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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Alan Stamaty

“It’s like the Where’s Waldo of literature!”

This week we’re celebrating another cult classic picture book (the last one we did, I’d argue, was The Lonely Doll). There aren’t a ton of them out there, but this one certainly earns the designation. The timing of this podcast has much to do with the fact that Mr. Stamaty has just released MacDoodle Street, a collection of his adult strips. In the course of things we discover that this book has 27 pipes, we discuss whether or not Mr. Stamaty really does suffer from horror vacui, and how you would sing the line “Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?”. It fails the stranger danger test magnificently, sure, but we can all get behind its “inspired sense of the absurd.”

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

  • Want to read the original New York Times review of this book by Barbara Bottner? Go no further than here. I think it was keen of them to tap Bottner for this.
  • Okay, so here’s the kicker with the lonely little girl that is never named in the text but loves Sam from afar. You get to the end of the book and you see there’s writing on the sidewalk around her. What does it say? Author James Kennedy was the one who pointed out to me that it’s the first two sentences of the book. How did Kate and I miss that?!?
  • Kate was a bit freaked out by Sam’s eyes here. I consider this the Victoria Chessing of Sam.
  • Nothing like a good old-fashioned stranger danger sequence. My daughter loves this part, because I yell at Sam a lot in this scene.
  • Kate: “If this is what love looks like, I want nothing to do with it.”
  • “You don’t understand how hard I’m trying to come up with a bull/watch pun right now.” Suggestions welcome.
  • Here you can hear Jesse Thorn discussing Who Needs Donuts? It’s more an encapsulation than anything else, but it’s always interesting to hear how other folks take this book.
  • I was so excited when I got this in the mail last week:

This reprint will be available to you tomorrow. It is truly stranger than Who Needs Donuts?, and precedes it by a couple years.

  • Here is the very interesting tweet that Lark alerted us to.
  • And here is Kate’s paint-by-number artist that she likes so much. Her name is Colleen O’Connor. And my Grown-Up Thing I Like is the documentary Knock Down the House which I mistakenly keep calling “Bringing Down the House”.
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. Emily M. says:

    I adore Jesse Thorn and was surprised to hear something so ignorant come out of his mouth. Outside of William Steig and Maurice Sendak picture book pickings get real thin if you’re looking for something more toothsome? What the what?!? I see that episode of the Outshot came out in 2017…I hope he was blasted and then enlightened by librarians/teachers/book lovers around the country for that terrible intro. Anyway–my mother got me a copy of Who Needs Donuts several years ago because she loves it. I appreciate its quirkiness and really do wish I could say the same, but for some reason it just creeps me out too much.

    • Yeah. I basically just wrote him off as ignorant at that point. That’s such a typical thing to hear from someone who likes a picture book from long ago and hasn’t actually bothered to see what was coming out now.

      Creeps you out? What on earth could be creepy about a man taking a boy to an abandoned dark warehouse? I mean, that’s the point where I figure Stamaty’s literally just playing with the adult readers.

      Shoot. I should interview him about it.