Follow This Blog: RSS feed
A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas by Russell and Lillian Hoban

“Christmas was coming, and money was more scarce than ever.” How I hadn’t thought to do this picture book for the Christmas holiday season yet is beyond me. I simply adore the Jim Henson adaptation of this book . . . and Kate loathes it. Knowing that, I still gave her the book and we discover that this is the ultimate 2020 COVID Christmas title. I mean, what other holiday book can you name where the characters actually say, “Maybe Christmas next year will be better.” In the course of things I throw down a challenge for our listeners to come up with a classic Kwanzaa picture book, Kate postulates that Emmet Otter’s father may have some second family somewhere (“Only charming people have two families, Betsy”), and we discuss the possibility that Emmet is going to have to take a job as a rumrunner to pay for that piano he wants to get his Ma.

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

Show Notes:

Since this is a Russell and Lillian Hoban title, make sure you listen to us discuss Bread and Jam for Frances in a previous episode.

If you’re curious about the interview I conducted with Russell Hoban in 2010, you can read the transcript here.

SLUUUUUUURP!!! Never lick your washtub base, kids.

Esther Snapper has, “the most disturbing face out of anyone in this entire book.” But hey, when pinch comes to shove, she’ll let you crash at her place for two weeks and use her sewing machine.

“After each act the audience clapped a little and coughed a lot.” Look, if this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that if you are in a crowded auditorium and there is a lot of coughing GET OUT!

Interested in getting your hands on some Emmet Otter swag? Get yer t-shirts here:

This shirt is a reference to this blooper reel from the Jim Henson special:

Or you can get these cute little felted characters for a bit of a high price here:

A couple years ago I discovered that the Emmet Otter characters are in the Center of Puppetry Arts of Atlanta, GA. Check ’em out here:

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 am so glad I’m not the only kidlit professional who thinks movie Mary Poppins blows the book away!

    “When the River Meets the Sea” is one of my absolute favorite songs ever– as sung by Robin and John Denver on the Muppets’ “A Christmas Together” album. I must say the Emmet Otter version grates on the ears. Sorry, Ma Otter, you weren’t winning that contest even without The Nightmare playing. So I sympathize with Kate a little.