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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature: Gashlycrumb Bums

It’s that time again! Time to peek over the shoulders of adult authors to see how what they’re plundering from the children’s literature world for their own books. You’d be surprised how often this kind of stuff comes up. Here’s the most recent batch of books with a toe in the kidlit pool.


Bucket’s List by Gary Blackwood


Do not adjust your set. The author of this amusing murder mystery caper is indeed the same Gary Blackwood behind such fine and notable books as The Shakespeare Stealer and that charming book Curiosity from a couple years ago. This series launch follows the real-life inspiration for Charles Dickens’s Inspector Bucket of Bleak House, Charley Field. One suspect? The real life counterpart for the guy Dickens would base Bill Sykes on. And, naturally, Dickens himself makes an appearance. Kirkus and PW both found it charming.


The Wizard’s Cookbook: Magical Recipes Inspired by Harry Potter, Merlin, the Wizard of Oz, and More by Aurelia Beaupommier


Pretty self-explanatory, I’d say. I find the vague “Merlin” in the subtitle amusing.


Cinemaps: An Atlas of 35 Great Movies by Andrew Degraff and A.D. Jameson.


You may recall the creators’ previous title Plotted, which mapped various novels. This book includes maps of the world of The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, Labyrinth, and possibly Baby: Pig in the City, though that’s a bit unclear.


Origins of a Story: 202 True Inspirations Behind the World’s Greatest Literature by Jake Grogan


Books we know are included in this one include Charlotte’s Web and Where the Wild Things Are. There may well be a couple others lurking in its corners.


Stuff You Missed in History Class: Edward Gorey


And finally, this last one isn’t so much a book as it is an episode. I’ve been really enjoying the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, in spite of the fact that it has very little to do with children’s books. That all changed this week, however, when the latest topic turned out to be Edward Gorey. Years ago I was at a dinner party in New York City with folks who’d been in publishing for a long time. The conversation turned, at one point, to Gorey and the people began reminiscing about him. Apparently it was not abnormal for him to walk about in his Converse sneakers without socks. This episode sort of reinforces that story, and adds to it considerably. Extra points to them for including that old Toast piece How to Tell If You’re in an Edward Gorey Book.


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.