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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring by Lucille Clifton, ill. Brinton Turkle

BoyDidntBelieveHow crazy is it that we’ve never done a Lucille Clifton book before? Nor a Brinton Turkle, but that’s a little more understandable. Lucille Clifton was one of the most prolific Black picture book authors in the 70s. Spring has officially sprung and I realized that today’s book (which New York schoolchildren are read and given to read every single year around this time) would be the perfect way to celebrate not just the season but Clifton herself. But would Kate like it? Stay tuned, gentle listeners. In the meantime, I think those of you thinking yearningly of Spring will find much to love in this episode.

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


Show Notes:

– The best reading that you will encounter all day long is this June Jordan New York Times review. “Really okay book” she raves! The books she read and didn’t like were Black Is Brown Is Tan by Arnold Adoff, Abby by Jeannette Caines, with pictures by Stephen Kellogg, Anthony and Sabrina by Ray Prather, Lordy, Aunt Hattie, by Ianthe Thomas, with pictures by Thomas di Grazia, Don’t You Remember? by Lucille Clifton, illustrated by Evaline Ness, Good, Says Jerome, by Lucille Clifton, and finally All Us Come Cross the Water, by Lucille Clifton, with illustrations by John Steptoe. As Jordan said of that last book, “The father and son picture and the grandmother and grandson picture must compete, in my eyes, for Terrifying Zombie Page of the Year.”

– Four exhaust pipes with a flame coming out? Is that a puddle of some sort? Gentle listeners, what do you think this is?


– I’m pretty sure that’s William from William’s Doll that King’s talking to in class. Ten will get you one that he’s wearing penny loafers underneath that desk.


– You don’t mess with Tony Polito when that hat goes backwards. Uh-oh! Back up! There it goes!


– How great are these streets scenes? These feel like real people with lives of their own!


– I know it’s not a big deal, but I honestly love how King’s clothes match the colors of the flowers.


– And let’s just give full credit to Clifton and Turkle for having these tough guys unafraid to hold hands. That’s just cool.


– Macomber for Congress. Macomber may not have been a real candidate but I suspect that Turkle knew someone by that name and sneaked it in.  But if you know anything about it, let us know.


– I think it’s fair to say that it’s time for Henry Holt & Company to seriously re-illustrate and re-release the Everett Anderson books. Like I mention on the podcast, this is one of the few picture books I’ve ever seen about a kid dealing with a classmate that’s being abused.


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. Pretty sure your tailpipes/flame are boards protruding from the trunk with the mandatory red bandana/cloth tied to the end so other cars will notice and not run into them.

    • I agree – it appears to be boards with a red cloth to warn drivers not to get too close.

  2. Lucille Clifton’s books for children are classics. Her groundbreaking poetry for adults was part of the movement beginning in the 1960s and 1970s to recover and promote the work of women poets. I think that, overall, she may even be better known for this part of her career:
    Betsy, back in 2015, you did have a great post about Brinton Turkle, so readers may want to go back to that one:
    He has such a range of subjects in his work. Does anyone else remember “Mr. Blue,” about a cat, written by Margaret Embry? It has great mid-century pictures of kids and animals testing the limits of adult rules.

  3. Fran Manushkin says:

    In the sixties, I lived in a Quaker boardinghouse called “The Pennington” at 215 East 15th St. in Manhattan, and Brinton Turkle also lived there. He was a very pleasant, slyly funny guy I loved talking to. I also visited his studio on 55th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (when low rents made that possible). I never asked Brinton about his Lucille Clifton books. I know that he grew up in Ohio and retired, I think, to New Mexico. He was a good friend of Ezra Jack Keats, who often came to dinner. The two of them introduced me to the movie, “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday.” More info than you need, but I can’t help it!

    • Mr. Hulot showed up in a French picture book import a year or two ago. And I think he makes an appearance in a Brian Biggs book, though I could be mistaken there. So lovely that you got to meet him! One of these days, Fran, we’re just going to sit down and I’m going to record every last story you have about creators of the past.

  4. I am so glad to see this column. The Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Spring is one of my favorite picture books of all time. I love the relationship between the two boys and the satisfying wonder of what they find in the old car.
    I would love to see the Everett Anderson books be republished.
    Thanks for this.

  5. Yes Publishing World – please reillustrate & re-publish Everett Anderson books! They are treasures.