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Fuse 8 n' Kate

Literature

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

Location:

United States

Description:

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

Twitter:

@FuseEight

Language:

English

Contact:

646-265-4716


Episodes
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Episode 317 - Dinosaur Bob and his Adventures with the Family Lazardo

5/19/2024
As mentioned on this podcast episode, Kate and Betsy truly will be in San Diego at the upcoming ALA Annual Conference to record an episode WITH a special secret guest. Many thanks to the very kind Travis Jonker (alumni of Kate's college) for sharing his recording booth with us. Today's book was a Reading Rainbow book back in the day. We detect some similarities to The Mysterious Tadpole by Steven Kellogg, we talk Gertie the Dinosaur, and try to understand why members of a baseball team would look at an animal and instantly think, "Shortstop!" For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/05/20/fuse-8-n-kate-dinosaur-bob-and-his-adventures-with-the-family-lazardo-by-william-joyce/

Duration:00:41:25

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Episode 316 - The Three Pigs

5/12/2024
Today, we do our second David Wiesner book (after Tuesday). Along the way we discuss the philosophy behind Wiesner's void ("Is this just the space between the stories we tell?") and how this is (spoiler alert) our 200th classic on the podcast! Woohoo! Show Notes: For the full show notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/05/13/fuse-8-n-kate-the-three-pigs-by-david-wiesner

Duration:00:30:46

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Episode 315 - Tops and Bottoms

5/5/2024
Today we dive right in to a good spring picture book that somehow we've never done before. Even better, a Caldecott Honor title at that! We haven't discussed Janet Stevens since we did Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock a little more than a year ago. Consider this the book that made vertical picture books cool (Mel Fell owes this title a hat tip of thanks). In this episode we discuss whether Bear is on Ambien, where this takes place (since the growing seasons is so long), and Kate's theory about adirondack chairs. Show Notes: For the full show notes please visit https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/05/06/fuse-8-n-kate-tops-bottoms-by-janet-stevens/

Duration:00:28:42

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Episode 314 - Enemy Pie

4/28/2024
Recently LeVar Burton suggested today's picture book on an episode of The Sporkful ("Reheat: LeVar Burton Even Reads Recipes Dramatically") and in spite of the fact that Kate was dead-on about the fact that we should have done this book for a Thanksgiving episode, we're doing it, baby! Enemy Pie was a Reading Rainbow Book back in the day, how does it hold up now? We talk about How to Eat Fried Worms, how boomerangs were the drones of the 80s (and I will stand by that statement), and the joy of eating a pie small enough to fit between your eyebrows. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/04/29/fuse-8-n-kate-enemy-pie-by-derek-munson-ill-tara-calahan-king/(opens in a new tab)

Duration:00:30:50

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Episode 313 - Ginger Bear

4/21/2024
"Crime and murder!" Do you want unspeakable violence on the picture book page? Well, folks, Kate sure did. And thanks to the suggestion of listener Rachelle, and her daughter Sarah, Betsy finally had a book that would give her just what she required. Is there blood? There is not, though honestly she got her fill of blood when we talked about King Stork (remember the heads on stakes?). Enjoy our discussion of what may well be the MOST disgusting sequence in a picture book of all time, as well as Betsy failing to correctly pronounce "dragees" (stay tuned for the very rare extra after the credits). And be prepared to get some serious Stinky Cheese Man and Arnie the Donut vibes from this book. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/04/22/fuse-8-n-kate-ginger-bear-by-mini-grey/

Duration:00:30:33

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Episode 312 - I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew

4/14/2024
What's that? You've never heard of this particular Dr. Seuss book? Well, you're definitely not alone. If one were to rank Seuss titles from best known to least, there is no doubt in my mind that Solla Sollew would be right there at the bottom. But is there any chance that this 1965 publication might have something to say about the baby boomer generation, Vietnam, escapism, and even stories like Pippin and Candide? This week our special guest is none other than Betsy's very own husband Matt Bird. You may be familiar with his podcast with author James Kennedy the Secrets of Story podcast OR his podcast with his brother Steve Bird the Marvel Reread Club OR from his books The Secrets of Story and The Secrets of Character. He's unafraid to make a whole slew of claims about this book, so buckle up for a mighty strange ride. For the full Show Notes: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/04/15/fuse-8-n-kate-i-had-trouble-getting-to-solla-sollew/

Duration:00:30:19

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Episode 311 - Bad Kitty

4/7/2024
April is National Autism Acceptance Month, so Kate asked Betsy to bring her an appropriate book. Our usual rule is that we only consider books that are 20+ years old. The trouble is that most of the best books on the topic of the autistic spectrum were created within the last two decades. So we're cheating a bit this week and going with something produced in 2005 (a whole year too early, by our usual standards). And rather than go the direct route, we are selecting a book that has been embraced by autistic child readers as containing an autistic character, even if she was not originally conceived of in that matter. In this episode we celebrate the rare four-alphabet-combo (most picture books are lucky to get just one), discuss what kind of grocery story provides (amongst other things) opossum, and Betsy's undying love and affection for Uncle Murray. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/04/08/fuse-8-n-kate-bad-kitty-by-nick-bruel/

