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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

My children mocked MOCKED me, I say, when I informed them that Kate and I had not yet discussed Chrysanthemum on the podcast. Why the shock and horror? Well, apparently we’d done 176 episodes and yet completely failed to acknowledge what could arguably be called Kevin Henkes’s most famous picture book. Why the bold claim? Well, insofar as I can tell, 21st century children find themselves being read this book MULTIPLE times during the course of their school career. And why not? This is peak Henkes, back when he was in the thick of his mouse-related picture books phase. And now, Kate and I are able to right a great wrong. And we have so many questions! Why does Victoria always wear gloves? What’s that furry thing coming out of Chrysanthemum’s pocket? Where else would Mrs. Chud like to be? And finally, could this book really be written today?

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:

One thing that I failed to mention in the course of this podcast is that Kevin Henkes has a new novel out this year. Billy Miller Makes a Wish, the sequel to The Year of Billy Miller, is out April 6th. So, soon!

To read the only interview with Kevin Henkes I was able to find about writing Chrysanthemum, go here.

That lower middle picture is the one we feel best shows Chrysanthemum being a boss with her shades and purple overalls.

My current working theory is that Mrs. Chud has Checked. Out. Evidently she’s retiring next year and is just counting down the days.

Sleeping mice or dead mice? Naptime just got a lot more harrowing.

I am impressed that BOTH parents are home to greet Chrysanthemum after a bad day. Now that is luxury, kid.

MMA. Modern Mouse Art.

Sleep well under your blanket of coronaviruses, Chrysanthemum.

We’re seriously wondering about those books that Chrysanthemum’s dad is reading. He’s also always giving her the side-eye, like he’s worried she’ll see what he’s up to. Honey, don’t worry about it. She’s in Kindergarten. She can’t read yet. You’re fine.

Oh, sweet wonderful Internet. You’ve never steered me wrong. I want a Mrs. Twinkle costume and the world simply provides. Even the tail is right!

And speaking of tails, we are just baffled by the one sticking out of Chrysanthemum’s pocket. Is it alive? Is it not alive? And which is worse?

I have always loved the vindictiveness of the ending of this book. Screw you, Victoria! I am LAUGHING in your FACE on STAGE!!!

And finally, this book came in at #66 on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll, back in the day.

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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.