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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg

“If this really is the ghost of the broom, I hope it hacks the men to pieces!”

Our search for potential Halloween classics continues!! This week we turned our eyes back to good old Chris Van Allsburg. Previously seen on a Halloween-centric episode of our show with The Stranger, he has returned! This book is from 1992, and it’s had a relative amount of success. What we end up loving about it, though, is how female-centric it is. It’s all about women helping women helping women. Look at how the men in the book are even treated. A fascinating tale that passes the Bechdel-Wallace Test with flying colors.

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:

Here’s the 25th anniversary edition cover. I’m not sure that I like it better. I do wonder if it contains any behind-the-scenes information.

We want these boots. No. You do not understand. We WANT these boots! Someone who knows Chris Van Allsburg, ask him where the model for this picture got those boots!

This is the “Defying Gravity” moment in the book. Seriously. We got some major Elphaba energy going on here. For the record, I love when Kate looks at that nose and says, “There are no bears in that cave!” You know what she means.

I am convinced that this is the greatest two-page wordless spread in any Chris Van Allsburg book. The cartoony Wile E. Coyote-esque images are fascinating. Please note (A) that the dog is fine and (B) that this is actually Mr. Van Allsburg’s dog and he has put it in a lot of his own books.

Please, if you get a chance, you MUST check out Slap Happy Larry’s relatively recent blog post The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg Picturebook Analysis. This will occupy you all day, and is a great deep dive into the subject matter.

If you’re interested in this claim that there’s a bog not far from Evanston, Illinois, here’s the link that Shannon provided.

Betsy Recommends: Stanislaw Lem’s A Perfect Vacuum.

Kate Recommends: Squid Game

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.