Duration:00:29:59

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Episode 310 - King Stork

3/31/2024
What makes an appropriate April Fool's post? How about a book that FOOLED its own art directors, editors, publicists, etc. by including copulation? I'd say that counts! In fact, you might say that Trina Schart Hyman was the ultimate April Fool's picture book creator! She snuck insults of book reviewers onto gravestones. She managed to get the missionary position into a Howard Pyle book. She even made her ex-girlfriend the evil queen in her version of Snow White (while she made herself one of the seven dwarfs). But going back to that case where doing the wild thing made an appearance of the margins of a table in a picture book, Betsy has been hoping to do King Stork with Kate for years. And let us say, it doesn't disappoint. It's just as weird, sexist, strange, and funny as you'd expect. Think The Twelve Dancing Princesses meet Tam Lin. For the full Show Notes, please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/04/01/fuse-8-n-kate-king-stork-by-howard-pyle-ill-trina-schart-hyman

Duration:00:31:21

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Episode 309 - The Gardener

3/24/2024
Spring has sprungeth! Not that you'd know it looking at Illinois right now, of course, but we're getting close to sunnier days. To celebrate, we've decided to equinox the heck out of this latest podcast episode (I still say it can be a verb). Somehow we've never done this particular Caldecott Honor winner before, so we're going to right a great wrong. We talk epistolary picture books, how clean 1936 New York City alleyways were (we'd love to hear your opinions on needles), Groucho Marx, and more. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/03/25/fuse-8-n-kate-the-gardener-by-sarah-stewart-ill-david-small/

Duration:00:30:44

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Episode 308 - There's No Such Thing as a Dragon

3/17/2024
It's the Year of the Dragon and yet so far we've done precisely ZERO dragon books so far. That ends today with our first consideration of Jack Kent. The cartoonist turned picture book author/illustrator may have come to the form late in life, but he cast some indelible images in his time. Surprisingly, this turns out to be one of our more divisive books. We ask what the "Children's Book Clinic" once was, discuss songs stuck in our heads, and talk musical bread. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/03/18/fuse-8-n-kate-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-dragon-by-jack-kent/

Duration:00:30:14

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Episode 307 - Finn MacCoul and his Fearless Wife

3/11/2024
If you want something Irish, this book fulfills that desire tenfold. Now, for those of you who listen to the Fuse 8 n' Kate podcast regularly, you'll know that Kate likes three particular things in her picture books: 1. Ireland. 2. Strong women. 3. Lotsa details in the art. With that in mind, is it surprising that she adored this? In this episode we discuss Little Shop of Horrors, the fact that single men have a hard time determining the ages of small children, and why this should really have been called Oona MacCoul and Her Baby Man. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/03/11/fuse-8-n-kate-finn-maccoul-and-his-fearless-wife-by-robert-byrd/

Duration:00:30:40

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Episode 306 - Zeralda's Ogre

3/3/2024
No stranger to controversy, we dive deep into one of Tomi Ungerer's more peculiar picture books. It's all about the consumption of children, but that's not why we get icked out by this particular title. Turns out, it has an ending grosser than anything involving the consumption of kids. Sadly, Betsy was not able to give Kate the blood and guts in a picture book that she so desperately required. In Betsy's defense, she remembered a lot more bloody knives than we see on these pages. Certainly Ungerer was happy to place blood in some of his other stories, but this particular time the violence was more implied than anything else. In this episode we discuss food, food, and more food (guess we were hungry). Show Notes: For the full show notes to this episode please go here: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/03/04/fuse-8-n-kate-zeraldas-ogre-by-tomi-ungerer/

Duration:00:31:12

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Episode 305 - Skippyjon Jones

2/25/2024
Originally released in 2003, Skippyjon Jones is a fascinating study of a picture book that was controversial prior to the rise of We Need Diverse Books. When first it came out, the book received loads of praise and awards ... and then loads of controversy. While still in print today, we identify the probable reasons why this book doesn't have a Netflix show, a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a live-action film, etc. Let's just say there may be a reason why the last book in this series came out in 2014. We discuss what may be one of the oddest Kirkus Reviews ever written, the name "Siamese cats", and why the book is trying to keep the hero "out of the closet". You can find the full Show Notes for the episode here: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/02/26/fuse-8-n-kate-skippyjon-jones-by-judy-schachner/

Duration:00:28:35

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Episode 304 - The Moon Jumpers

