Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May, ill. Denver Gillen
Merry Christmas Eve! By gum we’re going to do at least one holiday book this month, if it kills me. Heck, for that matter, why not go local? You see, Kate and I both live in Evanston, Illinois and it just so happens that one of the most famous Christmas songs out there started its life as a children’s book by an Evanston author! Yes indeed, we doing a deep dive into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer today circa 1939. And not just any book, but a reprint of the original story (pre-song and pre-television adaptation) that was handed out for free in department stores all those years ago. How does it hold up to modern scrutiny? Only one way to find out:
Kate would like to correct her earlier statement that this scene is set in Chicago (though Chicago is mentioned). That said, here’s the scene she refers to, early on in our show:
Harses, harses, harses, harses . . .
FURTHER CORRECTION: At one point in the podcast I say that Robert L. May wrote the book for Marshall Fields. I then almost immediately say it was Montgomery Ward. The correct department story was, in fact, Montgomery Ward.
Here’s an NPR piece on the behind-the-scenes tale of Rudolph.
You can see why I looked at this page and thought we could DaVinci Code these pages. Doesn’t it look like the underlining means something?
Find me an old picture book where the mom wears glasses. Am I wrong, or isn’t this strangely rare?
Is it just me or don’t those antlers look delicious?
I mean it when I say that I like the idea of making the trim on Santa’s coat green. This book works with just three colors (green, red, and brown), and honestly I think illustrator Denver Gillen (info on him here) just did a stand up and cheer job.
Few of us remember the moment when Rudolph becomes a lava lamp.
I find it interesting that Rudolph began his life as a department store’s character and this year Macy’s is doing the same dang thing!
Betsy Recommends: The New Vic production of Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas in New York City!
I also recommend stopping by the New York Public Library’s gift shop on 5th Avenue. There you can buy this amazing bookmark, designed to look like the taxidermied paw of Charles Dickens’s favorite cat (he had it attached to a letter opener!):
Kate Recommends: My book! Long Road to the Circus! She even blurbed it: “I was never bored.” Ain’t she nice? And here’s the link to the article about ostrich cells used to make COVID detection: masks: https://tanksgoodnews.com/japanese-scientists-use-ostrich-cells-to-make-glowing-covid-19-detection-masks/
And here’s the link to the Etsy store that made the ostrich ornament she gave me:
And the socks:
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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