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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Blast Off by Linda C. Cain and Susan Rosenbaum, ill. Leo and Diane Dillon

Kate and I are on a perpetual hunt for older children’s books that broke new ground, and show that the history of children’s book publishing could occasionally incorporate a wider variety of voices and styles. Today we take a trip back to 1973 to a book that was originally released just a year after the final Apollo missions. It has now been reprinted for the first time in years by The New York Review Children’s Collection, released just last week. Think that’s good? Kate points out that this is a timely choice since the first civilian mission, The Inspiration 4, just returned to Earth recently. After looking at this book, our ultimate conclusion is that this title would make for a good readaloud. We consider this “Seamless amalgam” of the hands of Leo and Diane Dillon and get to talk about Oscar the Grouch, how nerdy I get on collectionHQ, and a book called Pish-Posh, Said Hironymous Bosh (which I love as a title).

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 ARE doing the 200th episode live! You’ll be able to watch it either on Instagram Live account or my Facebook Live Account this coming Wednesday, September 29th at 8 CST. Just go to

I was just so stumped as to how the Dillons illustrated at the same time. I had decided I’d try to find a video of it, but ran into only dead ends. If you know of one that shows their technique, please let me know! I’ll share it!

It’s really interesting to look at this book since the Dillons were going for a limited palette and very simple art.

Really sets it in time that our heroine just walks over to an empty lot and takes some junk from a junk pile. Not that you can’t find junk in NYC today on the street, but at least now it’s in bags. Our alleys, I’m happy to report, are comparatively clean.

We’re not entirely certain how hygienic that trash can is, by the way. Still, if I remember my 70s lore, public opinion was far more worried about kids playing in empty refrigerators than trash cans.

A new entry in our display of Terrible Fonts of the 70s. Who knew Kate was such a font stickler? First I’ll Get Anthony gets her goat and now this:

Yet what it lack in the font department, I’d argue it more than makes up for in terms of killer design:

So I eventually had to do the research on where this book fell in terms of the Dillons’ full bibliography. Turns out this was the third book they ever did together. Since it came out in 1973, by this point they would have already have won science fiction’s 1971 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. Even so, it was quite early in their career.

Want more recent picture books of young Black girls dreaming of space? Consider Rocket Says Look Up by Nathan Bryon, ill. Dapo Adeola. It’s a really remarkable book.

My definition of estivation, by the way, is completely wrong. Here’s the official definition: “prolonged torpor or dormancy of an animal during a hot or dry period.”

Kate Recommends: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Betsy Recommends: collectionHQ‘s new DEI settings!

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. Am I missing it? Where’s the link to the show? 🙂

  2. Oh, wait. I get it. haha This is the episode you’re doing live. Okie dokie! 🙂

    • Actually this was a case of me completely forgetting to post it.

      Hoo boy! Looks like it’s gonna be that kind of a week. In any case, it’s up now. Sorry for the delay! I’m amazed Kate didn’t catch that.

  3. Stephanie Whelan says

    You should have seen how excited I was when I found out they were reprinting this one! I finally got ahold of a small copy with the help of a friend years ago, but I’m so so so happy it’s back in print.

    • Honestly, Stephanie, I think you are the #1 reason this ever got back in print. It was your blog post about this book that brought it to notable attention.


        I’m just thrilled. It’s been such a focus of mine to highlight this book for the past bunch of years and talk about it, to see it revived is a joy.

  4. I need a Rom Com about the Dillons in college. What a great story!

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