Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
It just seemed to make sense to do a book this week that could kill two birds with one stone. I’ve always wanted to do a wider range of children’s picture books and we haven’t done any by Muslim-American (or, in this case, Muslim-Canadian) authors. So I took a look at New York Public Library’s 100 Children’s Books, 100 Years list (which I still love and admire) and selected Big Red Lollipop. And who did the illustrations? The latest double Caldecott Award winner, Sophie Blackall. Of course, this is a sister book. I am the older sister. Kate is my little sister. So how exactly is she going to take this book of younger sister brattiness? It’s not exactly a spoiler alert to say that I bring my elder sibling feelings to the table. This may inform our reactions to it. We also consider what ungodly suburban mom came up with the idea of goodie bags in the first place, I get to yell, “REVENGE!!!” several times, and Kate keeps bringing up Ariana Grande.
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– The whale that Kate loves so much. Can you spot it? It’s up at the very tippy top of the picture here.
– The first appearance in crocs in a picture book on our show. I had no idea we’d been missing them until Kate pointed it out. This does mean that this historical tale has been placed in a contemporary setting, of course. Do I mind that fact? Not particularly. After all, nothing makes it harder to identify with characters in a book than 1980s clothing.
– Correct me if I’m wrong, Canadians. Are your goodie bags called “loot bags”. And when, gentle readers, did gift bags become a standard presence at birthday parties?
– This is what I put in my own children’s gift bags. Do not buy them from the candy shop next to Kate’s apartment. You’ll have to sell them your firstborn child as a downpayment.
– No. Seriously. What is the significance of the whale, people?!?
– This the video of Rukhsana Khan telling this story from her (the little sister’s) point of view. You have to watch this. Heck, skip listening to my podcast and just view this instead. Then let’s find places for her to speak publicly here in the States, because I want to see her talk NOW.
– Sophie Blackall has a couple motifs that she returns to. The aerial shot is something she’s perfected over the years. You can see it in a number of her picture books.
– We are all Rubina. Holding the Triangle of Contempt.
– I believe my mother said that the odd board game I remembered from my youth was called Count Your Chickens. I have since discovered that this is not true. It was actually called (and you can understand why none of us remembered the name) A Chicken in Every Plot. It was sold by a company called Animal Town which specialized in these odd little games that had names like “Madison Avenue”, “Dam Builders”, and “Save the Whales”. Remember, this is why we invented the internet, people.
– A cookie to anyone who can name me a villainous elephant in a children’s book. Go!
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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