Fuse #8

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Golden Fuse Awards - 2006

2006 was a wonderful year. For one thing, I started this blog and that seems to have been a very good decision. So it seems only fair that today we tip our hats in a very special way to those '06 books that caught my eye one way or another. I'm not going for the usual "best book" category with this award. Let's goof it up, people! It's time for the GOLDEN FUSE AWARDS 2006.

Best Cover of the Year

THE WINNER: The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley - Nobody can resist it. It's how a cover should really be done.

RUNNER-UP: The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer - I think Cheryl Klein gets a lot of credit for this one. It's seriously beautiful and faithful to the story as well.

Best Book With the Worst Cover

THE WINNER: Homefront by Doris Gwaltney - A really remarkable story of love and forgiveness told during WWII. The cover, however, looks as if it sports the image of a 40-year-old woman. It also loses points for the sepia.

RUNNER-UP: The Highland Fling by Kathleen Ernst - A fun story of competition and teen angst. The cover? Something the publisher obviously didn't care enough about. Compare this cover to Ernst's other book this year Heart of Stone and tell me she didn't deserve better from Cricket Books.

RUNNER-UP: Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. I don't care what anyone says. This CGI claptrap doesn't even work. Look at her hands and look at the way in which that gigantic Wee Free Man is standing on them. It doesn't make sense, it looks cheap, and the first time I saw it I thought it was a poorly made ARC cover that would be replaced by the real image later. Kvetch kvetch kvetch. Bring back Chris Gall!

Most Misleading Cover

THE WINNER: The Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon. Pretty dragon, eh? Number of dragons you meet in the book: Zippo. A nice book but just a teensy bit misleading.

RUNNER-UP: Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata. A beautiful cover, but why in the world did they put the main character in a kimono? Remember how she hides it away so that no one will find it? And I certainly don't recall her wearing it in the internment camp. Hmmm...

Most Similar Covers

Semiprecious by D. Anne Love

Defining Dulcie by Paul Acampora

Best Unappreciated Picture Book of the Year
THE WINNER: When You Were Small by Sara O'Leary
RUNNER-UP: Beach by Elisha Cooper

Best Read-Aloud/Storytime Picture Book
THE WINNER: Chickens To the Rescue by John Himmelman
RUNNER-UP: I'm Not Cute by Nicholas Allen

Best Wordless Picture Book
THE WINNER: Flotsam by David Wiesner
RUNNER-UP: Once Upon a Banana by Jennifer Armstrong, illustrated by David Small

Best Villain of the Year
THE WINNER: Stephen Rose of Clay by David Almond
RUNNER-UP: Hyacinth Hawthorne of A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

Most Excessive Use of Violence In a Children's Book
THE WINNER: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
RUNNER-UP: Crispin: At the Edge of the World by Avi

Best Pop-Up Book of the Year
THE WINNER: Mommy by Maurice Sendak and Matthew Reinhart
RUNNER-UP: Blue 2 by David Carter

Best Mystery
THE WINNER: Enola Holmes and the Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
RUNNER-UP: Kiki Strike by Kirsten Miller (it does TOO count!)

Best Stand Alone Sequel
THE WINNER: A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant
RUNNER-UP: Voices by Ursula LeGuin

Best Translated Picture Book
THE WINNER: Learning To Fly by Sebastian Meschenmoser
RUNNER-UP: Anthony and the Girls by Ole Konnecke

Best Translated Work of Fiction
THE WINNER: The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer
RUNNER-UP: Sheep and Goat by Marleen Westera
Looks like the Dutch really swept this category this year.

Best Crazy Trend
THE WINNER: Stealing/missing shadows. As found in Jackie and the Shadow Snatcher, Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, The Shadow Thieves, and Peter and the Shadow Stealers.
RUNNER-UP: Sentient cheese. As found in Wintersmith AND Here Be Monsters.

Best Fantasy Trend
THE WINNER: Meeting the ferryman on the River Styx. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, The Shadow Thieves by Anne Ursu, and Corydon and the Island of the Monsters by Tobia Druitt

Best Historical Fiction Trend
THE WINNER: Getting your arm/hand mangled by a mechanical something as found in Penny From Heaven and One-Handed Catch
RUNNER-UP: Polio - It's gonna get you if you swim in a lake. Don't believe me? Just check out Blue, The Wonder Kid, and Penny From Heaven.
RUNNER-UP: Digging a fall-out shelter as found in The Wonder Kid by George Harrar, House of the Red Fish by Graham Salisbury, The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman.

Best Coincidental Trend
THE WINNER: Bad Mothers That Name Their Children After Semiprecious Jewels Then Abandon Them. As found in I’ll Sing You One-O by Nan Gregory (Garnet & Gemma) and Semiprecious by D. Anne Love (Ruby & Opal)

The "Kids Really Want To Read About This?" Trend
THE WINNER: Ships are apparently lots of fun as found in Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle, Hero of the High Seas: John Paul Jones and the American Revolution – Michael L. Cooper (Cooper #1), House of the Red Fish by Graham Salisbury, Victory by Susan Cooper (Cooper #2), and The Floating Island by Elizabeth Haydon

Books That Mentioned That Pluto Was a Planet:
Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

For more Trends check out what Gail Gauthier also found.

