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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein, ill. Henry Cole

“I am perfectly willing to believe that this is a stupidflock.” Kate’s getting very fond of giving me challenges. This week? To do another celebrity picture book. I’d already handed her a Julie Andrews, and it’s still too soon to do Madonna. Where does that leave us? Well, let me put it this way: If you wanted to learn about a book based on a film that included in its cast (amongst others) Estelle Getty and Melissa Etheridge, today’s your lucky day. We tackle Harvey Fierstein’s still-in-print picture book, The Sissy Duckling, illustrated by Henry Cole. Cole, for the record, also illustrated And Tango Makes Three, thereby solidifying his status as specializing in bird picture books that defy heteronormative power structures.

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:

If you’re curious about that interview between PW and Harvey Fierstein (where he says some really smart and cogent things) you can find it here.

Ernie & Bert or Punch & Judy?

No need to define these, but the choices are fascinating. Annie Oakley (by way of Ethel Merman in Annie Get Your Gun, I presume) and Barbie?

Henry Cole just knocks it out of the park with this look on Elmer’s face.

There’s a longstanding rumor that Nixon is in Make Way for Ducklings. It’s uncanny but not true. Now I’ve found a duck that looks like Nixon. I suppose that’s a coincidence but it’s still interesting.

This whole sequence looks very familiar to me. Know why? Because it’s what we’ve been doing for the last year or so. This is how you quarantine. Just throw a sourdough starter in there and you’re set.

Kate Recommends: Bailey Sarian

Betsy Recommends: Staged on Hulu

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’ll grant the arm looks Barbieish, but given the context, I’d guess Audrey Hepburn