Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Need a House? Call Ms. Mouse! by George Mendoza, ill. Doris Susan Smith
For the very first time in the history of this podcast, we have taken a request… from a publisher. That’s right! You know as well as I do that there are reprinted picture books coming out all the time. Well, New York Review of Books sort of specializes in that industry. Their Children’s Collection division has a tendency to find old and shockingly beautiful titles worth bringing back to life. And this year, in 2023, they decided to do a book that is so lovely, so strange, and so original that I absolutely fell in love with it when I saw it a couple months ago. Then, recently, they asked if I might be interested in ever featuring one of their books? Since I’d already fallen, and hard, for this remarkable little title, what choice did I have? And so, it may not be the most famous book we’ve ever done on the show, but I suspect that it may remain one of the most memorable. There are very few interior designer picture books, so we get into the weeds. Plus I get to mention Le Corbusier (all thanks to that one design class I took in college). But the most important thing of all? After you finish reading this you are fully convinced that the illustrator had fun with this book. We sure as heck did.
Actually, I’m not kidding about the whole Who Is Doris Susan Smith thing. Have any of you, ANY OF YOU, (I’m looking at you, Nick Bruel) ever met her, heard of her, or know anything about her at all? Info, people, I’m seeking INFO!
We like that there’s this shot of food under the desk where Ms. Mouse works. It’s a very realistic detail. For those of us that eat our own lunches at our own desks, this rang true.
Kate liked the amount of lighting in Ms. Mouse’s home and, almost more to the point, the thought that went into its placement.
Adore her sound system. Very familiar to this 80s child. And we all remember those chairs, right?
As Kate pointed out, this is the second week in a row that I’ve given her a book about a fox who likes to work out. We speculate as to whether or not, if this book were to come out today, he’d be more into Peleton or Occulus.
The book I refer to about the beaver builders (and yet do not name) is the incredible A House in the Woods by Inga Moore. One of my favorites of all time.
This is why I find it so strange that the beavers are constructing a greenhouse when I’d think their strengths would lie in water-based construction. Maybe they’re doing the plumbing?
Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that the caterpillar’s home is its… chrysalis? Maybe that’s just a euphemism or something. Otherwise… *shudder*
Kate thought the Bear had a bong. Not so sure about that one.
And she was even more suspicious of the “vase” in Frog’s home.
Kate asked me what my favorite house in this book might be. I dunno, but I’m rather charmed by Spider’s pad. It has an Eames chair and everything!
Betsy Recommends: Loki Season 2 and Holiday Baking Championship. Both are back, baby!
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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