Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood
I promised you additional strawberries and additional strawberries you shall have! We start off with a bang on the podcast this week with a fun quiz: Who would you cast in the live action version of three different picture books? Then, we go back to this great work of Don and Audrey Wood, last seen on this podcast in episodes about The Napping House and King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub. Today’s post features a strawberry book that isn’t quite as strange as The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher, but clocks in at a close second.
In case you would like to play along at home, who would YOU cast in the following roles:
Mr. Gilly from Trashy Town:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar:
Okay. I admit it. I completely and utterly forgot that I interviewed Don and Audrey Wood about this book a mere TWO years ago! In my defense, 2020 was a bit of a lost-COVID year. The post, however, is quite fascinating. It relates a tale about the British-to-American rights process like nothing you’ve seen before. Imagine if you did nine books and they were out of your reach after that BUT their loss allowed you to make The Napping House. Curious? Find the interview here.
In how many picture books does the narrator have a one-sided conversation with the main character? This isn’t the first, but it’s certainly one of the best. Special Note: Great hammock in this shot.
Kate laughed out loud at this picture. It’s almost like a Warner Brothers take on trying, desperately, to remove a strawberry from its stem.
Kate got curious about whether this image was scientifically accurate. Here’s what she found: The average strawberry is 27 grams and the average mouse is 40-45 grams. Why is this important? Because the average mouse can carry 120-160 grams. So, yes, if you want to make this a STEM/STEAM title? Now you have an in.
Sweating, friggin’, buckets.
It’s the fact that there are thumbtacks on the ground that really lend this image a certain je ne sais quoi.
The unspoken joke that this mouse had a strawberry-sized pair of Groucho glasses just sitting around his house… it’s the psychological weirdness of this that really appeals to me.
It was ZOOM meetings that taught me that the “okay” hand sign is a bit more problematic now than it used to be back when this book was published.
One and all, we nominate this back cover copy for the MOST misleading/strange bit of writing to describe its own picture book. THERE IS NO FOX IN THIS BOOK!! Heck, technically there is no BEAR in this book either! And note the bear’s shadow. Ye gods, folks. So strange. The only thing I could figure was that “playing the fox’s role” means something in Britain (where this book was originally published) other than it does here.
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Kate Recommends: She-Hulk
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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