Tag Archive for Fuse #8

Top 100 Picture Books of All Time

The spectacular Betsy Bird over at Fuse #8 needs your help. She’s conducting a poll to determine — for once and for all, so we can finally put this debate behind us and get back to the real work of running this great country — the top 100 Picture Books of All Time.

Not last week. Not last year. All. Time. Betsy is nothing if not ambitious.

So if you want to lose three days pondering the possibilities, I suggest you get over there right now. I’m already thinking . . . top of my head . . . Where the Wild Things Are, The Story About Ping, Ferdinand, Owl Moon, The Little House, Caps for Sale,  Snowy Day, Koala Lou, Knots on a Counting Rope, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, William’s Doll, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, George and Martha, Make Way for Ducklings, In the Night Kitchen, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Amazing Bone, Stevie, The Polar Express, Ira Sleeps Over, The Philharmonic Gets Dressed, Frederick, and the list goes on forever. For reasons that are not clear to me, Betsy has ruled out “Easy Readers,” or else you know that Go, Dog, Go! but be right there near the top.

R.W. Alley Gets a Shout Out

Hey, I was very glad to see that my friend R.W. Alley — the artist behind Jigsaw Jones, and recently interviewed here on these premises — was given some much-deserved attention by Elizabeth Bird at A Fuse #8 Production.

Elizabeth reviews There’s a Wolf at the Door, written by R.W.’s wife, Zoe. Which is cool, because I first learned about it when Bob (I call him Bob, and so can you!) mentioned it in our interview. Elizabeth begins her review with a startling confession:

I admit it. I tend to root for the well-dressed baddies. I always have.

For the full review, click here.

And for what it’s worth, I’m ready to post another installment in my series of entries that follows the making of a single book cover, from concept to completion. I interview art director Jennifer Rinaldi and we’ll get to see R.W. Alley’s rough sketch placed in a “sketch mechanical.” That’s coming on Sunday, probably.

The Fuse Is Lit

Hey, cool. I was mentioned this morning at one of my favorite blogs, A Fuse #8 Production.

And, well, yes. Complimenting Elizabeth Bird on her blog is like going to traffic court, ticket in hand, and praising the judge’s new hair style.

It’s hard not to seem self-serving.

In today’s rapidly changing world, we’ve seen a tidal shift in information delivery systems. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Kindle, Book Trailers, etc. For those newish readers (and that’s funny, you don’t look newish), I direct you to this brilliant three-minute short by Dennis Cass. At the same time, I recently received this offer from Kirkus Reviews: “A one-year subscription and complete access to Kirkusreviews.com for only $199!”

Yipes, no can do. Sure, I realize I’m not an institution and not their target audience. But even institutions have budgets. And I effortlessly surf the kidlitosphere to read thoughtful reviews, interviews, business news, artists’ thoughts, and classroom experiences as I click, click, click. For free. The world is changing, and the future of publishing — of books themselves — is in jeopardy. The old ways are increasingly out-of-sync with today’s world. We’ve seen it in music. We’re seeing it in the automobile industry. We’ll experience it with books.

So that’s the subtext for Fuse #8, and the influential, increasingly important Elizabeth Bird. Is she becoming one of the most powerful voices in the business? Oprah-esque? This little blogger who could? So, again, here I am in the position of asking the traffic court judge if she has been, by any chance, working out lately. I realize it might appear indecorous. But I regularly read Elizabeth’s site. I am informed by it, inspired by it. Besides her obvious devotion to children’s books, Elizabeth has really mastered the blog format, striking a balance between the pithy and the complete, between “fast” and “slow” blogging, between sharing links and offering Deep Thinks.

I always think of visiting a blog as a decision to hang out with that person. And I’m saying, Elizabeth Bird can hang.

A quick thanks to Shannon Penney at Scholastic who first steered me to Fuse #8.

Now Judge, about this ticket . . .

ADDENDUM: Back to the business of publishing, we all know about Black Wednesday. Yesterday I came across a related item on Gawker.com, sent to me by a writer friend who also publishes with Macmillan. The piece included the text of a recent memo from John Sargent at Macmillan to all employees. Here’s the first paragraph in what represents, relatively speaking, Good News (read: he didn’t fire anybody):

“Since I spoke to you a month ago about the economic crisis and its impact on our company, I can’t say much has changed. We are now clearly in a recession and there is still no clarity on how long or deep it will be. What is clear is that retail book sales are down, advertising revenues are down, and even countercyclical businesses like education are struggling in many cases. We are not immune to these forces, and our business continues to be soft. So the time has come to take action for next year.”

Picture Book Slide Show: NY Times Best of 2008

I don’t get to see as many new picture books as I once did — I no longer manage book clubs or consult for book fairs — so I thoroughly enjoyed this very cool slide show of the The 2008 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books.

Hat tip to Elizabeth Bird at Fuse #8 for the heads-up.