Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton (Live from ALA!)
Have you ever wanted to listen to an episode of our podcast but thought to yourself, “This is good, but what would it sound like with more background noise?” At last! Now you have your answer! At the most recent American Library Association Annual Conference in beautiful downtown Chicago, Illinois we bring to you the first LIVE recording of Fuse 8 n’ Kate! And what book could be deemed worthy enough of this recording? That would have to be Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton, published in 1977. The first of Ms. Boynton’s books, the title has since been republished (and re-illustrated) in 2022. Today, we consider the original (Sandra Boynton’s first book for children) and its updated edition to determine whether or not it deserves “classic” status or not.
Just a note, before we begin. As we recorded this in the School Library Journal booth we had to evade sharp glances from the Better World Books folks next door. Considering how many books my own library has personally sent to them, I think I earned this pass.
If you were, like myself, born before 1980, then you may remember this greeting card classic floating around your own home:
Here are the two different editions of this book that we are discussing today. In the new book version the font is bigger, the lines are sharper, and the numbers are outlined in the same color throughout the entire book. As Kate says, in the 1970s, “The Man can’t tell me how to draw a straight line!”
As new endpapers go, I have to say that this is a delightful upgrade:
And the debut of “Social Anxiety Hippo”:
In the course of this episode Kate asks me if I’ve ever collected dedications in children’s books. I haven’t but after reading this one, maybe I should start?
I have sorrowful news for you. By the end of this book, these two will no longer be together.
If you could do any famous painting with a hippo, which one would you choose? Sandra Boynton’s choice is clear, in both the older and newer editions of this book:
I can’t believe that in her editing she didn’t cut this out, but Kate kept my tangent discussion about how wild hippos have become an invasive species in Colombia (I said “Mexico” which is actually where they are being moved to). You can read up on some of that here.
In both the older and newer edition, this hippo is at first not interested in the drinks, and then later VERY interested.
Other changes: In the older edition this hippo is willing to engage in this conversation. In the later editions, not so much.
Flowerhead hippo? We suspect she ends up with this guy. And he’s a lot less scary in the newer edition.
Here are the Tiny Mic Interviewees!
And don’t worry. When at last we did run into Carla Hayden, she was totally cool:
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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