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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Stop That Ball! by Mike McClintock, ill. Fritz Siebel

We all we have our pet favorite books for children. Some were the ones we loved when we ourselves were kids. Others are the ones we enjoy reading to our own children. And a few are the ones we enjoy hearing our children read when they’re learning how. This book falls into that final category. And part of the reason I love it is how weird it is. Take a trip back in time with us to 1959 where Ball Boy and Stalker Sally go on a series of misadventures as his ball attempts to destroy itself in a myriad number of ways.

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:

We mention that SLJ did an article about this podcast and lo and behold it’s online as well. Visible here!

This is the famous poster created by Fritz Siebel that won the contest that was judged by Eleanor Roosevelt. As we mention on the show, it apparently makes an appearance in The Spanish Prisoner:

And here is what may arguably be Fritz’s most famous creation to this day: Mr. Clean!

Mind you, this marks the moment I went down the Mr. Clean rabbit hole. Wowzah. That is a weird rabbit hole to find yourself down.

Don’t do this at home, kids! Stalker Sally has her skills, but you shouldn’t emulate her.

Only Kate would look at this image and think Pennywise might be down there. Of course now I can’t look at this picture and think anything BUT that.

There was a time when all references to smoking were excised from old children’s books. Guess they missed this guy. I can see why. He’s sneaky.

Kate’s a little weirded out by the lamp in this shot. It appears to be lit. What does he know that we do not?

This is a good friend. He believes in supporting his co-worker’s bum. Tenderly. Like a friend would.

The part of the soda pop man will be played by Dick van Dyke.

Kate thought that this had hints of And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street.

The true mystery of the book: How did Stalker Sally know to be there, in Ball Boy’s backyard, at that exact moment?

Kate Recommends: Dug Days

Betsy Recommends: Stuff the British Stole

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 read this to my kids all the time! About halfway through I start skipping pages though. This is a seriously long drawn-out book. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it!
    Be great!

  2. I started listening in April (I believe Arthur’s Nose was the newest episode at the time). I loved your podcast so much I went back and started at the beginning. I just caught up – in time for the 200th episode! I recently became my library system’s Youth Collection Development Librarian and this has been a valuable tool to learn more about “classic” picture books (some I haven’t heard of or some I just never got around to reading). Thanks so much for keeping me entertained and informed!