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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

haroldandpurpleOne of the rare instances where the laptop stopped recording us right before the end of our podcast. The important thing is that we were able to fully discuss the book. The sad thing is that we lost our Letters and our Grown-Up Things We Like. Ah well. Next week then. This particular week we take on Crockett Johnson’s best known work (sorry, Carrot Seed) and come up with everything from arboreal semantics to Ursula Nordstrom as a hard knocks dame to . . . well . . . Genesis.

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:

– Just to be clear, this is the massive book I pull out for Kate at the beginning of the program:


– What truly was Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings? Behold!

– I’ve seen some apple trees in my time and you, sir, are no apple tree.


– Nine different kinds of clams!


– Kate’s latest desired tattoo.  And for the first time, I completely agree with her on this:


– The porcupine tattoo doesn’t exist. But here are some Harold tattoos that DO exist:


HaroldTat2Tattoo by Dave Dillon in 2007 at the Tattoo Factory in Chicago.


– “On to” vs. “onto”. Which is it?!?

– Here’s Ernie. And I looked it up. Ernie in It’s a Wonderful Life is the cab driver. Ah well.


– I’m going to work in a Ursula Nordstrom letter into every single podcast from here on in. Kate nails her.

– Here is what I do believe is the earliest Harold short created. It. Is. Charming.

– And here is the HBO television show. You will note that everything Harold draws can move. This aligns the new Harold closer to Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings more than anything else:

– Here’s the Glam Rock Opera version. Very catchy.

– And finally, here’s where the book showed up on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll: #16.

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. Eliza Klureza says:

    Hi! Is there any likelihood of getting transcripts of your podcast? It would be extremely valuable for folks with deafness or other hearing challenges.

  2. That is a kickass potential tattoo. (Must admit, better than the Bread and Jam for Frances tiny vase of violets I was mulling.) I do NOT want to bite Kate’s idea — UNETHICAL, like stealing the baby name Seven — but if she decides against the purple porcupine, DIBS!

  3. How did you two miss that the back-city tattoo is Chicago?

  4. Yes, I DO remember “Pinwheel”, though “Simon in the land of chalk drawings” only vaguely. So, other people did see that!

    “A Deserving Porcupine” was the subtitle of my blog once.

    This is probably my favorite picture book, but I didn’t appreciate it until I was an adult. I, too, found it REEEELLY creepy as a child. It was a little too much for me to handle that there wasn’t an actual REALITY there. But as an adult it blows my mind in a good way. Does that make it a good CHILDREN’S book or not? …all the children I’ve shared it with seem to have enjoyed it, though, so maybe we’re the weirdos.