Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, ill. Mary Azarin
Here we are in a great glorious new year, and what am I doing? I’m directing your attention backwards in time to 1998. Heck, technically I’m going even farther back in time with one of our rare nonfiction considerations on this podcast. Travel to the late 19th century and meet a controversial figure. Citizen scientist or man who mucks with the scientific record? Only you can judge when you listen to our latest episode on the Caldecott Award winning title Snowflake Bentley. Today we discuss our new year’s predictions for 2024, what “woodcut cheek” is in picture books (trust me, it’s a thing), whether this early manipulation of photographs was an issue in authenticity, and more.
And by the way, before you comment here, Kate reminded me that we did do one other picture book biography in the past. It was The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Brian Selznick.
I mean it. Check out the snowflakebentley.com gift shop folks. I know the holiday season is pretty much through but there are some CHOICE gifts on there!
Personally, I get it. It’s hard to write dedications in books. But Mary Azarian lives in Vermont. Is there really never enough snow, Mary? Wowzah.
How much wood could a woodcut cheek if a woodcut could check cheek? The fact of the matters is that when you are illustrating with woodcuts in children’s books AND you insist of creating human figures, their cheeks are, inevitably, gonna look like this. It’s no one’s fault except that of the medium.
We do get that Mr. Bentley is supposed to be fifteen in this image, but boy he sure looks like a 45-year-old mom wearing her husband’s flannel here. Not that I’d know from personal experience…
In terms of Willie’s new camera, it is said that it was, “taller than a newborn calf.” Kate points out that it’s the table that holds that particular honor.
From a certain angle I mistook Bentley’s mustache for his teeth. Creeeeepy!
I’m with Kate on this one. That old woman? “My butt hurts for her.” Give that woman a chair, people!
While this may not strike you as the most impressive backmatter you ever saw, please bear in mind that this was in a book from 1998. For the time period this was incredible!!
Kate Recommends: The podcast MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries
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