Fuse 8 n’ Kate: A Valentine for Norman Noggs by Valiska Gregory, ill. Marsha Winborn
Librarians, if you’re anything like me, then, when the time is right, every year you trot out the same dang Valentine’s Day books that are in the Holiday section of your library. All the newer books go out first, leaving behind the stuff that came out in, oh say, 1999. This is the rare example of a book that I didn’t know bupkiss about. I didn’t know anything about the creators or the title itself, so we’re just jumping in because a quick read yielded strange thoughts. In today’s discussion we talk about eggnog, hamsters, the quality of the education these critters are receiving, and what this book gets right.
Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.
Kate’s not wrong. Those darn candy hearts DID say “Fax Me” back in the day!
Who’s idea was it to put this ding dang heart in the margins of the pages? As I say on the podcast, this is strangely similar to Clippy. Remember Clippy? Now imagine him on every page of a picture book. That’s the vibe I’m getting here. He may as well be saying, “You look like you’re writing a valentine. Would you like some help?”
Little unnerved by this “Snakes Alive!!” bit on their board. Don’t snakes eat hamsters? Aren’t our heroes in this book all hamsters?
Kate had another question: Why are there only three planets? What kind of educational system are these poor hamster children receiving?
We had a lot of questions about the speech balloons and where they originated. Were these created by the author or the illustrator? Our guess was the artist since they didn’t quite gel with the text but we’re willing to be corrected.
“What is their obsession with eggnog?!?” queries Kate. I mean, we get that it’s a (terrible) play on our hero’s name, but was that the best they could do?
You know what? Fair play to this book for making sure that the words added to this valentine are “strong” and “smart”. That’s pretty good for a 1999 publication date!
And here is the announcement about my book with Andrea Tsurumi!! Yay!
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.
SLJ Blog Network
2023 Books from Pura Belpré Winners
Newbery / Caldecott 2024: Spring Prediction Edition
Pardalita | Preview
Why Teens Should Read Hard History, a guest post by Lesley Younge
The Classroom Bookshelf is Moving