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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble, ill. Steven Kellogg

DayJimmysBoaIt’s the Memento of the 1980s! Take a trip back in time with me to 1980 on the nosey. An era when children apparently eschewed backpacks for satchels and school lunches were just as elaborate as those in Bread and Jam for Frances. Don’t believe me? Then you haven’t taken an up close and personal deep dive into one of Kellogg’s most famous stories. Kate had never seen a Steven Kellogg book on the show before, so I figured I’d give this one a go. It’s perfect for us since Kellogg was the master of the peculiar detail. He’s an illustrator that rewards close readings and, for this, we salute him.

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:

– “Is that a sloth?” From far enough away . . . kinda? Sorta? The back of her head does become more sloth-like, the longer I stare at it.


– This was the recent Noble book that I liked a couple years ago: The Legend of the Jersey Devil. Didn’t Gerald Kelley give it such a nice cover?


– I get that it’s so that Jimmy’s boa doesn’t look ridiculous when it emerges, but it’s still hard to justify why exactly the children carry satchels and not backpacks in this book.


– Man. Check out this mom, rocking the competing patterns. Who will win: The sunflowers or the daisies? You decide!


– I pray that one day we can find the happiness that this bee is finding in this rose. Now why exactly did it stick its nose in there?


– Okay, experts. New question for you: Why is this racing uniform sporting the flag of Great Britain?


– This book came out long before the mix of comics and picture books had any kind of respect in the marketplace. As such, I get a real kick watching the ways in which Kellogg uses these speech bubbles.


– “Who packs a sugar bowl for their lunch, Betsy?” I had no idea, when I handed this book to Kate that this would be yet another book of incredibly elaborate lunches.


– How many hands or fingers are we dealing with here? Clearly one of these kids is missing a hand.


– This is definitely the kind of dress I wore in the 80s. Only I wasn’t cool enough to have the matchiing socks.


– If anyone out there can tell me what the 1980s board game of my youth involving chickens was, I invite the information.

– Who knew chickens where strong enough to break through glass?


– No one does laughing cats like Kellogg does.


– Woman on the edge of a nervous breakdown.


– Quoth the Bus Driver: I was a young man once.





– Kellogg passes the knitting needle test for the win!! As a reminder for those of you playing at home, you lose points if you illustrate someone knitting where the ends of the needles are pointed straight up.


– I only knew about this book as a kid because of Reading Rainbow. Take a trip back in time with me, kids!

– And now, the sequels you might have missed:




– Awww. Take a gander at this stuffed Doctor De Soto! Isn’t he adorable?


– And finally, check out this killer art that refers back to Bread and Jam for Frances by Mikela Prevost. This is amazing!!!


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. I carried a satchel to school in the 70’s. I didn’t get my first backpack till I was in college in the early 80’s.So satchels instead of backpacks would have made sense in 1980 when this book was written.

  2. The board game was probably Count Your Chickens. All I remember is that the Army Corps of Engineers were the bad guys, as were neighbors who objected to roosters, and the cast-pewter pieces were detailed and magnificent.

    • Thank you! I should have asked you in the first place. Didn’t remember that the Army Corps of Engineers were the baddies. That’s like making the EPA the villain in Ghostbusters.

  3. Genevieve says:

    Yearning after someone else’s fancy brought-to-school lunch is a major plot point in “What’s For Lunch, Charley?” by Margaret Hodges, illus. by Aliki (1961).

    • A 1961 Aliki illustrated book?!?

      Okay. We might have to do this just because I’ve never heard of it but love the creators AND it would fit in very well with our overall theme at the moment.