October 8, 2015

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Elizabeth Bird

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird ( is a children’s librarian at the New York Public Library and blogs at “A Fuse #8 Production” on SLJ ’s website. Her last feature for the magazine, “Betsy Goes to Bologna” ( July 2011), offered a bird’s-eye view of the world’s largest kids’ book fair.

Walking and Talking With . . . Tim Federle!

Steve Sheinkin returns once more to write up and illustrate his “Walking and Talking” series.  As with other posts in the series, Steve will have a conversation with an author or illustrator and then pluck out and bring to life the parts that really define something about the process.  Part of the reason I love […]

Review of the Day: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Hired Girl By Laura Amy Schlitz Candlewick Press $17.99 ISBN: 978-0763678180 Ages 12 and up Bildungsroman. Definition: “A novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.” A certain strain of English major quivers at the very term. Get enough Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man shoved down your gullet and […]

Body Parts Blog Tour: Mara Wicks and Her Human Body Theater

Oh, I’m so very pleased today. It’s not every day when you get to be part of a blog tour AND feature a distinctive portion of the human anatomy. Thanks to Mara Wicks, now you can have both. As you may know, a certain graphic novel by the name of HUMAN BODY THEATER is sweeping […]

When Getty Images Attack

I was walking the stacks yesterday, minding my own business, when this book catches my eye: I stare at it for a moment. It looks remarkably familiar for some reason, though I know I’ve never seen it before.  Then it hits me: Barbara O’Connor fan that I am, I remember really adoring this cover when […]

Cult Picture Book Favorites

Not to be confused with picture books about cults.  *shudder*  There’s a genre we needn’t plumb. No, today I’m talking about those picture books that are released, do moderately well, or maybe not well at all, fall out-of-print, and then long after their demise accrue a kind of cult following.  The fans swell, demand that […]

Who Was Beatrix Potter? by Ellen Handler Spitz

Today I am pleased to introduce to you Ms. Ellen Handler Spitz.  Author of Inside Picture Books (Yale University Press, 1999), Ms. Spitz currently holds the Honors College Professorship of Visual Arts at University of Maryland.  She is, as you can see, a smart cookie.  She is also a Beatrix Potter fan.  Indeed, amongst her […]

Fusenews: Saving the Second Penny

The problem with this Fusenews feature is that if I don’t do them regularly then the news out there builds up, builds up, builds up, until there’s so much of it out there that I’m almost embarrassed to do anything with it.  Such is the case today!  And, as per usual, I’ll say that I’m […]

Video Sunday: Hits ’em With His Head Edition

So, fun fact. I read a serious 2017 Newbery contender a couple months ago and it looks like they may release it in the nearish future (February 2nd). I’m calling 2016 as The Year of the Fox, by the way, since both Sara Pennypacker and Kathi Appelt have fox related middle grades on the horizon. […]

Review of the Day: Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin

Robo-Sauce By Adam Rubin Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri Dial (an imprint of Penguin Books) $18.99 ISBN: 978-0525428879 Ages 4-6 On shelves October 20th. When I whip out the old we’re-living-in-a-golden-age-of-picture-book-creation argument with colleagues and friends, they humor what I’m sure they consider to be my hyperbole. Suuuuuure we are, Betsy. Not prone to exaggeration or […]

Picture Book Pairings I’d Like to See

The greatest advantage to being a children’s book editor, as I see it, is the power to occasionally pair your favorite authors with your favorite illustrators on a picture project near and dear to your heart.  We know on a logical level that it is rare when an editor manages to attain the precise perfect […]

Newbery / Caldecott 2016: Fall Prediction Edition

Around this time of year people start discussing what kind of a publishing year it has become.  Is this a strong year for picture books?  A weak year for nonfiction?  An unusually peculiar year for fiction?  It’s all based on personal assessments, containing little to no empirical evidence one way or another, culminating, in the […]

Fuse 8 TV: Rita Williams-Garcia

“Who can turn the stove on with her smile? / Who can take a bubble bath and suddenly fill it with crocodiles?”* If you answered: Rita Williams-Garcia then you are more than correct!  The illustrious, charming, all around nice woman stopped by the Harper Collins offices to do a little talky talk with me the […]

Maris Wicks Cover Reveal: Coral Reefs

The other day I wrote the following on Facebook about my four-year-old: “We’re reading my daughter a graphic novel for 9-12 year olds every night (her insistence) called Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks. Basically it goes through all the different parts and functions of the body. Well, tonight she was once again swallowing her […]

App Review: The Other Side by Mental Canvas

Foof!  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so forgive me while I stretch the old app-reviewing little gray cells for a second. There was a time, best beloved, when I thought this little blog would do it all. V-blogging.  Podcasting.  And, yes, app reviewing.  But reviewing apps is an arduous process […]

Walking and Talking with . . . Deborah Wiles!

I’m happy to say that Steve Sheinkin’s “Walking and Talking” series is back in full swing. For those of you unaware of the Sibert winner’s predilection for drawing his conversations with his fellow literary luminaries, this is a bit of a treat. And for me, to see David Levithan fully drawn . . . well […]

Football Season Arrives: A Quick Look at “Don’t Throw It to Mo!”

I’m two-timing you, SLJ.  Yes, the ugly truth had to come out sometime.  I admit all.  You see, I’ve been blogging elsewhere. Crazy but true?  It is, but this is a kind of blogging I’ve never really done before.  Because while my specialty is children’s literature, my new job here in Evanston, IL requires that […]

Review of the Day: The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch by Chris Barton

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch By Chris Barton Illustrated by Don Tate Eerdmans Books for Young Readers $17.00 ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0 Ages 4-8 On shelves now “It’s the story of a guy who in ten years went from teenage field slave to U.S. Congressman.” Come again? That’s the pitch author Chris Barton pulled out […]

Book Trailer Premiere: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants

In this day and age it is prudent of the self-sufficient blogger to warn readers when they may encounter something that will affect the rest of their day, nay, week. And so I say unto you, BEWARE! Be Wary! For in today’s book trailer premiere video for Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants (words […]

Video Sunday: Kinda makes you wanna watch more ballets, don’t it?

Boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  So MUCH very very good stuff to show you today.  Honestly, I don’t even know where to start.  Hrm. Howzabout we begin with one of my favorite tropes: things that parody other things that you’ve never seen. It was Dana Sheridan who directed my attention to this video […]

Bring Out Your Dead (Reviews!): Today’s Feature – Wings by William Loizeaux

Leaving one library system to enter another can give one a sense of déjà vu.  At least when it comes to weeding the books. Back when the Donnell Central Children’s Room across the street from the MOMA had to weed down its books to fit in the new location on 42nd Street, we did some […]