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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

A lot of this show consists of me thinking up an author (say, Patricia Polacco) then saying to myself “What’s their most famous book?” In the case of Ms. Polacco, I was a bit stumped. This book was definitely in the top five, and I figured it would make for an interesting choice. Particularly since its shiny Sydney Taylor Award on the cover was intriguing. With its 1988 pub date, there’s still a lot to really enjoy about this title. It’s aged nicely, and ties in well with stories like Jacqueline Woodson’s Show Way or Papa Had a Little Overcoat, even.

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:

I’m an ungrateful swine who never properly thanks people when they send me stuff, but Kate’s a lot better than me (pretty much in general). A big thank you to Peachtree Press for this signed copy of Going Down Home With Daddy AND the signed print that came along with it.

I’m not kidding about the fact that Polacco went to school with Frank Oz and babysat Tom Hanks. Read all about it here.

Kate thinks that Polacco created an insufficient number of spikes on the Statue of Liberty’s crown. I say it’s up for debate. Six spokes or is the seventh missing? What say the masses?

Why would a little girl be holding a box of plug tobacco? It doesn’t contain her lunch, right? I mean, wouldn’t it just make everything inside taste terrible? Seems like a poor choice.

We’re very fond of this kid. Kate calls her Crooked Pinky Penny. “You know she’s just there because her mom is there… she just wants to trace her finger around all the work that the women are doing here.”

“Grandpa! She’s behind you! Turn around!”

Okay now. If you have a priceless family heirloom that connects your family to an important past . . . why in heaven’s name would you allow your small children to get a chocolate cake ANYWHERE NEAR it?!? Look at that boy’s cake on his plate, falling downwards. Does someone hate this quilt???

I feel for you aunt-on-cake-duty.

If you would like to see the additional pages that Patricia Polacco made for the 25th anniversary edition of this book, take a gander at this video by the Mazza Museum. My sole objection to this vid is that you never get a good close look at the quilt itself:

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. My two favorites in this category, from the Yiddish folksong “Hob Ich Mir a Mantel” (I had a little coat) are Simms Taback’s “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat” for artistic brilliance and Jewish cultural allusions, and “My Grandfather’s Overcoat” by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock, which is simple, beautiful, and moving in any cultural context.

    • I was thinking of doing the Taback book at some point on the podcast. It’s crazy but I don’t think we’ve done a single Taback book yet! Hmmm….