Fuse 8 n’ Kate: A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, ill. Maurice Sendak
Once in a while I’ll see a new book coming out and it will inspire me to turn to an older text on this podcast. In this case I was perusing an upcoming Ruth Krauss book and it reminded me of that old chestnut, A Hole Is to Dig. My question, walking into this podcast, was to figure out whether or not this book has anything to actually say to the 21st century child. Is it still pertinent or is it like some kind of archaic Kids Say the Darndest Things? I talk about the historical view of American childhood and how it might have affected this book’s popularity in certain decades. As you might expect, the book also causes us to get a little philosophical at times. “This is like Schrödinger’s ‘s Cat. The hole both is and is not there when the digging takes place. Right. Okay. As long as we’re clear. This is complex physics.” Kate discovers that the absolute best way to read this book from 1952 is as a Beatnik. Oh, and I hope you like terrible terrible British accents, because we have lots and loads to give when quoting a discussion of The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
- The Ruth Krauss book coming out later this year is Roar Like a Dandelion, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier. You can see it here and it is, I can attest, really very good.
- I would be amiss in not mentioning, once again, the invaluable Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature by Phil Nel.
- Note the kid up to his neck in mud. I think at this point we have crossed over from “mud” to “bog” or “quicksand”.
- Kate was convinced that this book features a dog peeing. Now that I look at it more closely that might just be a slip of the pen. This was Sendak we’re talking about, but he didn’t do much with bodily functions in this way.
- I adore this teeny tiny image at the bottom of one of the pages. Whence the “Gr-r-r-r”, girl? If I were to choose a tattoo from this book, this would be it.
- Principals take out splinters? My theory at one point is that perhaps the principal was the one who put it in in the first place.
- This is the spread we refer to in the podcast as the Millions of Cats page. They’re lucky Wanda Gag didn’t sue. Compare and contrast:
- Here’s the Kirkus Review of A Hole Is to Dig that isn’t really enamored of the text.
- My discovery of Mumsnet was the highlight of my week. It’s sort of my favorite Readers Theater bit we’ve ever done before.
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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