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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: May Contain Comic Seriousness

Hey there, hi there, ho there, mouseketeers!  Ain’t the weather lovely out there?  Ain’t the politics insane?  Don’t you want to forget about it for a second or two and indulge in some children’s literature news?  Well now you can! I’ve some interesting tidbits for your consumption.  Behold the following:


I don’t know about you, but I was kind of looking forward to the new Anne of Green Gables series Anne With an E.  I liked how well they captured her gawky awkward age with their casting.  I enjoyed this compare and contrast between the Canadian and American posters:

Netflix version of Anne poster. (Anne of Green Gables) (Photo: Twitter Photo - @24frameworks)

Netflix version of Anne poster. (Anne of Green Gables) (Photo: Twitter Photo – @24frameworks)

And beyond that I didn’t know much else.  I mean, it was bound to be better than that atrocious adaption on PBS recently, yes?  Oo.  No. No, not really. Sarah Larson at The New Yorker recently released a scathing review of the series that is so insightful in its commentary that I’ll be high-tailing it away from this newest adaptation as fast as my legs can carry me.  It’s a remarkable bit of writing in and of itself.  I was particularly fond of the quote from Lionel Trilling about E. M. Forster that said, “Nowadays even the literate reader is likely to be unschooled in the comic tradition and unaware of the comic seriousness . . . Our suspicion of gaiety in art perhaps signifies an inadequate seriousness in ourselves.”  Suddenly that PBS version isn’t looking so bad anymore…

Meanwhile in Boston . . .


BGHB17_FullList_tweetThe Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced!  Hooray!  Roger Sutton has often said (and here I am paraphrasing) that the BGHB Awards serve two dual purposes.  Because they cover the publishing cycle from June to May they are able to both correct for past mistakes (worthy books not winning worthy awards) and predict future greatness.  Many is the reader that will be grateful to see Some Writer by Melissa Sweet about E.B. White getting its due at last.  Ditto The Best Man by Richard Peck.  Interestingly, the rest of the books (with the exception of the already Caldecott Honored Freedom Over Me) are all 2017 publications.  A very strong list.


Do nonfiction science books fail to win literary awards (Newbery, Caldecott, etc.) because the criteria for a good children’s book of science perceives “excellence” differently than works of fiction?  Carol Hinz makes the case in her post Elements of Excellent Science Books. Every person on a major award committee should read this immediately, if not sooner.  It’s the kind of stuff we have to keep in the back of our minds at all times when considering books to honor.


Neil Gaiman wants to raise one million dollars for refugees and, if this is accomplished, will reward us with a dramatic reading of Fox in Socks.  I don’t know that it could top this one, but I appreciate the effort just the same.


pizza-man-coverI love out-of-print books.  Actually, I like them fine, but I REALLY like out-of-print books that come back to life (see: previous post on this topic THEY’RE ALIIIIIIVE!!).  Occasionally I like to ask librarians what books they’d most like to see come back to life.  Do this enough (particularly if you ask librarians who’ve done this job for more than a decade) and some similar titles start to come up.  And the one book I’ve heard over and over again is Hi, Pizza Man by Virginia Walter.  Well.  It’s back, baby.  Yep, good old Purple House Press will be bringing this book to shelves all around this great nation on August 1st.  Amazing, right?  Now let’s talk about Old MacDonald by Jessica Souhami . . .   Many thanks to Phyllis Davis for the heads up.



My world is just an itty bitty little sphere, no bigger than a fingernail of a fly.  How else to explain it when old friends end up writing for my place of work?  The eminently talented and dedicated Susanna Williams has joined School Library Journal and will be debuting a monthly column on college and career readiness.  I’ve known Susanna for years.  Went to school with her brother.  Remarkable how these things turn out, and all the more remarkable still is Susanna herself.


I was already a fan of Laura Ruby’s Shadow Cipher.  Her recent piece at Nerdy Book Club called The Chosen Ones is an insightful look at a woman on the cusp of a new book battling cancer.  Your necessary reading for the day.


Daily Image:

We starts with the Anne. We ends with the Anne.  I was weeding the Fiction section the other day and found this.  I mean . . . unless you are utterly unfamiliar with the series, I think it speaks for itself:


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. OMG!!!- Purple House Press better get ready for the deluge of Pizza orders coming their way. Thanks for sharing this wonderful and amazing news. Used book dealers will be crying as they lose a lot of $$$, but yeah for us in schools and libraries!

  2. Sharon H. says:

    picture books I’d love to see come back: Monkey Face by Frank Asch, Too Much Noise by Ann McGovern, (both are great in storytime, they just need a refreshing) and If You’re Happy and You Know it by David Carter (the pop up). Pretty please Scholastic!

  3. Genevieve says:

    That is the edition of Windy Poplars that I grew up with! Luckily, I had the first three books in paperback with a much more Anne-looking Anne on the covers, so this was not my Anne-image.

    BUT I also had the rest of the set of hardbacks that go with this Windy Poplars one, all with the same cover model:

    Anne’s House of Dreams:

    Anne of Ingleside:

    Chronicles of Avonlea:

  4. I have long subscribed to the theory that the girl on the cover of that book was the publisher’s daughter. (I actually own that edition.) Also, did you know that LM Montgomery originally titled the book “Anne of Windy Willows,” but they changed it because there was a recent book out with “Windy Willows” in the title? Such a pity!

  5. You aren’t asking but I truly hope that Andrew Henry’s Meadow comes back into print. Just saying. And I am sorry about Anne with an E. The books are mostly always better, anyway.

    • Jennifer says:

      Andrew Henry’s Meadow IS in print! It came back a few years ago. Search for isbn 9780399256080. Philomel did a reprint.

  6. Pamela Love says:

    I saw a copy of “Anne of Windy Poplars” in a bookstore years ago, with the title “Anne of Windy Willows.”

    I’m a fan of Andrew Henry’s Meadow, too. I still have my childhood edition.

  7. Andrea Vaughn Johnson says:

    I have to say, that despite (or maybe to spite) that scathing review, I really enjoyed the first episode of Anne with an E. The casting and acting are perfect, the visuals are luminous, and I think the brief flashbacks to her traumatic past make her flights of fancy more touching and meaningful. Give it a chance, if only to let us know what you think of it!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Thank you for the alternate opinion, Andrea!

      • Genevieve says:

        I really enjoyed the first episode too, but then the second episode started changing the plot too much, and ended up with people in Avonlea being just as cruel to Anne as people in her horrible past were. So before watching another, I read a review or two to see if that was going to continue, and according to what I read, it does but only more so. More and more meanness in Avonlea (not ordinary Josie Pye meanness, but widespread meanness and antipathy to Anne), and tons of plot changes that I found just awful ( they have Matthew contemplating suicide! They kill off Gilbert’s parents so that he and Anne can relate to each other in their orphan state! and more and more of that nature). So I stopped after the second episode.

        The actors were all good and I had no issue with some of the flashbacks in the first episode, but to continue to have Anne ostracized and treated badly by most people once she is settled in Avonlea is directly in opposition to the books and not something I was interested in seeing.

  8. YAY!!! so happy about “Hi, Pizza Man!”