The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon

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Overview

Mini Grey’s spin on the nursery rhyme classic “Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle” is a love story of sorts that starts when “the dish ran away with the spoon.” In the midst of the Great Depression, Dish and Spoon become rich and famous vaudeville stars—until their taste for the high life puts them in debt to a gang of sharp and shady characters (depicted as evil knives). The cinematic presentation—with a touch of Bonnie and Clyde, a dash of “The Perils of Pauline”—proves that crime doesn’t pay and love ...

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Overview

Mini Grey’s spin on the nursery rhyme classic “Hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle” is a love story of sorts that starts when “the dish ran away with the spoon.” In the midst of the Great Depression, Dish and Spoon become rich and famous vaudeville stars—until their taste for the high life puts them in debt to a gang of sharp and shady characters (depicted as evil knives). The cinematic presentation—with a touch of Bonnie and Clyde, a dash of “The Perils of Pauline”—proves that crime doesn’t pay and love conquers all. A visual treat with new details to discover again and again, here is absurd good fun for the whole family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hey Diddle Diddle" serves as prequel to this delightful swashbuckler, which chronicles the ups and downs of a nursery-rhyme romance. When someone (furry paws imply it's the famous fiddling cat) plays a red disk labeled "Hey Diddle Diddle" on a child-size record player, the Dish and the Spoon sprint into the moonlit night. "How could we resist?" asks the Spoon, who tells their story. In a three-part spread, they leap from an English cliff and sail (like Dahl's Giant Peach) to the Statue of Liberty, with the Dish acting as a raft and the Spoon as a mast with a kerchief sail. In 1920s New York, their acrobatics are a vaudeville sensation. Soon they're driving a cream-yellow roadster and throwing money around with Gatsbyesque abandon. But they squander their cash and end up on Skid Row, among cracked teacups and the sinister Carving Knife Gang. Grey (Traction Man Is Here!) moves briskly from one comic cliffhanger to the next, including a close call on the railroad tracks and a Bonnie-and-Clyde bank heist with tragic consequences for the ceramic moll. Years go by before a tearful reunion in a lowly junk shop (filled with objects from the opening spread), but unlike Randolph Caldecott's shattering version, in which the broken plate does not recover, Grey foresees a future for the antique heroes. She squeezes multiple panels into every spread, alternating between the main plot and clever asides; tiny details chart the couple's showbiz career ("New in Town: The Knife and the Fork") and crime spree ("wanted" posters identify the Dish's "glazed expression" and the silver utensil's "metallic colour"). Sprung from a familiar stanza, this inventive tale of true love will sustain many rereadings by readers of all ages. Ages 6-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
The Dish and the Spoon just can't resist dancing to their tune played on an old phonograph and running away again. And what new and ridiculous adventures they have! Their success in vaudeville gives them the taste for the high life. But soon the money is gone. When they cannot pay back what they have borrowed, they try robbing a bank, but even masked they are recognized. As they flee, the Dish is broken and the Spoon is captured and jailed. Twenty-five years later, out of jail at last, Spoon discovers the broken Dish in a junk shop. As the old record plays again, the two set out, revitalized, to show "a whole new world" their tricks. As portrayed in a variety of frames, we see all the action without missing much contextual details. The main characters, sporting round eyes and dancing legs, are great fun to watch in their various guises. The terse text takes them past the Statue of Liberty in the 1920s, acquiring a snazzy convertible with loot from Tiffany's. The bank robbery is right out of an old Western. Action spills across the pages and in frames as well, with cows jumping over the moon here and there. This jolly good romp promises a possible equally funny sequel.
Children's Literature - Kristopher Richardson
