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Episode 40 - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

After promising Kate that they'd do a book by a lady, Betsy had to determine the best possible choice. Her idea was to look on her old Top 100 Picture Books Poll and see who the top women on there were. #1? Margaret Wise Brown. #2 was Judith Viorst and this book. You know, you never know which books are going to provide you with a plethora of information. This book? Kate had to edit every "um" and "uh" out of the recording to winnow the yammering down to a mere 45 minutes. Still was fun,...


Episode 39 - Rumpelstiltskin

Mother's Day isn't exactly around the corner, but this episode is basically Kate and Betsy's present to their mom. She's been bugging them to do this particular book for ages. Certainly that Caldecott Honor in the corner of the cover gives it the necessary picture book classics cred. Show Notes: - Want to see one of Paul's ties? Watch Betsy interview him in . . . um . . . quite the outfit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B31N56s7lFo - For more info on Rumpelstiltskin from Paul's p.o.v....


Episode 38 - Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

"50% of this book is just depressed donkeys." In lieu of Shrek, Betsy and Kate go with what is arguably the second most famous Steig picture book out there. You know. The one chock full of sadness and woe. Along the way they tackle grammar, fetlocks, sitting on children, and donkey boulders. Lots and lots of donkey boulders. Show Notes: - For more on Betsy's hatred of knitting needles that stick straight up, be sure to check out her previous blog post The Scourge of Upside Down Knitting:...


Episode 37 - The Story of Ferdinand

Kate and Betsy celebrate their episode yet! Both had a LOT to say about this book and along the way they learn some very important lessons about themselves. Like the fact that someone with a retainer may have a very hard time saying the words "pacifist" and "pacifism". Let's all say "passive pacifism" together now three times fast! Show Notes: - We able to find the Ferdinand balloon! In Wired Magazine you can find a piece called Amazing Old Pics of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with...


Episode 36 - Harold and the Purple Crayon

This week Betsy and Kate face down their greatest threat yet: Laptop snafus. This episode marks one of the rare instances where the laptop stopped recording the show right before the end of the podcast. Ah well. This particular week the duo takes on Crockett Johnson's best known work (sorry, Carrot Seed) and comes up with everything from arboreal semantics to Ursula Nordstrom as a hard knocks dame to . . . well . . . Genesis. Show Notes: - What truly was Simon in the Land of Chalk...


Episode 33 - The Story of Little Black Sambo

Not content to examine just Curious George and The Story of Babar, Kate and Betsy round out their look at colonial children's literature with a rather more serious examination of Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo. Not content to consider a single version, while their primary focus will be the Christopher Bing edition, with the original Helen Bannerman text, extensive consideration is given to the Julius Lester / Jerry Pinkney book Sam and the Tigers, with additional thoughts on The...


Episode 32 - The Story of Babar

Our theme of problematic picture books that deal indirectly with colonialism continue with this natural companion to Curious George. Today's book is notable if only because it is the first "classic" Betsy and Kate have discussed that Betsy read as a child. Will that make her more inclined to like the book or not? You'll just have to see. Prepare for a heartfelt discussion about Blast From the Past, the Babadook, the difference between bowler and derby hats, and the ultimate lesson in...


Episode 31 - Curious George

About two weeks ago Kate and Betsy recorded a killer episode where they discussed the classic status (or lack thereof) of Curious George. Naturally, the computer ate the whole dang thing. This week they try it again. Kate’s already read the book so they're changing things up a little. Together, they get to use the phrase, “predicated on a lie”, discuss Zul’s hair, 1940s sailor twerking, and the ultimate lesson that white men get to do anything they want. Interestingly it makes for a much...


Episode 29 - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

This week Betsy pokes her head out of the metaphorical dirt and realizes that there's a great big, wonderful world out there. A world filled with movies based on picture books. Movies like the upcoming Peter Rabbit film. So to honor (slash counteract) its debut in theaters, the sisters consider the original Beatrix Potter in all its teeny tiny glory. Kate in turn, manages to find things about it that Betsy has never really considered, like the book's inherent ageism and the Beatrix...


Episode 28 - The Lonely Doll

At long last Betsy moves Kate from the standard "classic picture books" into the far stranger "cult classic picture books" territory. But don't they deserve love as well? That's the question the sisters set out to answer. Along the way Betsy discusses her most successful Halloween costume of all time, and Kate suffers through her third day on the Whole30. Show Notes: - I wasn't making that up. Famke Janssen really did have a home invasion and this book really was left behind:...


