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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Episode 173 - Tar Beach
If for nothing else, you should listen to Kate's story at the beginning of this episode because it will be the craziest dang thing you've heard in a while. A truly great story.
Now last week Kate challenged Betsy to do something in honor of Black History Month. So Betsy dove deep into the Coretta Scott King winners of the past and discovered a gaping hole in our roster. How we hadn't done this book already is beyond us but we think a book that takes place in the steaming hot days of a NYC summer is precisely what we need in dreary February. Bonus: Betsy finally gave Kate a story that makes sense, has color, and doesn't contain 500 words per page.
I mention a somewhat strange cat fact about the heights at which they can survive. If you're curious about it, check out the Wired article How Can a Cat Survive a High-Rise Fall? Physics! https://www.wired.com/story/how-can-a-cat-survive-a-high-rise-fall-physics/
Here you can watch Faith Ringgold reading the book in 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9RKJleFdBU
For the full Show Notes please visit: https://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2021/02/22/fuse-8-n-kate-tar-beach-by-faith-ringgold/
Episode 172 - The Marzipan Pig
If one were to attempt a Valentine's Day podcast episode (or, in this case, a day-after-Valentine's-Day-post) involving romance, what picture book would you choose? Or, to be a little more precise, what classic picture book best embodies the spirit of Valentine's Day? We're pretty sure it wouldn't be this book, but that's just because sentient candy oinkers aren't really an American thing. We've done two Russell Hoban books on this podcast already (Bread and Jam for Frances and Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas) so why not just top it off with a third? The most notable aspect of this book? We think it finally broke Kate's brain.
In the show, we promise to show you Posankka, the mix of a marzipan pig mixed with a rubber ducky. We're including it here, but even seeing it here just . . . it just . . . wow: https://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/files/2021/02/Posankka.jpg
Betsy references the very odd film adaptation they made of today’s book. As she says on the podcast, she used to show this to the small children around Valentine’s Day at the Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL. She couldn’t find the full film online, but she has at least found the beginning. This gives you a taste of its strange and wonderful start: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=EqFmxJgUfnwFuse 8 n’ Kate: The Marzipan Pig by Russell Hoban, ill. Quentin Blake
February 15, 2021 by Elizabeth Bird Leave a Comment (Edit)
If one were to attempt a Valentine’s Day podcast episode (or, in this case, a day-after-Valentine’s-Day-post) involving romance, what picture book would you choose? Or, to be a little more precise, what classic picture book best embodies the spirit of Valentine’s Day? We’re pretty sure it wouldn’t be this book, but that’s just because sentient candy oinkers aren’t really an American thing. We’ve done two Russell Hoban books on this podcast already (Bread and Jam for Frances and Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas) so why not just top it off with a third? The most notable aspect of this book? I think it finally broke Kate’s brain.
Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.
In the show, I promise to show you Posankka, the mix of a marzipan pig mixed with a rubber ducky. I’m including it here, but even seeing it here just . . . it just . . . wow.
When I think of this Pig, I think about how it wants to be eaten like the cow in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
Tell me your day isn’t at least slightly improved by this Quentin Blake image of an owl dancing in the street.
Not good enough? Try a dancing bee then!
I reference the very odd film adaptation they made of today’s book. As I say on the podcast, I used to show this to the small children around Valentine’s Day at the Jefferson Market Branch of NYPL. I couldn’t find the full film online, but I have at least found the beginning. This gives you a taste of its strange and wonderful start:
And this is the link from listener Erin of two sisters going through real estate listings. Thanks, Erin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJqycg_KcuU&list=PL9X_hxn7HlqV_UkOFFsJugCuO7BwrRHkB
For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2021/02/15/fuse-8-n-kate-the-marzipan-pig-by-russell-hoban-ill-quentin-blake/
Episode 171 - Anno's Journey
In lieu of anything romantic, what with Valentine's Day on the horizon, Betsy thought she'd treat Kate to a wordless picture book chock full of more details than she could ever shake a stick at. Mitsumasa Anno died on December 24, 2020 and Betsy realized they'd never done one of his books on the show. The sheer amount of intricate dots in this title would make Peter Sis blush. Will Kate like it? Let's just put it this way: When she comes back from reading it she says it's full of, "Duels, clowns and butts!" Everything, in fact, a person might want in a picture book. We should warn you, though. There is just SO MUCH going on in this book that we had to leave a lot out. So if you're sad that we didn't mention the love story, the toy boat on the river that keeps popping up, the Aesop fable of the dog and its reflection, the slowly filling painting of the glass of wine, etc. we know they're there. There's only so much time in the day.
