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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Pierre by Maurice Sendak

Pierre1After delving so deeply into problematic picture books in February, Kate and I deserve a bit of a rest. And what, I ask, could be more restful than carnivorous animals devouring small boys? Particularly when said lions are the product of the inimitable and never imitated Maurice Sendak. This marks Sendak’s third appearance on the podcast, and the first time he’s shown up with a book that wasn’t associated with the Wild Things/In the Night Kitchen/Outside Over There triumvirate. In the course of things we uncover a conspiracy that involves Pierre’s parents and the lion. I mean, this thing goes all the way to the top! We also debate whether or not the doctor is a vet or not. Feel free to chime in with thoughts on the matter.

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:

– As we mentioned, the remarkable artist Andrea Tsurumi heard Kate’s plea for someone to draw us as the Chaos/Order Muppets we truly are at heart. She responded with this spectacular image:

Chaos:Order Muppets (Tsurumi)

Andrea won’t take money from us for this, but she does suggest the charity Everytown for Gun Safety so in addition to that, I figured I’d promote it here.

– I kind of want to list all the Home Invasion By Felines books out there. This. The Cat in the Hat. The Tiger Who Came to Tea. There must be more.

– Here’s the video where Kate saw Pierre pirouette so sublimely into the yawning gap.

– And here’s Amanda Palmer performing the self-same song:

– You see? The lion is giving the boy every conceivable out.


– I think we’re onto something with the idea that this was an inside job. Those parents aren’t that surprised to find the lion. Just surprised not to see Pierre anymore.


– I don’t care if he’s a vet or a doc. Whatever that man is doing to build up his upper arm strength, I want some!


– Here’s the book coming out later this year that I mentioned. It is actually called I Just Ate My Friend. Part of a long tradition of picture books in which the protagonist gets eaten.


– Here’s the picture I showed Kate from the other Pierre that Sendak did. It is, to coin a phrase, the mere tip of the iceberg with this particular book. They get a bit saucier by this, if you can believe it.


– And finally, this isn’t my library’s book display (which has been going out surprisingly well) but it’s the image I based my display upon. Enjoy:


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. K. Harris says:

    There’s William Bee’s Whatever.

  2. What about a series of Books in Which Doctors/Vets Get Animals to Cough Up Living Beings They’ve Eaten? Pierre and Bark, George would head the list.

  3. Emily Petermann says:

    In Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children (1907) the first child gets eaten by a lion for running away from his nurse: “Jim, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.” Here, too, the parents are not particularly bothered, saying essentially that it served him right!

    • Emily Petermann says:

      He doesn’t get coughed up afterwards, though, but actually dies.

      (Also, while there are no actual lions in Edward Gorey’s “Gashlycrumb Tinies,” little Basil does get devoured by bears.)

      • Elizabeth Bird says:

        I tell ya, man. It’s an old and storied genre in and of itself. Good call on Basil! I always forget about him (poor Basil).

  4. When I asked my 10yo what Whatever reminded her of, she didn’t come up with Pierre but she did come up with the “ladies first!” story in Free to Be You and Me.

  5. Not Now, Bernard by McKee!