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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright

Lonely_Doll_CoverOver the last few podcasts I’ve introduced Kate to a great many “classic” picture books. But what about cult classic picture books? Don’t they deserve love as well? When I decided to initiate Kate in the ways of The Lonely Doll, I wasn’t entirely certain how she would act. Would she take to it like a duck to water or reject it outright for its tone? Only this podcast will let you know for sure. Though, and I mean this truly, I highly recommend that you seek out the book yourself when you’ve a chance. I think both its fans and its detractors would agree that it’s one in a million.

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:

– No. Honestly. What IS the most classic pop-up book out there? I’m wracking my brain but I’m still not sure what it might be.

– I wasn’t making that up. Famke Janssen really did have a home invasion and this book really was left behind.

– Run, Edith! Run!


– Too late. Now why has it never occurred to me that this might be some kind of Paper Moon situation? The little bear really never does say that Mr. Bear is his father.


– Now I ask you. Is that the face of a girl having fun?


– Kate and I could have gone back and forth all day over whether or not this constituted a story where the doll in question really is a doll. Hence, not ever exploring her own house.


– This photo backs up the theory that this is just an elaborate heist.


– Ultimately, this is what the book is remembered for.


– Kate, again, was right about this one. That Little Bear is the devil. Promises promises, Little Bear.


– See? LIAR!


– By the way, I don’t mention it in the episode but back in 2016 it was reported that Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange were slated to star in The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll. Don’t know how the project is coming along, but I think I’m good on this one.

– And it turns out that Lisa Brown did a great write-up on Curious Pages back in the day. This explains much. Plus, she makes a lot of the points we’ve made here.

– Our readers are so attentive. Elisabeth H. pointed out to us that we really should have alluded to the other books in the series. Like, say, this one:


Which led her to make a book jacket for the series that best sums up a lot of what’s going on:


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. Jennifer Roy says

    Any mention of Edith the Lonely Doll first brings me back decades to when I perceived it innocently. And then the surrealist of it kicks in. Thank you both for a fun read!

  2. Kerry McManus says

    One of my all-time favorite books and one that I read to my three daughters a lot when they were younger! So campy and inappropriate now, but it still holds a vintage appeal. We all just had a great laugh over this blog post!

  3. I had this book as a child and loved it while at the same time being creeped out by it. Read it countless times. I’m still drawn to it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Charity, you’re not the only one. I felt EXACTLY the same way about it when I was a child. It gave me the creeps and I couldn’t get enough of it, all at the same time!

  4. Possible classic pop-ups: Bugs books by David A. Carter or something by Robert Sabuda. Maybe the Christmas Alphabet or the 12 Days of Christmas. Those were the first things that popped into my head.

  5. What a strange and bullying post coming from someone with your credentials. Mocking a classic children’s book seems a very cheap shot for the current Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library and former Youth Materials Specialist of the New York Public Library. It isn’t exactly the way to introduce children or their parents to Dare Wright’s amazing collection, is it? And please don’t respond with the bully’s hackneyed retort, “Can’t you take a joke? I was just having some fun with you.” Posting a defaced cover of “The Lonely Doll” (which is both copyright and trademarked by my LLC) may well be a new first for the library community.

    Brook Ashley
    Dare Wright Media LLC

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I’m sorry you feel that way. In many ways The Lonely Doll is a true classic. As many of the comments here have shown, and as many artists to this day attest, it has been hugely influential on children for generations. I think it is possible to commend both its strong points (Dare Wright’s photography, the emotional tug that has kept it in print for years) and also note the elements that haven’t transitioned as smoothly into the 21st century (the spanking, the gaps in the plot, etc.). I am treating this book the same way I have treated Peter Rabbit, many of the works of Dr. Seuss, Goodnight Moon, and other books considered modern day children’s classics. I think The Lonely Doll is strong enough to take criticism, just as these other classics have. It will, as I’m sure you are aware, outlast and outlive all of us.