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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fusenews: Eat Your Heart Out, “Awful Library Books”

LogoAs a librarian I know that reading aloud to children is necessary for their growth and development. And I know that periodically new parents that happen to be writers in other fields will come to children’s books through their offspring and suddenly be overwhelmed with the importance of reading. In cases such as these they will typically write articles that range from “Am I the only one out there that hates Maisy the mouse?” to “Golly! Books are good!”  Then they’ll say something about Dr. Seuss. Case closed. So I am not overly impressed when I see yet another article from a parent/writer on the topic. That said, Reading to Children to Save Ourselves by Daegan Miller is one of the finest pieces I’ve seen in a very long while on the topic. Along the way he makes a might strong case for the book The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I am now desperate to get my hands on this title. Well played, Miller. Expect the book to hit American shores via The House of Anansi Press in October, by the way.


My child does not care for competition. Not even slightly. When I present to her any kind of a writing or art contest she is immediately put off. You may know kids that are quite the opposite, however, and I have to admit that the Roald Dahl Imaginormous Challenge that is being offered to kid writers right now does sound appealing. Know a child that like to conjure up wild tales? This may be for them.


MoreBirdhouse1I spend an inordinate amount of time watching blogs with content similar to my own with a mixture of longing and envy. They’re just so friggin’ talented! Case in point, the ShelfTalker blog at PW. Man, I remember when Alison Morris used to write it, back in the day, and just fill it with these CRAZY long posts. Remember the one she did about making birdhouses out of F&Gs? Still stands up. Most recently, Elizabeth Bluemle wrote a couple articles that I’ve loved. First up, a post on Redesigned Book Jackets that shows me a Half Magic (by Edward Eager) cover I’d been blissfully unaware of until now. GAH! Another post was Greetings, Literally which discusses children’s illustrators that make greeting cards. What a two way street that is! I know of a couple illustrators that started with greeting cards and then made books later (Sandra Boynton, Jan Thomas, etc.) so the idea of starting with the books and then going back to the cards is fascinating. Extra Points to Elizabeth for giving mad props to Monica Furlong’s books. *chants* New covers, new covers, new covers, new covers!!!


Me Stuff: Back in my beloved hometown of Kalamazoo, Zinta Aistars of WMUK interviewed me about good old FUNNY GIRL. Thanks, Zinta!


The Frances books by Russell and Lillian Hoban get star class treatment in this article by Marjorie Ingall in Tablet Magazine called Art and Words for Frances. Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library just finished their run of a Hoban show, but Marjorie will tell you everything you need to know about what went on and what went into the books.


Daily Image:

I like this “Instagram” thing I joined, but it does have a way of just sucking all the good pictures out of my phone and onto that site and that site alone. Here is a selection of what I’ve posted recently:


“Current mood. Hat tip illustrator, and personal favorite, Walter Tripp.”


“My sister stole my Pocket Rocker! Send for the police!”

“Just came across this book which J.R.R. Tolkien wrote to comfort his son when he lost his toy dog at the beach. It’s about a toy dog that goes on adventures and Tolkien illustrated it as well. This, combined with my knowledge of the Santa Claus letters he’d make meticulously for his kids each year, leads me to the conclusion that he was a pretty awesome dad.”


“Oh, Scotland. Just because you CAN do a think doesn’t mean you SHOULD do a thing. And yes. That is indeed haggis on the cover. Can you tell that today is weeding day?”


I didn’t comment on this next two, if only because I felt they stood on their own.



“Pretty sure that wasn’t a recommendation. #weedingday”


“Okay, see, at this point they just weren’t trying anymore. #weedingday”


“Undoubtedly a coincidence, but there are few discoveries sweeter to me than finding children’s librarians in books that share my name. A hat tip to the lovely Mr. Wolf’s Class by Aron Nels Steinke.”

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. Genevieve says

    Agh, that new Half Magic cover is dreadful!
    The original Bodecker one is perfect.

  2. Wow, the story on cover changes is fascinating! (And holy crap, the Twilight Tamora linked to in the comments!!! KILL ME NOW.)

    Thanks for the nice shout-out for the Hoban piece.

  3. The Lost Words is entirely worthy of your desire, Betsy. I sent one as a Christmas present based on a few pictures of the pages online, actually saw the book and ordered three more. They are hard to get– it’s a UK publisher and I don’t think the print run was big. I think they are releasing it in the US in the fall, but I don’t know if the US edition will be the same high quality. I’d urge you to waste no time if you want a copy of the original.

  4. Thanks for bringing The Lost Words and that marvelous article by Daegan to our attention. Curious about what others might have to say about this book, I checked Amazon reviews. Thirty four were evaluated as 5 star. One review received a 2 star rating. The complaint was in regard to the book’s SIZE!!!

    I ordered the book and am curious why you mentioned having to wait until fall to get this book in your hands.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Ah. That’s easy to answer. I’m a spoiled little soul that tends to get her books sent prepub. This isn’t one of my regular publishers and so I must wait for my library’s copy to come in. That’s all.

      • Thanks, Betsy. I just wanted to be sure you knew it is possible to have the book now and did a poor job of expressing myself.

      • Elizabeth Bird says

        No worries! It’s always a good idea to make sure I know such things. I flit about a lot and have the attention span of a hummingbird, so I appreciate it.