Hey all, home with a cold here but had a bit I wanted to say re the Harriet Ziefert scandal. When I was walking around the ALA exhibits in San Antonio, I saw Harriet at the Blue Apple/Handprint booth, where she pointed out A Snake Is Totally Tail to me as something she was sure the Horn Book would like. While not as on-the-spot as the sharp (and fellow Lucinda Williams fan) Karen Breen of Kirkus, I knew the title, at least, was not new, and I asked Harriet if it was a reissue, but her attention had already gone on to someone else.
I do not think this is a case of knowing plagiarism--no one could be that venal and stupid. As I see it, the problem is one of the dangers of boutique publishing--Blue Apple, editorially speaking, is essentially a one-woman show, and while Harriet had clearly forgotten she knew the book, there was not the series of filters, nor sets of eyes, that the book would have been subjected to at a larger house. (Although, as KT Horning pointed out on child_lit, a similar boo-boo was made when a large publisher--Dell?--did not recognize a manuscript found in Louise Fitzhugh's papers as the published work of Charlotte Zolotow, and republished it as being by Fitzhugh.)
Deborah Stevenson of The Bulletin sent me a note about the story, signing it "Helen 'Frost King' Keller" and I believe Ziefert made much the same kind of mistake as the precocious--and impressionable Helen!