Next year we'll add some of the standard Best Book/Worst Book/Most Overrated Book categories. This year, I like the kooky categories.


At 3:34 PM , Blogger Erin said...

What fun! I had a blast reading that.

At 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kooky is fun. Keep the kooky next year!

Dare I say?... me no likey the CGI-looking faces on the cover of Palace of Laughter.

At 5:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this list! Thanks for sharing. I agree to keep it next year. Fun to read! A great way to start 2007!

At 5:17 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Interesting. I didn't think they looked CGI at all. And when I had the ARC of that book sitting on my coffee table, my non-kidlit obsessed friends (you should always have some) kept reaching for it over and over. It has draw, and I think it's purdy.

At 5:40 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I love it! Great ideas! By the way, there was also shadow stealing in Here, There Be Dragons. We've got enough shadow stealing books for its own shortlist!

At 6:05 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

You may have a good point there. I was thinking more in terms of Which Book Would a Child Actually Pick Up. Highland Fling might have an edge if you look at it that way. But seriously, something somewhere should have been done with all of them.

At 6:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in Canada, I get the Doubleday published version of Wintersmith with cover art by Paul Kidby. Much more Feeglish I have to say.

At 7:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You neglect to mention that Defining Dulcie also counts in the cover-with-half-a-face tally. Lotta those around these days too.

At 8:56 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Am I completely wrong or did "Semiprecious" briefly sport "Defining Dulcie's" exact cover (albeit with a white truck) for a little while? I remember seeing something along those lines earlier in the year.

At 10:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Short parenthetical comment: I was hasty about the cover of Palace of Laughter. Sorry.)

At 11:12 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Ah, but that's the charm of all this. All opinions are more than welcome. Please, never feel obligated NOT to criticize me when you disagree with something I've said. I like hearing different points of view.

At 10:15 AM , Blogger Cheryl said...

Credit for the BOOK OF EVERYTHING cover must go entirely to our designer Elizabeth Parisi. Thanks for the recognition!

At 12:04 PM , Blogger MotherReader said...

I loved the list. Great stuff.

It was YA, so maybe not on your radar, but I think one of the most deceptive covers was Dairy Queen. It showed a photo of a cow with a tiara, and it looked like a madcap romp of a midwest beauty pageant. That was not the story nor the tone of the book. Liked the book, liked the cover, hated them together.

At 12:09 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

I've heard that from other bloggers as well. But, as you say, it was YA and not my bag, baby. Feel free to make your own YA equivalent list. Yours, I know, would be a sheer delight to read.

At 7:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gemini Summer also had a fallout shelter - with catastrophic results. I loved the book though - I think it's the first kid book to include Gus Grissom in the plot.

I'm still a fan of Looking Glass Wars but yeah, it is one violent book. But here's the thing I wonder about that - the violence in this book is clearly fantasy, clearly not real. (I mean it's about Alice in Wonderland, so readers know they are dealing with fantasy.) How does violence in a reality based book, say something like Sold or Rules of Survival stand up against it? (And I'm just pulling those out of my head - what I want to reference are books that have characters in realistic abusive situations and these might not be the best examples but are all I can think of.)In other words, is the violence more intense when it is "real world"?

Honestly, I'm still freaked out by Deogratias and it was way less obvious than Looking Glass Wars. But it was about Rwanda - it really happened, and so it was not easy to ignore.

Colleen aka Chasing Ray

At 9:05 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

I had a good conversation with someone on this very subject just the other day. The person I spoke with thought that "Kiki Strike" was an especially violent book. I disagreed, with an argument not too dissimilar from your own regarding "Looking Glass Wars". Now, I'll be the first to admit that I seriously disliked Beddor's book. Seriously. And for many delightful reasons that including, but were not limited to, the bloodshed. The violence was, as you say, fantastical, but somehow that made it worse. It was video game violence, which was appropriate when you consider that the book itself was basically one long justification for the future action movies/graphic novels/video games that Mr. Beddor has, I am sure, already considered/made.

I don't think that video game violence makes kids violent, of course. And your point that "Sold" and "Rules of Survival" were more intense because they were more real has merit (though Werlin's book was more psychological than anything else). But those are clearly YA books. Beddor's novel, in contrast, has been sold in bookstores with the hope of making kids just as big an audience as teens. And since my blog is kid-based and not YA-based, it's one of the top two most violent children's books, to my mind.

Hot topic! Hot hot hot topic!

At 11:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks. I see you've picked When You Were Small as best Unappreciated Picture Book for 2006. Hmm. I might have been happier with under-appreciated and I'd hate to think the book was entirely unappreciated, but still, I'm happy we made your list.
All the best for 2007

At 5:04 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Ooooh. Good point. For next year we're changing that to Under-Appreciated. I didn't mean to imply that I didn't appreciate it, as I feel it was an overlooked gem. Perhaps we'll rename them the Best Overlooked Books of the year.

At 4:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Chris Gall's covers are nice I prefer the original covers - with all their unpolished edges and zaniest to them.

Sure you can actually read in public with Chris Gall's cover art, or the plain black ones, but the original cover art let you know what you were in for before you even opened the book.


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