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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night by Peter Spier

FoxWentOutChillyNightI run a blog for my job at Evanston Public Library on the side. The way I tend to distinguish it from this site is that the blog is mostly concerned with adult titles and other library-related affairs. Well, recently I reprinted my favorite Ogden Nash poem of all time Don’t Cry, Darling. It’s Blood All Right. The poem declares loudly the bloodthirsty nature of little children. And speaking of bloodthirsty, I’ve pretty much found the bloodiest Caldecott Honor winner out there (though you’re allowed to try to find one bloodier if you’d like to prove me wrong). Technically blood never mars the pages, but you can pretty much assume what’s happening off-screen, as it were. And it’s a fantastic introduction to the autumn season! Win-win! In the course of things, Kate and I debate the degree to which Mr. and Mrs. Fox are starving their children, what precisely is going on with the Giggle-Gaggle household, and what a “skulk”/”leash” is.

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:

– In case you missed it last time, here’s Tricky Dick on a swan boat. Or is it?


– The Burl Ives version of the Fox song is slightly different from the one I’m accustomed to, but it’s clearly the same thing:

– The Peter, Paul, and Mary version is the one I’m working off of:

– I’m just imagining the HGTV show that examines fox design choices. Maybe that new Trading Spaces should take a crack at it?


– It is difficult not to admire the technical artistry that must go into the watercolor image of a shadow on water in the moonlight.


– I think it was the tears that got to Kate the most. Geese being eaten she can take. But crying? That’s just salt in the wound.


– And here is the cat family, safely out of range because at least one person on this farm knows exactly what to expect that night.


– Fox: I’ma bite your neck.

Goose: Ex-CUSE me?


– This image Kate found caught me completely off guard. How is this a good idea? The smoke blowing shows that there’s clearly a wind too.


– I have a new theory about this Civil War monument since I spoke with Kate. Hang on to me here. After considering the evidence I’m pretty sure that it was the son of John and his wife that died in the war. Consider it. First we see the name on the monument:


And then later we see this portrait in the Giggle Gaggle bedroom.


This would explain why John is the one who has to get out of bed instead of a younger son running down that fox.

– Only my sister could look at two owls in a tree and instantly christen them the Statler and Waldorf of the book.


– By the way, Kate assures me that a pack of foxes is actually called a “skulk” or a “leash”. The more you know.

– To completely appreciate the back cover of this book it’s important to view it as a whole. Here is the jacket in full:


Get a little closer and you can see the duck and goose flying for their lives:


And high up above, a portent of things to come:


– The owl not only has a mouse (rat?) in its claws there but also on the title page:


– Good news! On you can find a lot of children’s author and illustrators names and their pronunciations. And when I looked it up, oh my! Here is Peter Spier himself pronouncing his name. Turns out, we got it mostly right!

– And if you’re in a mood to listen to even more pronunciations, Merriam-Webster doing “ouabain” truly is a treat.

– I’m just so thrilled that the new Evanston children’s bookstore Booked is slated to open September 21st. All those of you in town, stop by!

– We checked Snopes and it turns out that Steve Buscemi, former firefighter, really did help out on 9/11.


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. This was a favorite of mine as a kid and as a parent.
    I’m partial to the Pete Seeger version of the song.

  2. Another fun version of this song just came out on Peter Hollens’s new album, Legendary Folk Songs. The official music video on his YouTube channel features his adorable 4 year old as the fox ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. One of my all time favorites! to add to the list of covers of this song, my personal fave is Nickel Creek’s version!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I have to say, I’m getting a huge kick out of all the different versions people are mentioning here.

  4. My favorite is Harry Belafonte from 1954! It has a calypso feel.

  5. Laura Veirs does a great verison on her album Tumble Bee. The song is just listed as The Fox.