125 episodes

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.

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Fuse 8 n' Kate Betsy Bird and Kate Ramsey

    • Kids & Family

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 124 - The Day the Babies Crawled Away

    Episode 124 - The Day the Babies Crawled Away

    Generally speaking Kate and Betsy prefer dead people. Dead authors. Dead illustrators. But boy howdy do they like it when they have them come on as guests, so put a hash mark in the "Live" column. Back on October 30, 2017 Betsy made Kate read Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (listen to it here: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2017/10/30/spooky-october-infused-fuse-8-n-kate-creepy-carrots-by-aaron-reynolds-and-peter-brown/). With this episode, Aaron comes on the show, marking this as the first time a creator of a book covered on the show has made a guest appearance. When asked what book he'd like to do, he suggested this Peggy Rathmann classic.

    Kate would like me to state, for the record, that the Penguinologist was out of town, which is why the sound is a little funky.

    Show Notes:

    Here is Aaron performing Ms. Spears at TLA. Best dang thing you'll see all day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbwZ1o2gOME

    You can find Peggy Rathmann's website here: http://www.peggyrathmann.com/. Like we say, pretty bare bones. As far as we can tell it hasn't been updated since 2004. Impressive, actually.

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/02/17/fuse-8-n-kate-the-day-the-babies-crawled-away-with-special-guest-star-aaron-reynolds/

    • 34 min
    Episode 123 - Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

    Episode 123 - Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

    With the full and present knowledge that monkeys in children's literature are problematic to the extreme, Kate and Betsy tackle a book that involves a kind of animal that is professed to be a monkey but is, in fact, an ape, much like the problematic-in-his-own-way Curious George(seen on a previous episode). When Betsy was a new mom, she used today's book endlessly with my kids. Yet it was only recently that she realized that she knew next to nothing about either Mr. Perkins or Mr. Gurney. Kate gets to do her Beatnik imitation again (you'd be amazed how often it comes up on this show) and later brings up Silent Bob.

    Show Notes:

    The site Dadwagon screetched to a halt in 2015, but if you're curious about Al Perkins, check out the comments on this post. It'll clear a lot of information for you: https://dadwagon.com/2010/06/02/the-mystery-of-al-perkins/

    As is I mentioned on the show, The Rabbit Hole in North Kansas City should be opening some time this year. Check 'em out! https://www.rabbitholekc.org

    For full show notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/02/10/fuse-8-n-kate-hand-hand-fingers-thumb

    • 28 min
    Episode 122 - A Chair for My Mother

    Episode 122 - A Chair for My Mother

    Having successfully predicted one of the Caldecott Honors in a previous episode, Kate is quick to pop Betsy's puffed up ego right from the start of this week's recording. And good thing too, since the book being discussed is none other than that Reading Rainbow classic A Chair for My Mother. Betsy talks about some of the good narrative choices made by this book, while Kate talks about some of the very strange illustration choices.

    Show Notes:

    As is mentioned at the start, Caldecott Honor winner (for Three Jovial Huntsman) Susan Jeffers passed away recently. You may read more about her life here: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/82277-obituary-susan-jeffers.html

    Read the obituary for Ms. Williams in The New York Times which reads Vera B. Williams, 88, Dies; Brought Working Class to Children's Books: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/books/vera-b-williams-who-brought-the-working-class-to-childrens-books-dies-at-88.html

    How lucky we are that Horn Book makes their Horn Book-Boston Globe Book Award speeches available for free on their site. Please read Vera B. Williams' discussion about the origins of this book here: https://www.hbook.com/?detailStory=a-chair-for-my-mother-vera-b-williams-boston-globe-horn-book-award-acceptance-speech

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/02/03/fuse-8-n-kate-a-chair-for-my-mother-by-vera-b-williams/

    • 30 min
    Episode 121 - Clifford the Big Red Dog

    Episode 121 - Clifford the Big Red Dog

    "I have a big red dog. Accept the reality in which I live."

    Betsy had been avoiding Clifford all these years. Why? Because she always remembered the book as dull. So you've gotta hand it to Kate. Thanks to her the two find far more to talk about concerning Clifford than you ever thought possible. From Emily Elizabeth's fashion sense to why you wouldn't want to camp under his jowls to the logistics of pouring hot tea on your dog's tongue, this book is rife with possibilities.

    Show Notes:

    Betsy managed to find an image of the stuffed Clifford at NYPL here: https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-clifford-the-big-red-dog-display-childrens-library-new-york-public-138133333.html

    And because we simply cannot resist, here is some Clifford fan art by sandra that you may purchase here, if you're so inclined: https://www.deviantart.com/sandara/art/Clifford-the-big-red-dog-329256590

    For the full show notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/01/27/fuse-8-n-kate-clifford-the-big-red-dog-by-norman-bridwell/

    • 27 min
    Episode 120 - Caldecott Contenders

    Episode 120 - Caldecott Contenders

    If you get your kicks out of Kate and Betsy disagreeing about books, today's episode may not be for you. Each year Betsy presents Kate with 2-3 Caldecott contenders. Which is to say, they discuss books that may or may not win the Caldecott Award (which will be handed out a week from today on Monday, January 27th at 8:00 ET here: http://ala.unikron.com/). This gives the two of them a chance to discuss the art and, to a lesser extent, the books' chances. There were actually a fair number Betsy wasn't able to get my hands on for today's recording, but happily two of her favorites WERE available!

    Show Notes:

    When discussing the idea of opening the Newbery and Caldecott Awards to artists from other countries the articles, Betsy refers to Leonard Marcus's piece in the New York Times called The Caldecott Medal Needs an International Makeover and found here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/12/books/review/make-caldecott-medal-international.html

    - She also discusses The Horn Book editorial Bordering On the Absurd by Martha Parravano here: https://www.hbook.com/?detailStory=jan-feb-20-editorial

    - You can read Betsy's official review of Going Down Home With Daddy here: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2019/06/06/review-of-the-day-going-down-home-with-daddy-by-kelly-starling-lyons-and-daniel-minter/

    You can read Betsy's Caldecott thoughts on A Stone Sat Still here: https://www.hbook.com/?detailStory=a-stone-sat-still

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/01/20/fuse-8-n-kate-2020-caldecott-contenders/

    • 30 min
    Episode 119 - Trashy Town

    Episode 119 - Trashy Town

    How old are we all that Trashy Town is 21 this year? Is it just us or does that seem like a very large number? Continuing to attempt to find storytime classics that librarians love, Betsy has Kate take a look at this readaloud classic. And, if you recall, Kate does not always take to storytime books. Many questions are raised in the course of the proceedings. Does Mr. Gilly work for the city? What is the nature of the rat's open mouth? Is Mr. Gilly picking up syringes and blood behind that doctor's office? And why the heck did they name their burg "Trashy Town"? Seems a poor choice and could affect the tourism industry. Please see to it that you enjoy the different rhythmic renditions of the chant in this book. The Monty Python one may become your favorite.

    For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2020/01/13/fuse-8-n-kate-trashy-town-by-andrea-zimmerman-david-clemsha-and-dan-yaccarino/

    • 30 min

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