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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

It’s the 100th episode! Woohoo! After all this time it’s finally come. The challenge of this episode of the podcast was to come up with a book for #100 that is widely known but that we hadn’t done already. And this book was waiting in the wings all along. Why? Because thanks to a great deal of scholarship out there on the topic, the “Cat” is no longer the simple beloved character he once was considered to be. This isn’t an easy book to do, but we managed it somehow.

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:

  • Speaking of Cat in the Hat movies, let us not forget that some brave soul out there combined the trailer for IT with the Mike Myers version of The Cat in the Hat.
  • Here is Kate’s tattoo for this week’s book. A little fellow I like to call The Saddest Bird in the World.
  • Ah. The grand pantheon of cat-related home invasions. The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Pierre. This.
  • New idea: The fish is Pinocchio’s cricket in fishy form.
  • “I would totally have that Cat help me move. He would BREAK everything, but he could carry it all by himself.”
  • Kate suggested it might exist and, alas, I had to see if Sexy Thing One and Thing Two. Suffice to say, they do. But I’m not embedding any of that stuff on this site. You can go look it up yourself. *shudder*
  • This is the moment when the boy can take no more. When Sally gets clotheslined by the kite. Did anyone out there understand what I meant when I likened this to those old library security features you used to have to push through that would stop if they detected a library book in your bag that you hadn’t checked out?
  • Does the Cat have mittens or gloves? Compare and contrast:
No fingers
  • Sad or peeved? How would you describe this expression?
  • I am not the only woman in the universe who thinks Mom has killer shoes.
  • The other book we use quite a bit in this podcast is Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature and the Need for Diverse Books, also by Phil Nel.
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. Complex doesn’t even begin to describe Dr. Seuss. Without a doubt, The Cat in the Hat is a challenge, from derelict parenting to justifiably anxious kids to cat as chaos maker. In every sense, this book is a classic. It isn’t simple and it rewards multiple readings and reevaluations.
    With all due respect, I have read Philip Nel’s book and I disagree with his premise. Yes, white people practicing blackface minstrelsy is repugnant, and it introduced itself into mainstream culture in all kinds of insidious ways. Was it one small ingredient in Dr. Seuss’s work? Yes. But now his head is on the chopping block,to borrow a metaphor from The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. It is also frustrating that authors like Nel who attack him pay almost no attention to his strong record as an anti-isolationist and champion of the world’s Jews as they were threatened by Hitler:

  2. I read this as a kid and loved the gleeful chaos. I read this to my kids and was floored by a) Why the heck is the mother just leaving her kids home alone all day? (which *never* occurred to me as a child) and b) the psychology: The cat is the embodiment their desire to go wild and crazy with boredom (wishful thinking), and the fish is their conscience (they know making such a mess is wrong but can’t help themselves). Finally, to emphasize that the Cat in the Hat is the embodiment of their wishful thinking, he has a whole machine that speedily cleans up their mess from the day (haven’t we all wanted such a machine in our lives?)