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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, ill. John Schoenherr

Having failed to secure a proper Fourth of July picture book (and really, isn’t the 4th soooo yesterday?) I decided instead to take several listener recommendations and go all in on Jane Yolen’s 1987 Caldecott Award winner. What better book to look at on these hot July days than a cold story of moonlit driven snow on a wintery night? Kate and I try to make weird owl noises, debate why we don’t eat them for food, and play the game of “Guess How Many Books Jane Yolen Has Written.”

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:

You can read Jane Yolen’s thoughts on the book here and her editor Patricia Lee Gauch’s thoughts on the book here.

Personally I have great affection for day for night scenes. It looks like it’s 9 a.m. but I think that’s only because the sky is so light. Can we assume that this happens in the country sometimes?

I like that Schoenherr really captured how kids have to lift their feet up high above the snow in order to keep up with their parents. Also, are those moon boots? Extra points if they’re moon boots.

The most impressive image of an owl in any book, pretty much ever.

Quoth the owl: “What… a waste… of my.. TIME!”

How did it do on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll on SLJ? In 2012 it was #30.

Kate Recommends: The Olympics (and please bear in mind that we recorded this before we knew who Sha’Carri Richardson was or that she wouldn’t be allowed to compete this year)

Betsy Recommends: The recent episode of Sawbones on Physician Burnout.

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. Heather D says

    Hello Ladies,

    It’s Heather again.  Wait? Did I hear my name?  Hold on…  I have to put on headphones & turn up the volume.  YAY! I did hear my name.  Hi Kate and Besty!

    As with Kate the Great and her canine companion, we have to hunker down on Independence Day.   My little family lives in a place with a disproportionate number of scofflaws.  Most of these people are out of town visitors who have decided to drive to a local beach or stay at a nearby Air BNB where they proceed to break every law of the land and good sense regarding fireworks.  Worse yet, we’re in the midst of a drought– so the FD is on high alert.  As a result, our usual Sunday dinner has been punctuated with “the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,” giving Francis Scott Key’s poem a whole different meaning.

    Long story (and day) later— kiddo all tucked in and finally asleep (four berry 4th of July pie may have been involved) —  I decided to stop by my favourite podcast.  I had intended to give Episode 69 How the Grinch Stole Christmas another listen.  Fuse 8 n Kate loyalists may remember that the ladies identify with the Grinch over noise pollution. To my suprise, a new episode was posted.  Even better–  it was a title I knew!
    That being said, I reckon a lot of folks were a little confused.  Here we are, it’s the middle of summer, everyone is prepared to hear a 4th of July classic…  Aaaand Betsy brought Kate a book set on a quiet snowy night in winter.  I imagine that one would have the same feeling as walking into a local cafe with every intention of having the usual delicious hot beverage. Only to be told that the espresso / coffee brewing machines are broken and the only option is iced latte from the cold case.

    Kudos to Kate for giving Owl Moon a fair shot (I’m certain there’s a great Hamilton joke in there somewhere that I’m just not clever enough to find).  I get Kate’s reluctance to support a family outing that; “Has all these rules” on Independence day.  My read on this part of the story is that the main (kid) character was listing her own set of rules to remind herself of what she had been told by other “big” kids. 

    Earlier in the story we learn that there are older siblings who had similar walks in the woods.  Perhaps this kiddo is saying to herself;  “You’re big enough and brave enough to go on a night walk with Dad.  If you’re quiet, maybe you can see an owl.  Even if you don’t see an owl, you still get a special walk with Dad”.   I’m so very pleased to hear that Kate enjoyed (some) of the art including ” Spot the forest animal”.  Hopefully the big reveal of the owl near the end of the book was worth it.

    Betsy’s observations about the “evocative writing” really resonated with me.  TBH that’s why I consider this book a classic.  I believe most folks can imagine what it would be like to go for a quiet walk with their parent and/or child.  Admittedly, sometimes it’s a little easier than others. Betsy is such a pro she can express what makes a quiet, little, winter book like Owl Moon work on the loudest, largest day of summer .
    Well done ladies! 

    Meanwhile, I have already marked my calendar for next year’s 4th of July for the final reveal of Betsy’s original choice for a (potentially) classic title to review.

    Many thanks,
    Heather D 
    PSInstead of weird owl sounds how’s about Weird Al?  Here’s a fun video for the Grammar Police