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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

SylvesterMagicPebble“50% of this book is just depressed donkeys.”

In lieu of Shrek (which I had zippo information on hand to bandy about) I decided we’d go with what is arguably the second most famous Steig picture book out there. You know. The one chock full of sadness and woe. Along the way we tackle grammar, fetlocks, sitting on children, and donkey boulders. Lots and lots of donkey boulders.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

Shrek was actually published in 1990, but I think that means it was published in the 80s in spirit.

– William Steig started making picture books when he was 61-years-old.

– For more on my hatred of knitting needles that stick straight up, be sure to check out my previous blog post The Scourge of Upside Down Knitting.

– “Quack?” “WTF, mate.”


– fet-lock: (noun) “The joint of a horse’s or other quadruped’s leg between the cannon bone and the pastern.”

– He does look sad, but I don’t think for one second that lion was look for a pal.


– RBF. Or, perhaps more accurately, RLF.


– The P-I-G!


– Correct knitting needle placement seen. Well done, Steig.


– This dog will NOT SLEEP until he finds his donkey.


– Too depressed to smoke your pipe? Try a cigar!


– Before you send in your angry letters, I did indeed get it backwards. It was Ronald Reagan that called Nancy “Mommy”. Not the other way around.

– Sylvester came in at #55 on the old Picture Book Poll.

– Actually, I got the title wrong. It was The Amazing Bone I loved as a child. Here’s the cover. Fans! Give it up!


– Loreli’s Sambo books appear to be worthy of an entire dissertation in and of themselves.



– Here’s Kate and her sign at March for Our Lives:


– Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s book, The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror. My favorite new thing:


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth 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.


  1. kati nolfi says:

    I’d like to offer a gentle correction. The formerly named Mallory Ortberg is now Daniel Mallory Ortberg.

  2. Eric Carpenter says:

    Steig for Wilder (or whatever we decide to call it)!!!