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Two sisters, one in L.A. and one in NYC, both move to the Chicago area and start a podcast. The premise? Picture books and are they really that great? Join Kate and Fuse 8 (Betsy Bird) as they track down a picture book "classic" each episode and try to determine if it deserves to remain in the canon of children's literature.

Profile image by Andrea Tsurumi

Fuse 8 n' Kate Betsy Bird and Kate Ramsey

    • Kinder und Familie

Two sisters, one in L.A. and one in NYC, both move to the Chicago area and start a podcast. The premise? Picture books and are they really that great? Join Kate and Fuse 8 (Betsy Bird) as they track down a picture book "classic" each episode and try to determine if it deserves to remain in the canon of children's literature.

Profile image by Andrea Tsurumi

    Episode 157 - The Stranger

    Episode 157 - The Stranger

    Spooky season continues here on the podcast. Interestingly Betsy had never done a Chris Van Allsburg book with Kate for October before. Every year she has to come up with spooky classic picture books, and today's was a recommendation from one of the fans (that would be their mom). It's less spooky than it is autumnal, but that's okay.

    Show Notes:

    The 12-foot-tall skeleton that Home Depot was selling is not something Kate made up. May we all be worthy enough to own it someday. See it here: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/what-marketers-can-learn-from-home-depots-12-foot-skeleton/

    If you would like to read Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott acceptance speech for Jumanji you can do so here: https://www.hmhbooks.com/chrisvanallsburg/speeches-and-interviews.html

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/10/19/fuse-8-n-kate-the-stranger-by-chris-van-allsburg/(opens in a new tab)

    • 30 Min.
    Episode 156 - The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

    Episode 156 - The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree

    Not long ago Betsy ran across an article in the Deseret News that was called "How a breakup led to winning a Newbery Honor for this Utah author". It's all about Newbery Honor winning writer Christian McKay Heidicker (who created Scary Stories for Young Foxes and this year's Thieves of Weirdwood by "William Shivering"). In the course of the article it mentions that Mr. Heidicker has been and continues to be a huge fan of The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain. And, naturally, since Betsy always tries to find spooky classics for Kate during the month of October, this sounded like a perfect opportunity to invite Christian to the podcast. If you'd like to hear the true origin story of Scary Stories for Young Foxes, this podcast is a must-listen. As for Kate, she has her own take on things. "She's letting her kids go out in the middle of the night . . . to die?!?"

    Show Notes:

    Here are Kate's freaky deaky ghosts, visible on my Instagram page. They are quite . . . the thing: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGOF3JCn71Q/

    Be sure to also check out the Berenstain Bears parallel universe theory. Would we make this stuff up? https://www.vice.com/en/article/mvx7v8/the-berensteain-bears-conspiracy-theory-that-has-convinced-the-internet-there-are-parallel-universes

    Even Kate had to admit that this was better than The Berenstain Bears and the Bully. Listen to the episode on that book here: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2017/09/04/new-fuse-8-n-kate-episode-the-berenstain-bears-and-the-bully-by-stan-and-jan-berenstain/

    You absolutely must check out the cassette recording for this book, available to listen to anytime. The theremin alone is worth the price of admission: https://retroreincarnations.bandcamp.com/album/the-spooky-old-tree

    You can find the Berenstain Bears podcast Deep In Bear Country here: https://berenstainbearcast.org/

    Kate's suggestion was VERY funny. I enjoyed it heartily. I agree with her that I wouldn't necessarily show it to younger kids but the older ones would find it a stitch. This is Gavin discovering that Star Wars takes places long long ago in a galaxy far far away: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAFOqgMB2tY

    For the complete Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/10/12/fuse-8-n-kate-special-guest-christian-mckay-heidicker-and-the-spooky-old-tree-by-the-berenstains/

    • 31 Min.
    Episode 155 - The Island of the Skog

    Episode 155 - The Island of the Skog

    The spooky season begins with our first October surprise! Kate points out that this book is definitely relatable in 2020. "I'm tired of living in a hole." Aren't we all? Who wouldn't want to escape to a tropical isle? This is the book that also contains the world's saddest sentence: "I decided it was better to be alone than to be afraid." Oh, honey. Kate and Betsy talk about everything from how a mouse could milk a goat to the surprising cameo of Slimer from The Ghostbusters.

