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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

The first time Kate encountered Madeline, she did not care for her. But what if she encountered yet ANOTHER Madeline title? Would she like it better? Before selecting this week’s book, I guess I hadn’t remembered that there is significantly less Madeline inside of it. Will that help or hurt the book’s chances of becoming a classic? We spend an inordinate amount of time saying “Lord Cucuface”, discuss “the happiness of a father of a husband”, and tackle why the ending of this book bugs me in the same way that the ending of the movie of The Wizard of Oz does.

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:

If you missed it before, here is my interview with Ludwig Bemelmans’ daughter Barbara.

Now the logical part of my brain that controls reason can see that this is simply a hand painted on a wall to give directions while Miss Clavel orients her charges around various sundry objects. Meanwhile there is a part of my brain that agrees with Kate that one of the girls has just face planted into a clock while someone off to the right points and says “Ha ha!”

Note the color of the dog. And that, my friends, is why we need stricter pollution laws.

Kate interprets this dragging of Madeline’s hat in the mud to be an purposeful act of subversion on the part of that little girl. You know. The one who face planted into the clock earlier.

The return of the mysterious 13th girl! Remember that in the first Madeline book there was an extra girl at dinner when Madeline was in the hospital. Now there are 13 girls here fighting over the doggie. Kate noticed it and I double checked. She’s absolutely right. The interloper returns!!

The only thing we can guess is that the girls are learning English. That is, unless you were to believe that dogs are terrible spellers, of course.

“Is that a face? Because that is the face of a DEVIL!” Kate is unnerved by their teacher for some reason. If you mistake the collar for a tongue, you might be able to see why.

Kate interprets this as a very very hairy backed man who either is carrying huge avocados or is transporting tiny watermelons. There can be no middle ground on this. #teamavocado

The Père Lachaise cemetery really is a thrill to visit in Paris. If anyone ever travels again, go and tell me if the kisses are still on Oscar Wilde’s grave.

Kate has written an entire backstory for this poor awakened cook. It’s really something else. Apparently the woman has an allergy to dogs but this is such a great job and she has absolutely no security, so she doesn’t even raise an eyebrow when they wake her up at 2 a.m. to feed their runaway pup. Picture book background character fan fiction is the best fan fiction.

Violence! Terrible wonderful violence!

“Sssoooooooo . . . . let me explain . . . “

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. Thanks for this terrific post. It’s interesting that the dinner guest leaves before brushing her teeth or going to bed. Now you have me counting girls in all the books. In Madeline and the Bad Hat, there are only ten girls in the outdoor exercise class; I guess two opted out. In Madeline’s Rescue cemetery scene, is that a dog on top of Sarah Bernhardt’s grave? And where is the H in Bernhardt’s name? As for parts of the books which are hard to explain to kids, at the top of my list would be the guillotine in Madeline and the Bad Hat. It’s nice to have affectionate fun with works by one of the greatest authors and artists in children’s literature, because none ot these quirks or inconsistencies makes one iota of difference to his stature.