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Episode 56 - The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night

This week Betsy and Kate have pretty much found the bloodiest Caldecott Honor winner out there (though you're allowed to try to find one bloodier if you'd like to prove them wrong). Technically blood never mars the pages, but you can pretty much assume what's happening off-screen, as it were. And it's a fantastic introduction to the autumn season! Win-win! In the course of things, Kate and Betsy debate the degree to which Mr. and Mrs. Fox are starving their children, what precisely is going...


Episode 55 - Make Way for Ducklings

Didn't Kate and Betsy just do a Robert McCloskey book? They did, but it was not his most famous work. In spite of the fact that Betsy springs the tale of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard on her poor unsuspecting sister the two somehow manage to say a LOT about it! Vicious egg-eating turtles and all. Show Notes: - Just in case you're curious, the Twitter handle for this show is @fuse_kate and on Instagram at fuse8kate. - You can visit sculptor Nancy Schon's website on the ducklings here:...


Episode 54 - Blueberries for Sal

Fiiiiiiiiiish . . . An aquatic creature that has absolutely NOTHING to do with this week's book! So first and foremost, we are happy to announce that we now have our very own Twitter and Instagram accounts for this podcast. Woot! So tune in on Twitter @fuse_kate or on Instagram at fuse8kate. As for the podcast itself, Kate was semi-familiar with this book already. But did she remember anything about it at all? No, sir! As it turns out, we were able to really dive into some of the details....


Episode 53 - Caps for Sale

I think this is the clearest case of Betsy pulling out a book for Kate that is well-known amongst children's librarians and is pretty obscure when you talk to your average layperson on the street. If for no other reason, you should listen to this episode of our podcast to hear Kate's exclamation of pure confusion and tiny squeaks of bafflement when Betsy mentions how well it did on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll (it was #14). So sit back and enjoy as the sisters discuss the logistics of how...


Episode 52 - Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Thanks to a listener suggestion, Kate and Betsy finally crack open the Henkes box. And when you're talking Henkes, there's only one place to start. Now I should warn you right from the start that Betsy makes an egregious error in this podcast. That's right. She makes the claim that Julius, Baby of the World was published AFTER Purple Plastic Purse. On the flipside, this podcast may be the first time anyone has ever noted the presence of Ignatz Mouse from Krazy Kat in this book. And as Kate...


Episode 51 - Amelia Bedelia

How do you follow up The Giving Tree? Well, that's a tricky one. We don't know why Amelia Bedelia occurred to Betsy. She's so ubiquitous that no one ever really questions her presence on classic book lists. Still, the more we thought about her, the more we wondered if she really warrants inclusion in the "canon" of children's literature (howsoever you define that). Show Notes: - Here is her fantastic statue, located at the Harvin Clarendon County Library in Manning, South Carolina. This was...


Episode 50 - The Giving Tree

It's very special episode day today! Kate and Betsy are celebrating their 50th episode (where does the time go?). It seemed fitting that they mark the occasion with an important book. There are so many titles that they still haven't done that could yield wonderful conversations. As such, it seems fitting that they finally do the most requested book of their podcast. In the course of things they also manage to come up with a connection between this and Harold and the Purple Crayon, discuss...


Episode 49 - The Gruffalo

If we are to assume that the point of this podcast is to shine a light on "classic" picture books and ascertain whether or not they deserve that designation, it's a short walk to doing the same for books from other countries. What better then than to consider a picture book that is MASSIVELY successful in England, and only mildly recognized in the States? As a reminder, it was listener Rebekah Harris-Hughes who should receive full credit for suggesting today's book. So thank you, Rebekah!...


Episode 46 - Frog and Toad Are Friends

The name of the game here is A Break From Brats. Betsy wanted to get Kate out of the realm of bratty children's book protagonists, so she thought the world's greatest friendship pair was the way to go. But before we get to that, the sisters do a rundown of the best and worst picture books they've ever looked at. As for the rest of the show, Kate writes down morals for every story in this book, and her interpretations aren't entirely canon. For Betsy's part, she gets to wax loquacious on her...


Episode 45 - Kay Thompson's Eloise

It's very special episode time! Very special for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that Kate took five hours to edit this episode down from two and a half hours to a svelte, sleek 47:41. It was also special because it features two guests from fellow podcast Go Your Own YA. So a big time thank you to Carey and Marie for taking time out of their schedules. Finally, it was special because Kate and Betsy finally got to tackle one of the big books they've been skirting around...


Episode 44 - Miss Nelson is Missing!

I don't think Kate and Betsy expected to get into an in-depth conversation about Miss Nelson's cosplay as Viola Swamp, and why precisely she chooses to do so, but that's the kind of podcast this is. Along the way the sisters get into what the Wicked Witch of the West might have been wearing under that dress, the fact that butterflies were angry about the gas crisis in the 70s, and whether or not Viola Swamp talks like Katharine Hepburn (special bonus: Kate and Betsy may do the worst...


Episode 43 - The Stinky Cheese Man

Betsy and Kate would like to offer a word of warning to their mother with this one. Somehow, this ended up being their longest episode. If she listens to this on the treadmill, she might do herself a serious injury. It's a whopping 48:17 (and that's edited down!). I guess it's not surprising when you do a book as long as SCM. And boy howdy do they come up with all kinds of stuff to discuss here. A smattering includes . . . Source Notes: - Here's the Children's Book-a-Day Almanac link from...


Episode 42 - King Bidgood's in the Bathtub

When it comes to selecting books for the podcast, the sisters tend towards those books that have lots of details. And this one, as Kate was quick to learn, could go head-to-head with Where's Waldo in terms of hidden details. Alas, no clowns this week but they make up for it in other ways. Along the way they manage to identify The Ghost of Christmas Present, Chekov's plug, and the degree to which this book is like the movie Splash. Source Books: - Yeah, they never got to Kate's old blog, but...


Episode 41 - The Runaway Bunny

What does making sushi and reading Margaret Wise Brown's second most popular picture book have in common? Betsy and Kate are doing both in one night! They're trying to do a couple more ladies than they've done in the past. This week they talk about whether or not this book has Fellini aspects to it, Bunny Protective Services (the BPS), and a furthering of Kate's ghost grandma theory (which Betsy kind of loves but don't tell her). Extra Bonus: You get to hear Betsy's cute little bunny voice,...


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. check...


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 Drawings?...


Episode 35 - Go, Dog. Go!

Our latest podcast marks a first. Yes what we have here is the first time that Betsy has ever discovered that she's been mispronouncing the title of a popular children's book for years and years and years. You might ask yourself, "How the heck do you mispronounce P.D. Eastman's most classic book?" It's all in the punctuation. In fact, we doubt anyone has ever picked apart the punctuation of this book as intensely as Kate and Betsy do on this episode. As it turns out, the female hat-wearing...