    Show Notes:

    Kate and Betsy have done only one other Steven Kellogg book before. If you're interested, check out the episode of The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash here: https://soundcloud.com/user-745466600/episode-73-the-day-jimmys-boa-ate-the-wash

    Curious about the adult novel adapted from Goodnight Moon? It's out Feb 23rd and called The Upstairs House by Julia Fine: https://www.harpercollins.com/products/the-upstairs-house-julia-fine

    For the full Show Notes please visit us at: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/10/04/fuse-8-n-kate-the-island-of-the-skog-by-steven-kellogg/

    • 30 Min.
    Episode 154 - It Could Always Be Worse

    Episode 154 - It Could Always Be Worse

    Good Yuntif! The show has never celebrated this holiday on the show before, but this week Kate and Betsy decided to do something extra special. That something special comes in the form of special guest star, Erica Perl! And when it came to suggesting a book, the answer was this 1977 Caldecott Honor winner a.k.a. The Official Picture Book of 2020 (we hope).

    Show Notes:

    Alas, TeachingBooks.net didn't have a pronunciation of Margot Zemach's name, but you can find a nice display of some of her book covers there: https://www.teachingbooks.net/tb.cgi?aid=9166

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/09/28/fuse-8-n-kate-it-could-always-be-worse-by-margot-zemach-with-special-guest-erica-s-perl/

    • 33 Min.
    Episode 153 - The Best Nest

    Episode 153 - The Best Nest

    Another book by the man who spit in the face of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (not literally, pretty close). Our love of P.D. Eastman continues. Kate delves real real deep into the marital status of dear Mr. and Mrs. Bird here (including Mr. Bird's "extracurricular activities", if you get my gist). The women discuss how this is like a "very small version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds" (their reign of terror is swift and tiny). They wonder about color layering, and finally they get to sing the "Toldja So" song.

    Show Notes:

    Is there a podcast called Cake Talk? No, but there is a podcast called Let's Talk Cake. As far as I'm concerned, that's close enough. Listen to it here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-talk-cake/id1499854971

    When standing before HUAC, and told to name names, P.D. Eastman objected and proceeded to say, "The second reason why I decline to answer is that I consider you are bringing me here under subpoena to an unreasonable search and attempt to seize the contents of my mind. I also have an objection to make on the fact that, in a sense, the atmosphere here is one of a trial, and that you have accepted the testimony of witnesses without permitting me to bring witnesses of my own." You can learn more in Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America by Karl F. Cohen. Read more of Eastman online here: https://areyoumymotherbook.weebly.com/biographical-information.html

    Full credit to the blog Pretty Blue Glow for doing Kate-worthy levels of research on the town where The Best Nest is set . . . Waldoboro, MA: http://www.tdgutierrez.com/2016/01/09/the-best-nest/

    For the full Show Notes, please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/09/21/fuse-8-n-kate-the-best-nest-by-p-d-eastman/

    • 31 Min.
    Episode 152 - My Brother Charlie

    Episode 152 - My Brother Charlie

    Betsy and Kate can say with complete confidence that this is the first picture book about a Black kid on the autism spectrum either have ever seen. Recently Kate saw a list from Black Education Matters listing several books that featured Black children with disabilities and she asked Betsy if any were possible for the podcast. And lo and behold, My Brother Charlie is ten years old this year. That's ten years younger than we usually permit for a podcast, but when the topic is as important as this, we make exceptions to the rules.

    Show Notes:

    If you have a chance, please consider reading the AERA (American Educational Research Association) April-June 2017 edition article Understanding the Puzzle Behind the Pictures: A Content Analysis of Children’s Picture Books About Autism. The article is a good encapsulation of some of the issues with this particular book: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2332858417701682

    Now as Betsy mentioned on the show, she thought it might be a good idea to include a video of the authors talking about this book. What she did not expect to encounter in literally the first second was a quote from a man who makes it INFINITELY clear that 2010 was not 10 years ago. It was 10 million years ago. See what we mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3sBYYGQcnw

    If you would like to read the full text of Stephanie Lucianovic's Zoom of the Flies tweets, you can find them here, including the coda: https://twitter.com/grubreport/status/1303795901194854400

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/09/14/fuse-8-n-kate-my-brother-charlie-by-holly-robinson-ryan-elizabeth-peete-ill-shane-w-evans/

    • 31 Min.

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