Episode 26 - The Little Engine That Could

Happy New Year! It's another edition of Fuse 8 n' Kate which, at this rate, may be soon renamed The Random Facts About Koalas Show. With today's book Betsy sought out a classic with a strong female protagonist. Kate (and some of you out there) may contest whether or not this engine is, indeed, is the real deal. Or (and here the sisters butt heads) even female at all. Source Notes: - Koalas Fighting a.k.a. The sound of the devil. Wait for it, though. You don't hear the hellspawn that is the...


Episode 24 - The Polar Express

In honor of the holiday season, the sisters tackle a Christmassy classic. Betsy creates a name drop jar, produces a weirdly Yoda/Elmo-like elf voice, and explains why her blog is called A Fuse #8 Production. Kate, meanwhile, compares this book to Hunger Games (and it makes sense)and creates a connection between The Polar Express and Love Actually (which makes no sense but still works). Show Notes: - In case you'd like to hear Liam Neeson read this book you can do so here:...


Episode 24 - Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Kate asks for a Hanukkah book this week so Betsy turns to an old reliable: Caldecott Honor books. Today's has been performed by and read to children for years. You might debate the degree to which this book is part of the cultural zeitgeist, but that shiny silver sticker on the cover means that it is certainly one of the only (THE only?) Hanukkah books to win a Caldecott anything. Christmas books win all the time. Jewish holidays? Not so much. Here then is a sickly Kate and a very well...


Episode 23 - Madeline

If you've ever found yourself thinking, "You know, I like the Fuse 8 n' Kate podcast, but would it kill them to occasionally do terrible French accents for long periods of time?" then have we got a show for you!! This week Kate's sick, but the sisters plod onward and upward. In the course of things the episode turns out to be a momentous one. We doubt you'll see where this conversation will turn. It's a shocker. Show Notes: - In case you missed it you can check out this 9-second Vine of...


Episode 22 - Corduroy

Betsy and Kate welcome in the holiday season with a bit of copious consumption. Show Notes: - This episode was brought to you by . . . Viola Davis. http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/books/ct-viola-davis-corduroy-children-s-story-20171010-story.html - I am so right. There is no comic duo like Strega Nona and Anthony. NO ONE! - I am very interested in your evidence as to whether or not Corduroy really does have agency, or if this is just in the girl's head. - The two sequels to...


Episode 21 - Strega Nona

In this episode the sisters make it clear that Strega Nona has committed a cardinal sin. Not the creation of magic (the priest and nuns seem a-okay with her on that point). No we're talking about the moment she snatches away a pregnant woman's fork. What's up with that? Amidst Italian draculas and injured space monkeys, Kate and Betsy attempt to ascertain if Strega Nona really does deserve to be considered a classic of children's literature. Show Notes: - To know more about the life of Big...


Episode 20 - Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Today Betsy and Kate decide to class up the joint. Leo Dillon was the first African-American Caldecott Award winner and it was for this book in 1976. The era of the folktale has long since passed and yet, for all that, this book endures. Why? The sisters decide to get to the bottom of the matter. Show Notes: - For the record we highly recommend the CDs of LuAnn Adams, who is a truly magnificent storyteller: http://www.luannadamsstoryteller.com/ - In case you're curious, here's the link to...


Episode 19 - Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

In lieu of a famous Thanksgiving picture book (which does not exist) Betsy and Kate decide a good way to go would be to do something food-related. And what's more foodie than food falling from the sky? This one is easy since it had a film of the same name. It's remembered . . . sorta. Due to its length it isn't really performed in storytimes, and affection for it has more to do with nostalgia than anything else. Or is it fantastic? A little gem we've all ignored? The sisters tackle the...


Episode 18 - Love You Forever

After a month of good but relatively obscure titles it's Very Special Episode Day for the Fuse 8 n' Kate podcast. Folks have requested this one since the show's inception and now, for your listening enjoyment, Kate at last meets this infamous title. Will she pull a Rainbow Fish on Betsy and defend it? Will the sisters see eye-to-eye on the matter? Will Betsy bring up the book's complicated backstory or let sleeping dogs lie? Warning: May also include the jazziest version of the Love You...


Episode 17 - Creepy Carrots

Who says horror never wins the big awards? This is perhaps the last time a scary picture book got serious Caldecottian love. It also marks the end of the October spooky books for Betsy and Kate. At least you get to hear them run through a range of Halloween sound effects. Poor ones, granted, but it's the thought that counts. Show Notes: - When the book first came out, this was the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ag0LPVYpIu4 - By the way, can YOU name a classic Thanksgiving...


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