Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
The spooky season begins with our first October surprise! Now some may not consider Kellogg’s book to be a scary enough title, but my clear cut memories of the Skog burn bright and sharp. And as this was one of my favorite books when I was a child I was so pleased to show it to Kate. Kate points out that this book is definitely relatable in 2020. “I’m tired of living in a hole.” Aren’t we all? Who wouldn’t want to escape to a tropical isle? This is the book that also contains the world’s saddest sentence: “I decided it was better to be alone than to be afraid.” Oh, honey. We talk about everything from how a mouse could milk a goat to the surprising cameo of Slimer from The Ghostbusters.
As I mention, we’d only done one Steven Kellogg book before. If you’re interested you could encounter our episode on The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash here.
November 12th is National Rodent Day! Be sure to hug a rodent on that day. Had I but known we could have premiered this episode then!
Behold, the world’s smallest wanted poster. This one is of Gertrude the cat. 20 points to anyone who thinks to name their cat “Gertrude.” The sheer number of details Kellogg is able to work into a single scene just defies all sense. He’s like Peter Sis but instead of dots he’s sneaking in constant tiny words!
Kate’s sharp eyes managed to spot where this book initially takes place. If you peer really closely at the label, it’s in Boston. And if they’re heading for an island, are they hoping to get to Martha’s Vineyard? Perhaps. Unfortunately this must mean that all the characters should be speaking with Boston accents when this book is read aloud. And I do a terrible Bostonian.
“Dear Babs.” Reason I love this book #538: Somewhere out there, in this little universe, there is a mouse named “Babs”.
It saddens me that my camera, for all that it’s pretty good, simply cannot hope to bring to life all the tiny details in this book at a high resolution. You probably can’t make it out, but that box under the stairs is labeled as containing “Twelve cannonballs for cannons or bowling.” It is always good to be prepared for any eventuality.
This is the graphic novel about the Titanic that I read to my son (and which apparently REALLY made an impression!). It is, as you can see, an adaptation of the first “I Survived” book in the series and came out this past February.
Hannah, honey, this is just poor planning on your part. Jenny is on the boat with you!
Apparently Jenny believes that the Skog looks like a Slimer (from Ghostbusters) with feet.
Kate also says that the Skog is basically “A Dementor with bear feet.” Or, if you’re 4-year-old me, nightmare fuel.
See, this is the level of detail Kellogg is engaged in. Notice that tiny bit on the lower right? That’s the ship that the Skog cut free earlier in the book.
Curious about the adult book I mentioned? It’s out Feb 23rd and called The Upstairs House by Julia Fine. Here’s that plot description again:
“Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation/thesis on mid-century children’s literature. Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.”
And here is the cover:
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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