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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Not content to examine just Curious George and The Story of Babar, Kate and I round out our look at colonial children’s literature with a rather more serious examination of Helen Bannerman’s Little Black Sambo. That said, we are not content to consider a single version. That’s why our primary focus will be the Christopher Bing edition, with the original Helen Bannerman text:


With extensive consideration given to the Julius Lester / Jerry Pinkney book Sam and the Tigers:


And additional thoughts on The Story of Little Babaji with art by Fred Marcellino


Apologies for the sound quality, which went a little wacky this week.

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:

– Later I would notice that Bing actually has placed a different name in the lower right-hand corner of each page. If anyone has any clue what that means, please let me know.


– Giving the people what they want. Which is to say, a tiger wearing a teeny tiny jacket:


– I spy with my little eye . . .


– Here is the New York Times review of the play Spinning Into Butter.

– And here’s Pinkey, working out the logistics of it:


– Just as a follow-up, I did read all three books to my children. And we had a very serious discussion about the problems with the Bing book and the history behind the story.

– Here’s Kate at the “If I Ran the Zoo” part of Universal Studios. Gahhh!!


This is the Emily Nussbaum review that made me want to be a better reviewer.

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. Yay, you did Sam and the Tigers (sort of…)! Unfortunately, there were far too many other things to discuss (deservedly so!) so I could not really test my hypothesis that Kate is on the side of the tiger. (She’s on the … SIDE OF THE TIGER!!! … that’s how the song goes, right?) Thanks for another great discussion!