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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, ill. Barbara Cooney

Starring . . . OUR MOM!

Yes indeed. Susan Blackwell Ramsey herself has come to guest star. Thanksgiving arrived and Kate had the brilliant notion that we should take advantage of our #1 fan and finally do one of her favorite picture books with us (the one we’ve always avoided). So, if you’ve ever listened to our podcast and thought to yourself, “These two ladies sound too similar. I wish there was a THIRD voice that sounded a lot like both of them to join in,” then your prayers have been answered! Mom’s been asking us for years to do Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney’s The Ox-Cart Man, and I’ve eschewed it because I worried Kate would be bored. Was I right? Or was I really really right?

In short, if you’d like to hear two daughters ribbing their mom, this is the podcast episode for YOU!

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:

Mom and I discuss this Slate article that provides a rather magnificent rundown of the history of Donald Hall’s poem and its transformation into a book. It does not, however, include the info about his Caldecott Room loo.

Here’s the Reading Rainbow episode where Lorne Green reads Ox-Cart Man:

Quoth Kate: “If I remember NOTHING in this book, it will be that sheep are sheared in April.”

I’ll give Kate this one. In this illustration it is clear that the daughter and son ran down the hill to wave goodbye to their dad while the mom said something along the lines of, “I am not running down that hill. No way. If I do, I’ll just have to climb back up!”

Does anyone have an idea as to what “Charles Porteous” is referring to here?

Kate is convinced that this kid is stealing apples and that these other two have “shifty eyes.” I love her trust issues.

This is the part Mom feels is the most unrealistic. No human would do this. I don’t care how much you loved that ox.

So mom was able to confirm that Barbara Cooney did a stand up and cheer job with this spinning wheel and the mom spinning linen. Cooney and Zelinsky are two of the rare illustrators that know how to illustrate this particular tool.

“Sheep shearing is a specialist’s art and this man is a generalist. We’re lucky that stuff is coming off at all.”

Mom Recommends: Ted Lasso, now streaming on Apple Plus

Betsy Recommends: Happy Lemon (which I mistakenly call “Lemon Boy” on the recording.

Kate Recommends: ICON Park’s ferris wheel

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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.