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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spork, written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. Kids Can Press, 2010. $18.95 ages 2 and up

"In his kitchen, forks were forks and
spoons were spoons. Cutlery customs
were followed closely. Mixing was
uncommon. Naturally, there were
rule breakers: knives who loved
chopsticks, tongs who married forks.
But such families were unusual."

We could call this wonderful little book a tale of bicutlery marriage. Spork is the resulting progeny when his mother and father decide to marry and have a child. He is half of each...a spoon and a fork. He is not sure that he will ever fit into the culture of the kitchen. Neither spoons nor forks seem pleased with his appearance there. The forks think he is too rotund. The spoons think he is too sharp. What's a guy to do?

"At dinnertime, he watched from the drawer while the spoons played pea hockey and skillfully balanced boiled eggs. He sat off to the side while the forks raked fancy patterns in the mashed potatoes and twirled noodles around in complicated circles like rhythmic gymnasts. And at the end of this and every other meal, Spork looked on while the others enjoyed a super-bubbly bath in the sink."

It takes an unknowing and unruly 'messy thing' (a baby) to change Spork's life course. A spoon helped with 'scooping' and 'stirring' and a fork worked for 'poking' and 'picking' but the messy thing needed something more comfortable and useful. Only a spork would suit!

This is the tale of a wondrous character, told in simple and elegant language that will make an entertaining and thoughtful readaloud for families and classrooms. Discussion is sure to follow. Please take the time to look carefully at each illustration and page. The muted tones and silver accents add flavor to the telling and the explosion of red that is messy thing adds drama. Let your imagination run wild and see what other 'mixed' utensil evolves!

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