Fusenews: British Gods and Stout Detectives
This is neat. Editor Cheryl Klein has reprinted the outline of a create-a-character exercise, originally conceived by Joan Bauer. For those burgeoning writers amongst you, this might be a good way to get a grasp on a character that’s been tooling about in your brain without any nitty gritty essential details. A cool idea that I shall steal for my own devices.
Little, Brown editor Alvina Ling wrote a recent post about the kinds of books she likes to see/read. So of course what’s the thing I spot that sticks in my mind above all else? Her love of The Three Investigators. Couldn’t agree more! I was a rabid Three Investigators fan when I was a kid. Just as Trixie Belden was the knock-off, and superior, alternative to Nancy Drew, so too were The Three Investigators the preferable alternative to the Hardy Boys. Also like Trixie Belden, half of the charm of the Investigators came in trying to track down copies of their books. It was a series I came to late. If I’m not too much mistaken its heyday was the 1970s and I am a child of the 80s. But boy were they great! All the elements were there. The three boys consisted of one jock, one nerd, and a fat kid (a proto Nero Wolfe) who was their leader and was named Jupiter Jones. They had a secret base in a junkyard and to get around Jupiter had won some contest where he got a free chauffer for a week. Only that week seemed to stretch indefinitely as the series progressed. And then, when they’d solved their mysteries, they’d report back to Alfred Hitchcock cause… y’know. That’s what you do when you’re a kid detective. You report to Hitchcock. Someday I hope they consider reviving that old series. It’s had a couple reprints here and there, but never with covers half as mysterious and wonderfully creepy as the originals.
Note from my perch at the Reference Desk: I have just watched a seemingly well-spoken and intelligent woman take my hole punch and attempt to use it on about 11 sheets of paper at once. Her sincere and utter bafflement as to why this does not work has led me to conclude, and this is a bit cruel, that she would make for a very bad monkey. I mean, wouldn’t a monkey be able to figure out that you need to take out a couple sheets in order to make it work properly? You call me mean-spirited, and I understand that, but you weren’t the one watching her press down on her papers for a good 15 minutes. She finally resorted to punching out the holes with one of the tiny golf pencils we keep on the desk. *sigh*
I agree with Crooked House. No book concept contains quite as much horror for a person familiar at all with babies than the scary sounding Baby Island. I’d take on a smoke monster one handed before agreeing to four babies on a desert island.
So I’m trolling about The Puffin Blog, minding my own business, when I come across a post on promoting Percy Jackson in the UK. Interesting. More interesting still are the different covers Percy has received over there. This was the book jacket available for viewing on the site:
And here were the others:
Harry Potter much?
I was not able to attend YA author Daphne Grab’s magnificent book release party for her debut novel Alive and Well in Prague, New York in spite of the fact that it was just a couple blocks down the street from me. Husbands are great, but they keep having these birthdays! Fortunately Daphne has posted pictures of the event, held at Bank Street Bookstore. Mea culpa, Daphne.
Keen. Author Laurie Halse Anderson is being extra especially clever and is having a Hot Summer Twisted/Speak Book Trailer Contest. Sounds like a lot of fun to me. Of course, I read through her rules and was a little amazed to hear that there had been a Speak movie. When did that happen? Thanks to Little Willow for the link.
Heaven only knows how he found it, but Sam Riddleburger just linked to a magnificent article from Time Magazine circa Monday, December 23, 1957 called The Grinch & Co. Those of you who have read or are currently reading Leonard Marcus’ Minders of Make Believe will take particular interest in this timely little piece of historical interest, I think. Here’s one such choice tidbit: "Whatever is wrong—or right—with children’s books is mainly the responsibility of go-odd [60-odd?] editors, only a dozen of whom are men. A literary agent who has worked long in this field says that “with a few possible exceptions, all of them are slightly nuts.” Sam thought it was funny too. I also like that when it came down to a Dr. Seuss and Ogden Nash both writing Christmas books for kids, Seuss is the undisputed historical winner.
Many do not know that the Central Children’s Room of New York Public Library owns several Hans Christian Andersen papercuts. They’re nice and all but until I saw this rocking chair he made on Crooked House, I had no idea how intricate he could be.
Filed under: Fusenews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy 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.
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