- Should you ever be intrigued by the Mitsumasa Anno Art Museum, you can find information on it here: https://visitkinosaki.com/things-to-do/the-wakuden-woods-art-museum/
For the full Show Notes please visit us here: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2021/02/08/fuse-8-n-kate-annos-journey-by-mitsumasa-anno/(opens in a new tab)
Episode 170 - When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry...
Are you ready for a thoughtful consideration of some very angry feelings? YES YOU ARE! This week Betsy shows Kate a book that, in many ways, really inspired the plethora of books about strong emotions (and how to deal with them) that so many books replicate today. A lot of us are feeling like Sophie these days. It's funny how you can not think directly about a book for a long time and then see it and suddenly have wild opinions about it. But are Betsy's opinions pro or con? Are Kate's? There are many thoughts swirling around this title. Take a listen and see what theirs are.
Here is the aforementioned heckuva good website that Ms. Molly Bang runs, particularly the part about Sophie: https://www.mollybang.com/Pages/sophie.html
For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2021/02/01/fuse-8-n-kate-when-sophie-gets-angry-really-really-angry-by-molly-bang/
Episode 169 - Suzuki Beane
On this most auspicious day in which the Newbery and Caldecott winners are announced (amongst many other fine and wonderful awards), we thought it might be a nice change of pace to do a cult classic. In other words, a book that never had a chance of winning a literary award a day of its life. This book, which Betsy has in her possession was a gift from her friend and fellow co-writer on Wild Things, Peter Sieruta. It is not in print. Good luck finding a copy. But if you'd like to read it for yourself, you can find the full text online here: https://www.scribd.com/doc/24325132/Suzuki-Beane
Much to Betsy's great delight, she found that Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Louise Brody contains the most thorough history of the creation and intentions behind Suzuki Beane you have ever seen. DO consult it, if you want to know more about this book and maybe not the Wikipedia entry which, for whatever reason, quotes Betsy.
The Columbia Journalism Review has a wonderful piece called Hip: What's In a Name? on the birth of the term "hipster", that I highly recommend you check out: https://www.cjr.org/language_corner/hipster_whats_in_a_name.php
Check out the full Show Notes at: https://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/?p=41201
Episode 168 - Guess How Much I Love You
There is a certain type of picture book that can be best described as a Love It or Loathe It title. These are books that some people adore with their whole heart without irony. And there are books that some people loathe deep down to their very souls without apology. It had been a long time since Betsy had handed Kate a Giving Tree or Rainbow Fish. So how would she react to this particular old chestnut? Published in 1994 in Great Britain and 1995 in the States, few would contest that this book became an instant hit when it debuted and hasn't lost love of the public since. We delve real deep into the deep psychological compunctions of male nutbrown hares including their latent daddy issues.
Here's the pop-up book, which actually worked remarkably well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtLYG-axzDs
You can find the text from Bad British Accent Reader's Theater here: http://www.guesshowmuchiloveyou.com/the-story
If you've big feelings to get out after seeing this cover, perhaps the piece Can You Guess How Much I Want to Punch You in the Crotch Right Now Big Nutbrown Hare? from Medium can bring you some peace: https://medium.com/the-hit-job/can-you-guess-how-much-i-want-to-punch-you-in-the-crotch-right-now-big-nutbrown-hare-7fc59a1e0b29
The podcasts Betsy recommends are:
This Is Love - https://thisislovepodcast.com/
Ologies - https://www.alieward.com/ologies
Completely Arbortrary - https://www.completelyarbortrary.com/
For the full Show Notes please visit: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2021/01/18/fuse-8-n-kate-guess-how-much-i-love-you-by-sam-mcbratney-ill-anita-jeram/
Customer ReviewsSee All
Hi Betsy you know me yes you do your daughter is my best friend.
Yup. This is me Zara. This is so funny so good so AMAZING and just plain great. I love how you describe the books 📚
This is a surpassingly hilarious podcast and one that has been missing from my life for a long time. I burned through three episodes just today and have had so many laugh-out-loud moments which are sorely needed these days.
Irreverence at its Best
I’ve been a fan of Betsy’s blog for ages. It turns out that humor and excellence run in the family. Sisters Betsy and Kate have a hilarious, dry camaraderie perfect for their subject. It’s fun to hear both a novice and an expert review classic children’s books and discuss crazy things about them. A number one choice for any teacher or librarian.