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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Miss Nelson Is Missing! by Harry Allard and James Marshall

MissNelsonMissing1I don’t think I expected to get into an in-depth conversation about Miss Nelson’s cosplay as Viola Swamp, and why precisely she chooses to do so, but that’s the kind of podcast this is. Along the way Kate and I get into what the Wicked Witch of the West might have been wearing under that dress, the fact that butterflies were angry about the gas crisis in the 70s, and whether or not Viola Swamp talks like Katharine Hepburn (special bonus: Kate and I do the worst celebrity imitations of all time).

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:

– Here is the sign that Kate held up of Viola Swamp at a protest this year.


– As God is my witness, I never realized this book was set in Texas. I probably should have noticed the sheer number of Alamos that showed up in this book.


– Here’s a link to the website that discusses James Marshall’s gravestone. We spoke about it at length at the Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature website here.

– Kate’s right about this one. There be a granny in them thar hills!


– The books the kids are reading. Those titles are really quite remarkable.


– I suspect that when one puts together a Viola Swamp costume, the tights must be the hardest part.


– I stand by my opinion that Marshall was perfectly aware that the math was wrong in this picture:


– Detective McSmogg: Tiny hands. Terrible tie.


– In retrospect, I don’t think she’s taking out her garbage. I think she was just grocery shopping and is coming home.


– Kate’s right. The eyes on this shark ARE scary.


– But this sign is the boss.


– What year is this car? No, seriously.


– Fascinating. This is where Kate’s evidence clearly comes into play.


– Lashes or no lashes? You be the judge.


– The Reading Rainbow episode is completely available here.

– No. Mr. Rogers was NOT a Navy Seal. Kate.

– Actually, the Brittany Murphy movie was called Don’t Say a Word.

– Here’s the New York Times review of There’s a Mystery There by Jonathan Cott.

– And here’s a shot of the poster of my library’s upcoming Drag Queen Storytime. My library rules! Check out that killer selection of books she’ll be reading.



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. Seeing as your sister was so cavalier about the Miss Nelson twist, I dove for the pause button when Infinity War came up but was about a second too late (two parter wha?!). Worth it though, I liked hearing your deconstructions of the book and want to offer two things: 1) simplest explanation for Miss Nelson’s jalopy might be, you know, teacher’s salary and 2) the book is “Facts and More Facts”. But no facts about China in there, I guess. I never noticed the Peking/Beijing thing being more concerned with how that huge chalkboard is at the back of the class. Thanks for the show!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Excellent point about the teacher’s salary. I’m going to have to mention that on our next next podcast (just recorded one last night, so it’ll have to wait another week). And that IS a huge blackboard, isn’t it? Apparently all the money not going to paying teachers is instead being funneled into Big Blackboard (so to speak).

  2. I love this book! I’ve been reading it on outreach visits and I’ve been surprised at how many teachers don’t know this book. I mean, I am assuming they don’t know it based on the most amazing gasps that I’ve heard when they realize the twist. It’s almost better than the kids’ reactions.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Should you ever wish to reassure yourself that there are at least some teachers in the world familiar with it, I highly recommend plunging down the rabbit hole that is Viola Swamp costumes on Google Image. Warning: You may never emerge.