Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Pinkerton, Behave! by Steven Kellogg
Lick lick lick lick lick! Here we have a rare opportunity to examine an old book from 1979 and its 2014 update. Kate challenged me to come up with a dog picture book and I realized that we had never done one of the most fascinating cases in American children’s literature. As we explain on the show, Kellogg used to live in Sandy Hook. When the school shooting occurred he was deeply affected. And, in light of objections he’d heard regarding the burglar and his gun in his book Pinkerton, Behave! Kate and I compare both versions of the book. We have a LOT to discuss. Consistently we find the changes in the text to be subtle but unpredictable. Kate’s able to whip out her obedience school knowledge with this one. And, of course, defenestration abounds!
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This is the note in the 2014 edition explaining why this re-illustration took place:
Here is the article in Publishers Weekly : Steven Kellogg on Why He Reworked a ‘Pinkerton’ Scene in Response to Sandy Hook.
Bafflingly, in the new edition it must have been determined that dogs don’t fetch newspapers anymore so it got turned into… slippers? Honestly, out of everything that this book reworked, this is the change that baffled me the most. Compare and contrast.
Another change? They turned the command from “Get the burglar” to “Bark loudly”. This one’s a little easier to understand. In the original book the dogs maul the dummies with great fervor. Not so here:
You know that Kate is truly distracted by a title when she fails to comment on a poodle butt in a book.
Another fascinating change. From burglars to “bad guys”. And just to make sure that nobody whatsoever is offended, we threw in a diapered alien and a pirate for kicks.
In the old version everyone else got A’s. And in the new version? B’s!!
Folks, allow me to introduce you to Mid-life Crisis Chewbecca. He’ll just be hanging out here on the floor for a while.
This burglar truly is the most frightening robber I’ve ever seen in a picture book before.
You can actually see a wide range of different burglars in this post I wrote Burglars, Thieves, and a Classic Picture Book Trope.
And then there’s the question of retribution. At no point in the old version did the robber ever get caught and punished for his crimes. In the new one, he does, but almost as an afterthought. It’s funny how this newer edition was published just in 2014, but already it’s making me uncomfortable to see cops in a picture book like this.
Kate Recommends: How Stella Learned to Talk by Christina Hunger:
Betsy Recommends: Printer’s Row Lit Fest.
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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