When you're a little bit spoon and little bit fork, where do you go when the table is set? A funny “multi-cutlery” tale for everyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world.
Spork is neither spoon nor fork but, rather, a bit of both. His (spoon) mother and (fork) father think he's perfect just the way he is. Only, Spork stands out. All the other cutlery belongs with those like themselves, and they all have a specific purpose. Spork tries fitting in with the spoons, and then with the forks, but he isn't quite enough like either. Instead, he watches from the drawer at dinnertime as the others get to play with the food and then enjoy a nice warm bath in the sink. But one morning, a “messy thing” arrives. A thing that has obviously never heard of cutlery customs or table manners. Will Spork finally find his place at the table?
In this unconventional celebration of individuality, Kyo Maclear has created a humorous “multi-cutlery” tale for everyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world. The mixed-media artwork by award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault is high-spirited and quirky, providing just the right level of mixed-up-ness to the scenes. Children will appreciate the fun take on the inner lives of cutlery. This picture book is perfect for discussions of individuality and acceptance. But most important, it offers a hopeful and positive message that all of us belong and have a purpose.
Kyo Maclear is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her ever-growing list of acclaimed picture books for children includes Virginia Wolf, The Specific Ocean, The Liszts, Bloom, Story Boat and It Began with a Page. She lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Isabelle Arsenault is a three-time winner of the Governor General's Award for Illustration and has been shortlisted for the Hans Christian Andersen Award; her work has garnered her several more honors besides. She is the illustrator of Virginia Wolf; Jane, the Fox and Me; Cloth Lullaby; and Just Because, among many other books. Isabelle is also the author-illustrator of the A Mile End Kids Story series. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.
... the lighthearted storytelling and whimsical mixed-media illustrations will draw readers in, and adults will find the book to be a useful conversation starter for the topics of race, difference, and acceptance.
... her message of acceptance will resonate, particularly with parents.
It's a story that could wilt under the weight of moral high-mindedness, but the graceful voice of Maclear, making her children's book debut, keeps it light and entertaining.
While some picture-book tales have difficulty promoting the 'different can be good' message without slipping into deep didactism, Maclear's text feels nearly effortless. The inanimate-object identification also pairs brilliantly with Arsenault's melding of mixed media and digital art.
Arsenault's expressive drawings of an un-happy spork are instantly winning.