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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

AlexanderTerrible1After promising Kate that we’d do a book by a lady, I had to determine the best possible choice. My idea was to look on my old Top 100 Picture Books Poll and see who the top women on there were. #1? Margaret Wise Brown. #2 was Judith Viorst and this book. You know, you never know which books are going to provide you with a plethora of information. This book? Kate had to edit every “um” and “uh” out of the recording to winnow our yammering down to a mere 45 minutes.

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:

– I couldn’t conjure up the name on the spot, but the Boxtrolls movie was based on Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow.

– Here’s the Viorst bio on Wikipedia. I still find it oddly charming.

– Koala or not a koala? You be the judge.


– I dunno. Does this count as a toy in a cereal box?


– The dentist art just cracks me up.


– Kate’s dead right about this one. The wedding ring is on the right hand. I like her theory as to why this is.


– “Kid Power”. With a raised fist. I mean, really.


– Is Ray Cruz dead? Yes, but it was difficult to find that information online. If you look at the webpage dedicated to his papers at the de Grummond collection, they state that “Cruz lived in New York City until his death.”

– I still say this is one of the greatest titles of all time.


– The Trina Schart Hyman book about lima beans was this:


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. If Ray Cruz is still alive, why are there books (by Viorst? I can’t remember) done “in the style of Ray Cruz”?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Often an illustrator doesn’t want to work on a project anymore (or the publisher figures they don’t want to pay them as much) and so books in a series will be done “in the style” of that person. Ironically, Robin Preiss Glaser, who did one of the Alexander books, is herself absent from some of the more low-rent Fancy Nancy books which are done in her style. Cruz, for the record, died quite a while ago.

  2. Unless I am misreading, above you state that Ray Cruz is NOT dead. A typo, I assume, but it confused me!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I had to double check that because it’s definitely something I would do. I wrote, “Is Ray Cruz dead? No, but it was difficult to find that information online.” Was that the confusing sentence, or was it somewhere else in the post?

      • Toni Cameron says

        “Is Ray Cruz Dead? No, but it was difficult to find that information online.” This to me reads that Ray Cruz is alive, since you answer your question with a no.

      • Elizabeth Bird says

        Ah! I see I was reading it wrong on my end. To the change!

  3. On the dad’s office page, I’m betting that the illustration got flipped, because the wristwatch is also on the right hand. Or perhaps the dad is left-handed, and wears both the ring and the watch on his right for the sake of convenience.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I wondered if it was flipped too. Hard to tell. No telltale clock on the page to check.