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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

New Fuse 8 n’ Kate Episode: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

AreYouMyMother1Sometimes in the course of running through the classics Kate and I are in danger of looking at books for kids with too clinical an eye. For example, I might easily forget that Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman is, at its core, a very sad little book. Fortunately Kate’s there to remind me, so we ratchet up the sadness quotient to 11. For the first time we’re considering an Easy Book. Should we have started with Go, Dog, Go instead? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.  You can listen to our latest podcast recording/debate at:

Happily, if you listen to our podcast in your car at all, you’ll notice that the stereo setting we were using that made Kate’s voice sort of disappear into the mist is now gone.

Answer to the Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters Question: According to the book Dear Genius, John Steptoe was about 18 years of age when he first met with Ursula Nordstrom. A hat tip to Kathryn Leahey for getting it right!

Show Notes:

  • In terms of feedback from Monica Edinger, please check out her blog post John Steptoe’s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. Extra Bonus: A member of the Caldecott committee that awarded Steptoe the Honor makes a comment at the end!
  • This is the Alison Bechdel book I keep referring to (it’s really good!):


  • Here’s what the “party edition” looks like. Sorta. Imagine more with the shiny:


  • This is the hen that Kate said freaked her out. I have no idea what she’s talking about:


  • Interested in reading the post on my Top 100 Picture Books Poll from 2012?  Here’s the one I did for Are You My Mother?
  • Here’s the car that convinced me that this book takes place in post-apocalyptic Cuba.


  • Make sure you read the entire text of the Mallory Ortberg Are You My Mother? rendered horrific here.
  • God, I love Robin Sparkles (though I still think she peaked with “Sandcastles in the Sand”):


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. Hi Betsy,
    I read your old post so I know he was Philip Dey Eastman.
    About the popularity and I dare say the purpose of Are You My Mother? I loved this book, and I still do love it. The edge of sadness makes it even more vivid in my book landscape. My sister read it to me many times and then I learned to “read it myself.” I think this is a book that comforts children whose parents work. The mother bird knows that her baby will want to eat. The baby has adventures and the mother comes home.
    I hope this isn’t too humorless an interpretation.
    Your fan,
    – Liz

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I love that interpretation. A working parents book. I’m going to mention it on the next podcast. Thank you!

  2. This is the ultimate parenting book for me. I had days where I was all: You are my little bird and I love you! And then there were the days where the words that came out of my mouth were: I’m not your mother, I’m a snort.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      They need to make t-shirts with that phrase. Many is the mom that would appreciate them.