Fusenews: Of gigs and dreck
- Comic book bloggers and children’s literature bloggers are two sides of the same coin. Our interests often run parallel. The degree to which the academic world regards us is fairly similar (though admittedly we get to have Norton Anthologies while they are sorely lacking any such distinction). I don’t read my comic book blogs as frequently as I might, but once in a while the resident husband will draw my attention to something particularly toothsome. Such a case was this series on Comic Book Resources. A fellow by the name of Greg Hatcher makes a tour of the countryside each year, finding small towns with even smaller bookshops and thrift shops. This year his has posted his finds and the children’s literature goodies are frequent. In part one he pays homage to a surprise discovery of Kieran Scott’s Geek Magnet and shows the sad state of Sacagawea-related children’s literature in gift shops today (though I sure hope the Lewis & Clark gift shop also has the wherewithal to carry Joseph Bruchac’s Sacajawea: The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark). In part two Greg discovers the oddly comic-less Janet Townsend novel The Comic Book Mystery, finds the name Franklin Dixon on a book that ISN’T a Hardy Boys novel, and waxes eloquent on the career of illustrator Kurt Wiese. In part three he locates some very rare and pristine Trixie Belden novels (which I adored as a kid). And finally, in part four he introduces us to the Danny Dunn series, shows us a hitherto unknown Three Investigators cover, and discusses Henry Reed (with illustrations by Robert McCloskey, of course). If you enjoy bookscouting in any way, these posts are a joy. Take a half an hour out of your day to go through them. Greg writes with an easy care that I envy and hope to emulate. Plus I loved the idea of giving photographs inserted into posts colored notations the way he does. I’ve already started to try it myself. Thanks to Matt (who, I see, recently credited Better Off Ted, for which I am grateful) for the links.
- I sort of view agent Nathan Bransford with the same wary respect I once bestowed upon a toucan I found in the London department store Harrods. I’m grateful that he’s there and I can’t look away, but there’s something unnerving about running across him. And now he appears to have a book coming out with Dial in 2011, which is nice except that I keep misreading the title as Jacob Wonderbra and the Cosmic Space Kapow. For the record, I would give a whole lot of money to any author willing to name their titular character (childish giggle) after a bra, a girdle, or even a good old-fashioned garter. Okay . . . why am I talking about Nathan Bransford again? Oh right. He’s created this handy dandy writing advice database for authors. Though he represents authors on both the adult and child side of things, the advice here proves useful to all sorts.
- Oo. Would someone mind spotting me a slot in Phil Nel’s Censoring Children’s Literature class? I’m good for it, I swear! Nice texts to be reading too.
- Full credit to Leila for finding this next one. HuffPo went a little insane the other day with their list of recommended reads for when you’ve finished Mockingjay. If you think that such a list of recommendations might include books like Incarceron, Graceling, etc., think again. Apparently once you’ve savored the bloody trials of Katniss then the only thing to do is to locate . . . Amelia Bedelia? Superfudge? Uh . . . guys? Y’all took your kids’ summer reading list and just transcribed it for this post, didn’t you? Geez o’ marie. Matt thinks that this was originally a different list and then an editor came in to slap the word “Mockingjay” on it for cross-promotional purposes. Best explanation I’ve heard yet. Thanks to bookshelves to doom for the link.
- By the way? Best. Thing. Ever. I now want to steal the line, “I want to punch this book in the face,” but I haven’t the guts.
