Fuse 8 n’ Kate by Arthur Yorinks, ill. Richard Egielski
In what may be the most quintessentially “New York” picture book we’ve done to date (with hints of Where the Wild Things Are in the margins) we confront a 1987 Caldecott Award winner and tackle Betsy’s childhood memories of it along the way. Today we discuss a variation on the previously reported upon picture book It Could Always Be Worse, but with an addition of tropical birds, floating islands, and John Tenniel references.
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In what is clearly one of the best and strangest interviews of its kind (the Reading Rainbow-era-esque opening is one for the ages) please take some time to watch this interview with Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski on the show Books Alive for some true insider tips that you simply won’t find anywhere else:
I judge an artist on how well he draws an ostrich. I’m giving Richard Egielski extra points for giving this ostrich just three toes. The man does his research!
As Kate is quick to note, Eddie is totally Eddie from Frasier! Just look at him! Credit to Kate for the sharp-eyed spotting. Granted, this book came out in 1978 and Frasier didn’t debut until 1993, but you know what that means, right? Looks to me like this book served as the inspiration! [Note: I have no proof of this, but it’s possible, isn’t it?]
This is a remarkable way of showing how small a person’s apartment can be. Look at how Egielski is doing something very similar to Where the Wild Things Are with the small borders. Then, when Al and Eddie escape to the bird island, everything bleeds out to the edges, giving you a sense of space and freedom.
Giant blue bird aside, I love the details on this room. Check out the stains on the ceiling and walls. The crack in the plaster. This bathroom alone deserved the Caldecott.
Copious John Tenniel references going on here. Compare if you will.
“Al, do I look like I care?”
Love that Al’s “shorts” are merely his pant legs rolled up.
All right, folks. Is that or is that not a single Twin Tower in this shot? Remember that this book came out in 1978.
Now Al is coming back into his apartment from the bathroom. That means that the main character is moving from the right to the left. And what I have learned over the years (particularly from folks like Jon Klassen) is that Art Directors hate it when something moves from the right side to the left in a picture book. Regardless of your take on that, admire the fact that Egielski has cleverly marked the passage of time by showing how many newspapers have gathered on Al’s front door in his absence.
(A) It’s cool that Al has used that same pile of newspapers to cover his home while he paints.
(B) It’s even cooler that the color of the walls that Al is painting here match the color of the endpapers. Just LOOK at that attention to detail!
Here is a detail from the new Nathan Hale graphic novel The Mighty Bite where he shouts out The Rainbow Goblins, the last book we did on this podcast. Amazing!
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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