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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback

Hanukkah ends today and do you know what happened? We missed our chance to do a Hanukkah picture book on the show (and I’ve one on order but it won’t come in in time). So, feeling guilty, I thought we should do a good Jewish children’s picture book classic. And to my horror, somehow it took us 207 episodes for me to realize that we didn’t do today’s book. Are you ready to hear us right a great wrong? Because it’s Simms Taback time! Yes, the man who designed the world’s first Happy Meal is here with a GOLD Caldecott Medal. “Look at how it gleams in all its goldy goldiness!” Kate digs deep into the Sholom Aleichem references and we both thoroughly enjoy how well Simms sticks that ending. Enjoy!

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 is Kate’s “Hannukah Hank”, who stands in her front yard right now:

Yeah. You know you want to hear the song they sang in the Weston Woods video (which, I should note, according to Kate is NOT the same tune as the one printed on the sheet music at the back of the book):

We like when a title page is as open and honest as this.

We’re also loving the Fiddler on the Roof references here.

Look at these wedding moves, oh ye people who can’t even do YMCA anymore.

When you know the illustrator is making references to actual people but you don’t know who those people are.

Why are all the townspeople here? Maybe Joseph’s falling pants were a bigger problem than we suspected.

Kate doesn’t select it as her preferred tattoo, but I would gladly sport this buggy-eyed Sigmund Freud any old day of the week.

It’s funny because it’s true.

I reference My Grandfather’s Coat, which is similar, by Jim Aylesworth, ill. Barbara McClintock:

Kate Recommends: Drawn to Life. Here’s a cute little preview:

Betsy Recommends: Encanto

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. As I wrote on the Sydney Taylor Shmooze, (
    there are many, many versions of this story (but Taback’s still wins for art).

    They include:

    Phoebe Gilman’s Something from Nothing

    Bit by Bit by Steve Sanfield, illustrated by Susan Gaber

    I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn, illustrated by Julie Denos

    My Grandfather’s Coat author Jim Aylesworth, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

    Maya’s Blanket: La Manta de Maya by Monica Brown, illustrated by David Diaz

    The Clever Tailor transplants this story (identified on the back cover only as “a European folktale) to India with vibrant illustrations.

    Benjy’s Blanket adapted by Miguel Gouveia and illustrated by Raquel Catalina

    I think there are one or two more that I will try to track down. And those are just the ones I know of!

  2. Pam Hansen says

    I read I had a little overcoat and Something from nothing to first grade each year and have the students compare and contrast the books. I will have to make note of the others in the list.