2/18/2024
Deep in the heart of February, it's not uncommon for folks to start yearning for warmer days and summer nights. While shivering in Illinois, Kate and Betsy dip into some early award-winning Udry and Sendak. Why did Sendak win a Caldecott Honor for this title? We deign to find out. There are ghosts and giants and a cat with a face Kate would tattoo on her arm tomorrow, if she could. There are also long discussions of how precisely these four children of approximately the same age are all related to one another. Enjoy! For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/02/19/fuse-8-n-kate-the-moon-jumpers-by-janice-may-udry-ill-maurice-sendak/

Duration:00:28:30

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Episode 303 - David Goes to School

2/11/2024
It's officially the 25th anniversary of No, David! by David Shannon and in celebration Betsy decided to do the second "David" book in the series. Having previously done No, David! before, Betsy figured that the sequel was the right way to go with today's episode. Kate, for her part, experiences a curious form of amnesia, capable of remembering the recording of Shannon's A Bad Case of Stripes, but not the first David book. In that sense she's the perfect person to read this book, unencumbered by memories of its predecessor. For the full Show Notes, please visit here: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/02/12/fuse-8-n-kate-david-goes-to-school-by-david-shannon/

Duration:00:26:21

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Episode 302 - Yeh-Shen

1/28/2024
"There are fish literally everywhere in this book!" We meant to do an Ed Young title a little closer to his death last year, but life interfered. As a result Betsy has been sitting on this particular copy of Yeh-Shen for a couple months now (sorry, library). You can imagine Betsy's utter delight as she discovers that, like Lon-Po Po, Ed Young hid one particular animal on these pages: Fish! Betsy has way too much fun finding the fishies in these pages, and Kate dives deep into this particular telling. We misidentify Disney songs, and discuss "tattered creatures", and kings that neg. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/01/29/fuse-8-n-kate-yeh-shen-by-ai-ling-louie-ill-ed-young/

Duration:00:30:39

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Episode 301 - Ira Sleeps Over

1/21/2024
It's rare that we do a picture book from Betsy's old Top 100 Picture Books Poll from back in 2012, but today's the day, we guess. This book came in at #96 and reading it today we were surprised at how well it had aged in spite of its 1972 publication date. You probably know Bernard Waber best as the creator of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. Today we're talking about Joe the Button Pusher, the Irish Republican Army, and where folks stand on the whole teddy bear issue. For the full show notes please find them here: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/01/22/fuse-8-n-kate-ira-sleeps-over-by-bernard-waber/

Duration:00:30:43

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Episode 300 - Grimm Fairy Tales

1/14/2024
We are so friggin' psyched!! It's not every day that we (A) Celebrate our 300th episode and (B) Have the very first National Ambassador of Young People's Literature JON SCIESZKA as our special guest! We asked Jon what classic picture book he wanted to celebrate, and do you know what he selected? Not one but THREE Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Not the well known ones either. Three short ones. Weird ones. Peculiar ones. Today, we read through the following: - The Straw, the Coal and the Bean - The Three Sluggards - The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage "Some of the Grimm Brothers stories you find are a little gross. These are a little... odd!" That's Jon selling today's stories. Today we talk hyacinth beans, subversive stories about the monarchy, and why Kate keeps using the phrase "Sausage McLovin" repeatedly. This may be one of our goofier episodes but it is WELL worth a listen! For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/01/15/fuse-8-n-kate-our-300th-episode-with-special-guest-star-jon-scieszka

Duration:00:41:03

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Episode 299 - Caldecott Contenders

1/7/2024
"Ah, Kwame. He's going to get tired of winning Caldecotts one of these days." As track records go, we don't want to brag but the Fuse 8 n' Kate podcast does a particularly good job each and every year of selecting potential winners. Just look at last year's picks. Of the three books we discussed one (Hot Dog) became an Award winner and one (Knight Owl) became an Honor. This year, once more, we've selected three books for discussion. But what's this? Do Kate and Betsy disagree on the final winner? See if you can figure out why we split on our final vote in this year's discussion of Tomfoolery by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Barbara McClintock, There Was a Party for Langston by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey, and An American Story by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dare Coulter. You can find the full Show Notes here: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/01/08/fuse-8-n-kate-2024-caldecott-contenders/

Duration:00:30:58

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Episode 298 - Snowflake Bentley

12/31/2023
Here we are in a great glorious new year, and what are we doing? We're directing your attention backwards in time to 1998. Heck, technically we're going even farther back in time with one of our rare nonfiction considerations on this podcast. Travel to the late 19th century and meet a controversial figure. Citizen scientist or man who mucks with the scientific record? Only you can judge when you listen to our latest episode on the Caldecott Award winning title Snowflake Bentley. Today we discuss our new year's predictions for 2024, what "woodcut cheek" is in picture books (trust me, it's a thing), whether this early manipulation of photographs was an issue in authenticity, and more. For the full Show Notes please visit: https://afuse8production.slj.com/2024/01/01/fuse-8-n-kate-snowflake-bentley-by-jacqueline-briggs-martin-ill-mary-azarin/

Duration:00:30:07