- Movie news time! Should I turn movie news into its own post sometimes ala my Video Sundays? I’ve considered it, but in a given week there’s not usually all that much to display. This week is a bit different, though. First, from Cynopsis Kids comes . . . well, there’s no good way to put this. It’s bad news:
“Jim Carrey will star in Fox’s movie adaptation of the kids’ book Mr. Popper’s Penguins , per Deadline . Mark Waters (Mean Girls, The Spiderwick Chronicles) will direct the movie, with Jared Stern writing the most recent version of the script by Sean Anders and John Morris. The movie will be somewhat different from the book, with Carrey’s Mr. Popper a high-powered NYC business executive that inherits a small group of six penguins. Life changes for Popper as he becomes attached to the penguins, now living in his fancy NYC apartment, a big deal goes awry and he almost winds up in jail. In the end he discovers the importance of family. The book, written by Richard and Florence Atwater and originally published in 1938, portrays Mr. Popper as a house painter who lives with his wife and after sending a letter to Admiral Drake, who is on expedition in Antarctica, receives a penguin in the mail from the Admiral. Winding up with 12 penguins living in their home (it’s a bit of a longer story), the Poppers turn the penguins into an act, Popper’s Performing Penguins, to earn money to keep them all in the Popper home.”
Ever noticed how no one’s allowed to have a low paying job in a movie anymore? Mr. Popper’s a house painter? No no, that won’t do at all. I think we shall turn him into a high powered NYC executive. Now THAT’s the kind of guy kids can understand! And we no longer get to see Popper’s Performing Penguins? Mr. Carrey, you rob me of my dreams of seeing a penguin on a high wire. No wonder Ben Stiller quit this gig (not “jig”).
So that was the sad news. Happier to come, though. Sharp eyed reader Marjorie Ingall was perusing this AM New York piece Woody Allen’s claim that making films in New York is too expensive is wrong, say local filmmakers and saw this little mention:
“[Steven] Beer is an executive producer on the film “Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life,” in which his son Maxwell plays the title character. The film also features Mira Sorvino and is now shooting in the city. On Friday, the crew heads to the planetarium at the Museum of Natural History. ‘That’s not something you can duplicate anywhere else in the world,’ says Beer of the location. ‘The film is based on a very popular young adult novel.'”
- Finally, as amusing sentences describing filmmaking go, it’s hard to top “Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, the producers of the critically-acclaimed ‘Precious’ have chosen to make ‘Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer’ their next film.” It apparently has a cast and everything, which begs the obvious question: How long, oh lord, how long until we get a Clementine film as well? Thanks again to Marjorie for all the links! Sure makes my job easier, I tell you.
- “Random House Children’s Books Publishes Its First-Ever Exclusive E-Book Original“, screams Yahoo Finance in my face. Sort of inevitable when you put it like that. In this case the book is just some additional side content to that Nicholas Flamel series they’ve been pitching for years. Sort of got me to thinking. I wouldn’t mind seeing some studies done on how teens read ebooks vs. elementary school aged kids vs. little tots. Are there really enough teen readers who (A) like this series (B) are willing/capable of reading an ebook to justify its existence and (C) are actually going to spend money on it rather than find a way to get it for free? Or is the cost so low that it doesn’t really matter one way or another if it gets read? Guess we’ll find out in a couple of years if and when they release it in print, eh?
- One of these days I’d love to get my hands on a bit ole pile of slush. I know the dangers. The fact that most slush is just some of the most awful dreck this side of a scopitone. But there’s always that chance that maybe, just maybe, there’d be something worthwhile in the pile. Kidlit.com tackles the nature of slush in the post Slush Behind the Scenes where, amongst other things, we’re clued into the insidious threat of “slush psychosis”.
- I suppose you may have heard about the Humble, Texas brouhaha from bloggers other than myself. If not, the short story is that there was going to be a teen lit festival. YA author Ellen Hopkins then said that she was invited and then disinvited because of the content of her books. Some authors dropped out in support. Now the festival has been canceled entirely and no one’s happy. Katie Davis has interviewed Hopkins, Pete Hautman, and Todd Strasser on her podcast about the whole thing. I do wish I could have heard from the people running the festival. Did they ever make a public statement about all of this? It would be worth finding. And, of course, I liked the Roger Sutton response.
- Daily Image:
Heavens above! It exists!
Smart idea. And it’s just given me a great idea. Next time someone does a Come As Your Favorite Children’s Literary Character party (oh, it happens) I’m going to muss my hair and stumble onward as Drunk Diana. Has it ever been done before? Thanks to Kate Beaton for the image.
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.
SLJ Blog Network