opinions, but not in a snarky way.  The Guardian obit includes a great deal of interesting information, like the fact that one of his earliest books was titled “Herman the Loser” (must…. find …).  The Telegraph, in turn, says of him that “he conformed to no obvious literary tradition and was neglected by academics.”

Now let’s lighten things up a bit.  May it please the jury: I hereby nominate writer Emily Weiss, a writer I know of solely through two articles I’ve read of hers, for the Please Make This Woman a Book Deal She Cannot Refuse nomination of 2011.  Here, look, I’ll do the homework for you.  Her name is Emily Weiss, her info is here and she wrote a piece on what the members of The Baby-Sitters Club are up to now and another one called Nine Things to Name Your Oregon Trail Family that had me laughing to the point of tears.  That’s always a good sign right there.  Go.  Shoo.  Book deal her.  Lerner, she’s local to you, so you can have her but only if someone else doesn’t offer her more money first.

  • Travis has produced his 2011 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea.  Puts my Golden Fuse Awards to shame, it does.  That man KNOWS how to write an awesome post.  Consider this your required reading of the day.  The Owly tattoo alone is worth it.
  • Did you hear that Cricket Magazine was sold?  Yup.  To ePals, no less.  I’ve read the piece but I’ve no idea what this means for the mag in the long run.  Any of you numbers folks know how to parse this?  Thanks to Beth Fama for the link.
  • Zoe at Playing By the Book lives the dream.  Which is to say, she gets to interview Atinuke.  This is fantastic, not only because of the answers but because it includes embedded Atinuke videos at the end.
  • Dan Yaccarino’s All the Way to America has had superior buzz all the year long (Sibert buzz, mayhaps?).  Now he’s started a very fun blog where folks can send him a brief recap of their family’s immigration story.  Mine is up and running.  If you read it, you can see for yourself proof positive that the goofball gene runs hard and strong in my family’s blood.
  • I never write up my own Literary Salons, usually because I run the darn things and can’t be taking notes as I moderate.  Fortunately Matia Burnett from Publishers Weekly stopped by the last one and the piece The Good, the Bad, and the Funny shows my panelists Laurie Keller, Nick Bruel, Dave Roman, and Jules Feiffer (cause that’s how I roll) at their best.
  • Okay.  This next one is a little last minute but if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift for the children’s literary enthusiast who has everything, the Children’s Book Council has an auction going on that will benefit Every Child a Reader.  Basically you need only know two things:

1. They’re auctioning off original art created for Children’s Book Week from BIG BIG names.  And at this point a lot of it is seriously affordable.  I mean, if you don’t want a (as of right now) $250 William Pene du Bois piece of art, I understand, but still . . .

2. Many of these deals END at noon or soon thereafter today.  So skeedaddle!  Time’s ah-wasting!

  • Read this write up from Cynopsis Kids about Disney’s “new” princess and then see if your eyes did what mine did:

Disney gets a new princess, but this time it’s a little girl princess named Sofia who will debut in the new fairytale animated TV movie and series, Sofia the First, premiering in fall 2012 and spring 2013 respectively on Disney Channel and Disney Junior channels worldwide.  Targeted to preschoolers the Sofia the First stories are set in a storybook world and will feature age-appropriate social messages and life lessons.  Sofia the First was developed by Craig Gerber (Pixie Hollow Games), who also write the movie, Disney Television Animation is producing both the TV movie and series.  The Sofia the First stories revolve around Sofia who is an average girl until her mom marries the king and things shift dramatically to life in the castle, which while glamorous can also be confusing and is filled with lots of rules as well as two step siblings.  Sofia the First will include appearances by Fauna, Flora and Merryweather (fairies from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty) as the headmistresses of Royal Prep, the academy that Sofia, along with other princes and princesses, attends.  Plans also include special appearances by classic characters including Cinderella and other Disney Princesses.  The voice cast for includes Ariel Winter (Modern Family) as Sofia, as well as Sara Ramirez (Grey’s Anatomy) as Queen Miranda, Wayne Brady (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) as Clover, a wise-talking Rabbit; and Tim Gunn (The Revolution, Project Runway) as Baileywick, the Royal Steward.

Did you stumble over the phrase “wise-talking”?  Want to bet that it was originally some other phrase?

  • Daily Image:

This ties in nicely to that last piece.  Someone out there decided to re-imagine the Disney princesses as punks.  Many don’t work, but this take on Mulan?  Genius.

Shoulda slapped glasses on the lot of them.

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. Slapping glasses on Disney princesses has been done.

  2. Rocco Staino says:

    Thanks a lot for advertising the Children’s Book Council auction! I was the one who had the leading bid on the William Pene du Bois piece of art. Well not anymore. Alas, it is for a good cause.

  3. Kristi Hazelrigg says:

    I am so sad to hear about Russell Hoban’s death. I love his work. In my head I see Frances the badger crying….

  4. That first Atinuke video was done here at UW, at the CCBC.

    re: the Cricket sale–my husband used to do freelance writing for Cobblestone/Carus Publishing (not for the Cricket group of magazines–for some others). They would regularly take more than a year to pay him for his articles. Let’s hope that the sale means they start paying their contributors more promptly.

  5. I LOVED Hoban’s Frances books. Now, after reading Kristi’s comment, I’m thinking: Frances was a BADGER? I guess I never thought about it.

  6. I loved Frances, and still do…in college we read Riddley Walker and it was fascinating! He was such a diverse writer.