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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: In and out of the loop I go

  • PeanutsTributeI mention to folks that in my new job I actually don’t work day-to-day with children’s books all that often anymore and they wonder how I’m coping.  As it happens, I’m just ducky.  Since my spare hours are just as chock full of kidlit as before, I honestly don’t feel like I’m missing too much.  I still read my reviews and get my galleys.  But occasionally something will be published and I’ll be hit by an overpowering wave of self-pity.  This week’s, “Why Didn’t I See That?!” kvetch-fest?  Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz by Charles M. Schulz, illustrated by Matt Groening, Raina Telgemeier, and Jeffrey Brown amongst MANY others. And it’s a 2015 title at that.  Waaaaaaaant.
  • Meanwhile, another very cool looking book was recently released.  Jules at the Kirkus version of 7-Imp has the skinny on The Complete Alice a.k.a. what you can get me for Christmas.
  • I think I could be happy if I just spent the rest of my life reading snarky reviews of that darn rabbit book. First there was Travis.  Then Roger.  And yes, I know that the more we talk about the bunny monstrosity the more time it will take before it goes away.  But we have such a lovely literary community there of mutual appreciation that when we are actually allowed to dislike something, it has a tendency to go to our heads.  Wascally wabbit.
  • Sure, they’re a mammoth publishing entity of massive production and countless staff but . . . awww. Look what Harper Collins did for Harold’s birthday.  Ain’t it sweet?

LforLibrarianHmm. Sounds good at first. The headline reads, “Tired of stereotypical characters in books for girls, this dad wrote his own.”  Then it shows a book of various professions helmed by women in an abecedarian fashion.  It’s no Rad American Women A to Z but it’ll do.  Except . . . when you get to “L”.  I don’t generally get all hot under the collar when folks stereotype my profession, but COME ON, MAN.  Shoot, it’s images like that that kept me out of the profession in the first place.

  • File this one away in the It Isn’t Just Me drawer.  Some of you may be aware that before I post an episode of Fuse #8 TV, a series where I interview authors and illustrators in a free and easy manner, I always begin with a bit of “Reading (Too Much Into) Picture Books”.  This is a series where I acknowledge (without actually saying outright) that when a parent reads a picture book too many times to a small child, they start to conjure up some pretty crazy theories about the text.  Well, thanks in large part to a recent New Yorker profile of Sandra Boynton by Ian Bogost, I see that I am not alone.  I’m actually in awe of his take on But Not the Hippopotamus.  The North America vs. Africa vs. Central America theory?  Brilliant!  By the way, my most ambitious re-interpretation will preface my Fuse #8 TV episode this coming Thursday.  Be prepared for a truly wacky one.
  • Okay. That’s it. No one’s allowed to quit their blogs anymore.  I like the blogs that I like.  I may not check them every day but I like the reliability of visiting them and seeing something new.  And I get very sad indeed when the best ones fall by the wayside.  I mean, let’s say someone walked up to you and asked, “What’s the best children’s literature blog where real kids review real books . . . and it’s fun to read?”  You would answer without hesitation (if you were me, that is), “Aaron Zenz’s Bookie Woogie blog, of course!”  Well, here’s the thing.  The blog?  It’s had a nice run.  Seven years worth, in fact.  And now it’s done.  Over.  Kaputski.  And we’re all just a little bit sadder today. *sigh*
  • Me Stuff: First off, I want to bow down low and thank profusely all the folks who came out for my joint SCBWI-IL/Center for Teaching through Children’s Books welcoming party last week.  It was, without a doubt, the BEST welcome party I have ever had, bar none.  I even signed someone’s cookie (that’s a first!).  If you live in the Chicago area and missed it, never fear.  You could come on out to EPL and see me present on the topic of picture books rather soon.  Yes, the very kind and talented Brian Wilson has allowed me to join him on his annual Best Picture Books Presentation.  I’ll get to talk about some of my too little lauded favorites of 2015, which is just a joy.  Finally, Chicago Magazine interviewed me recently.  They’re using the same photo from my Chicago Tribune interview, which is confusing, but the talk is entirely different.  It was awfully fun to do too.
  • FarmerWill1In my interview I actually mention The Guinness Book of World Records a fair amount.  Rather appropriate since I recently learned that the book Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table has been selected by the Points of Light Foundation as the book to break Guinness World Record for the number of children being read to in a 24-hour period. Part of the Foundation’s “Read Across the Globe” initiative to raise awareness on the global literacy crisis, volunteers all over the world will read the book next Monday, October 19. Here’s a news article and a tv news report that say more about it.  Thanks to Philip Lee for the links.
  • Did you see?  They’re releasing Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman.  Wouldn’t be particularly notable aside from the fact that it’s always nice to see diverse books back in print . . . except something’s a bit different from the last time it was printed.  Did you notice what it was?  Debbie Reese most certainly did.
  • In case you missed it (like me) there was a new brouhaha last week.  This time it involved author Meg Rosoff.  There’s a recap over at Reading While White which breaks it down.  Aren’t recaps great?  There should be more of them out there these days.
  • Each year I try to write a review of at least one self-published book.  It can be a tricky affair since so many of them make common missteps.  That’s why I really appreciated the ShelfTalker piece When a Self-Published Book Is Done Right.  There really are some great ones out there.  Finding them is often the struggle, but when they work, they work.
  • By the way, I just want to give a shout out to The Curious Reader Store over in Glen Rock, NJ.  My buddy Tucker Stone was recently there and he mentioned that they had a particular love for Wild Things there.  Thanks, guys (but particularly Sally)! We do appreciate it.
  • Daily Image:

The title of this piece is 15+ Book-Inspired Pieces Of Jewelry For Bookworms, which you’ll see is a bit of a stretch. Still and all, I do like these Labyrinth earrings:


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. Wait — that’s ME! Thank you, Betsy – you’re a huge inspiration to me (honestly, it feels like the president just gave me a shout out during the State of the Union). And yes, we looooove Wild Things.

  2. I am a huge Betsy Bird fan and an enormous Sally at The Curious Reader fan. Imagine my joy at seeing you both in the same place! Yay to book loving people loving each other!