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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature

This week has been an odd one for me. Thanks to a piece I wrote on this blog last year called The Quintessential Librarian Stereotype: Wrestling With the Legacy of Anne Carroll Moore, I inadvertently became one of the top Google hits if you typed in her name. This is why, in the last three days, you might have read me in Slate, The Washington Post, on a radio interview with the CBC (which is my personal favorite because host Carol Off was able to tie the entire discussion into the work of children’s librarians today), and there are two more coming out soon.


Well, no help for it. I think Leonard Marcus may be out of the country at the moment, else he’d be the fella everyone would want to talk to.

To distract myself from ACM, MWB, and any other acronym you might name, let’s have a round of Unexpected Jolts of Children’s Literature! You know the rules. If I run across a piece of literature or entertainment meant for adults but involving children’s books in some way, I shall mention it here. Eh voila! Consider the following:

Start With a Scribble: Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy

I suppose the first thing to establish is that this isn’t the first time this particular book has hit shelves. Though this new edition is slated to be released June 9th of this year, it had a previous life as, of all things, a Klutz title:

That doesn’t detract from how nice it is to see Quentin Blake, whatever form he takes.

Harry Potter Knitting Magic: The Official Harry Potter Knitting Pattern Book by Tanis Gray and Laura Flippen

I actually got this book for my sister for Christmas since the likelihood that she would make good use of it was far greater than my own. I’ve no desire to have a Hedwig, but look at that scarf and lovely gloves. This is for the crafty Hogwarts lovers amongst us. I can attest that it is a large, lovely project book. For the Harry Potter lover who has everything.

Girl On Film by Cecil Castellucci

A nonfiction biography/memoir but not one aimed at Castellucci’s usual YA audience. I actually ran into Cecil at C2E2 last year and was so flummoxed to see her in Artist’s Alley that I never even said a word in her presence. I regret that now. She may have been promoting the fact that just this month Little, Brown & Co. released her original Plain Janes series in a book that contains the first two stories as well as a brand new third one. This book is a little different. Here’s the product description:

“Chronicling the life of award-winning young adult novelist, and Eisner-nominated comics scribe Cecil Castellucci (Shade the Changing Girl, Star Wars: Moving Target), Girl On Film follows a passionate aspiring artist from the youngest age through adulthood to deeply examine the arduous pursuit of filmmaking, while exploring the act of memory and how it recalls and reshapes what we think we truly know about ourselves.”

Boing Boing and NPR already like it.

Constitution Illustrated by R. Sikoryak

Ah. This may be my most interesting find. If you’ve ever seen Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics then you know the man is a master at imitating different styles. What’s crazy about this book is that it looks to me as if 21st century comics for kids have finally won enough acclaim that their styles are being imitated. This book appears to have versions of Archie Comics, Peanuts, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (if the cover here is to be believed), Raina Telgemeier, and more. Wow!

Here’s the full description:

“R. Sikoryak is the master of the pop culture pastiche. In Masterpiece Comics, he interpreted classic literature with defining twentieth-century comics. With Terms and Conditions, he made the unreadable contract that everyone signs, and no one reads, readable. He employs his magic yet again to investigate the very framework of the country with Constitution Illustrated. By visually interpreting the complete text of the supreme law of the land with more than a century of American pop culture icons, Sikoryak distills the very essence of the government legalese from the abstract to the tangible, the historical to the contemporary.

Among Sikoryak’s spot-on unions of government articles and amendments with famous comic-book characters: the Eighteenth Amendment that instituted prohibition is articulated with Homer Simpson running from Chief Wiggum; the Fourteenth Amendment that solidifies citizenship to all people born and naturalized in the United States is personified by Ms. Marvel; and, of course, the Nineteenth Amendment offering women the right to vote is a glorious depiction of Wonder Woman breaking free from her chains. American artists from George Herriman (Krazy Kat) and Charles Schulz (Peanuts) to Raina Telgemeier (Sisters) and Alison Bechdel (Dykes to Watch Out For) are homaged, with their characters reimagined in historical costumes and situations.

We the People has never been more apt.”

Out June 30th

The Miracle of the Little Prince

Let us end today not with a book, but with a documentary film. Originally released in the Netherlands in 2018, it’s just been released in DVD here in the States, which is how I heard of it. The film concerns itself with languages around the world that are disappearing, and the effort to translate The Little Prince into Tibetan, Tamazight (North Africa), Sámi (northern Finland and Scandinavia) and Nawat (El Salvador). Here is the plot description:

“The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is the most translated book in the world. It has version in over 300 different languages. Marjoleine Boonstra’s The Miracle of The Little Prince is about passionate translators of the book The Little Prince , who fight for the preservation of their endangered languages. Shot in Morocco’s desert, the Sami country of the polar north and the mountains of El Salvador it asks the why do people from so very diverse cultures precisely choose this book to keep their languages and cultures alive?”

Perfect for your translation nerd friends.

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.