This continuation of a classic nursery rhyme answers the question, "What happened after the dish ran away with the spoon?" It follows these two unlikely companions on a somewhat dark adventure to the big city, where they get their start in show business. Unfortunately for the pair, their rise to the top and their heavy spending lead to their downfall, after which they are replaced by another act. After they accumulate a tremendous amount of debt, the two borrow money from some shady characters: two knives and a wide eyed fork. When the dish and the spoon fail to fulfill their obligations to these shady characters, the dish is kidnapped in an attempt to scare the spoon into settling up. The spoon is forced to hatch a plan, and he and the dish rob a bank and decide to run from the law. Their running catches up with them; the dish ends up broken, and the spoon ends up in jail. After twenty-five years of imprisonment, the spoon is released and is reunited with the dish in a junk shop, where he chooses to reside. This book will serve as a valuable educational tool. It teaches children to be careful with their money, as well as the importance of staying away from shady characters. It also teaches the lessons of hope and not giving up.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-This romanticized, fractured spin on the classic nursery rhyme has the dish and the spoon running away to New York City to seek fortune and fame. They succeed at both, but a nonstop spending spree soon brings them to the door of some "sharp and shady characters" who gladly offer to lend them money. When their "clients" are unable to make their payments, a chase ensues, and, in desperation, the dish and the spoon rob a bank and end up in jail, separated for 25 years. Readers and listeners alike will love the sharp and shady gang in the guise of a meat cleaver, a serrated knife, and a cooking fork with menacing eyes and legs, while the stylish collage illustrations of early-20th-century New York City, in split-screen format, will dazzle and amaze them. The age-old lesson that crime doesn't pay and the poignant beauty of true love enduring the test of time are playfully and delicately portrayed. Combine this contemporary makeover with the classic original for a delightful mix that is full of panache. A whole new generation of youngsters, as well as older kids, will be enthusiastically chanting this nursery rhyme.-Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Huntsville, AL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A loopily nostalgic tale imagines the exploits of the Dish and the Spoon after they ran away. When a gramophone record plays their tune, they can't resist, and leap out the window, over the white cliffs of Dover and across the Atlantic to New York, where they achieve meteoric success as vaudeville stars. Alas, high living and the advent of new acts (the Knife and the Fork) bring them low. Deeply in debt, they attempt to pay off the loan cutlery by robbing a bank, but tragedy ensues: Dish breaks and is deported; Spoon spends 25 years in prison. Spoon's narration has just the right air of world-weariness mixed with wide-eyed idealism to draw readers in to the fun, while the mixed-media illustrations employ full-bleed sequential panels to present the whole story. In one, Dish and Spoon cavort in greenbacks; in another, Dish is held at the mercy of sinister utensils. The deliciously optimistic ending reunites the two lovers in a 1950s junk shop, where they realize new possibilities: "[T]here's a whole new world out there. People who have never seen dishes do tricks with spoons." Hey-diddle-delightful. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375836916
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.03 (w) x 10.17 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Mini Grey is the creator of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award–winning picture book Traction Man Is Here! as well as Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog and Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey. Collectively, the three Traction Man books have received fifteen starred reviews. Her brilliant, quirky humor can also be seen in Toys in Space, Three by the Sea, and Ginger.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    A step back in time with an updated children's rhyme and tune...from a BookLoons.com Reviewer

    'Hey diddle, diddle, The cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon¿ and the dish ran away with the spoon¿' Have you ever wondered what happened to the 'Dish and the Spoon' in that long ago tune? Well¿ in a modern update by English author Mini Grey readers get reacquainted with 'Dish and Spoon'. In an oversize book, the story picks up with a record spinning a particular tune¿ i.e., recognizable by Dish and Spoon as they 'whirled around on the moonlit ocean'. The duo became famous as they performed in a vaudeville show¿ What follows is only natural with fame -- money, a car, jewelry, furs¿ in New York City shopping at Bloomingdale's, Tiffany's¿ Alas, they soon overspend, and borrow from 'A gang of sharp and shady characters¿' (literally, sharp utensils!). And what happens after that¿ as Dish and Spoon are unable to pay back the loan, and tragedy occurs. Oh No! Dish is broken¿ the tale jumps to twenty-five years later, after Dish had done his time in jail. The jacket and inside illustrations are stupendously large, colorful, and wonderful, displaying the Statue of Liberty, the Cows jumping over a Liberty-head coin, a limousine, and the shady, sharp characters, no less. Brrrr! Mini Grey has authored award-winning children's books, including her entrance into the writing field with 'Traction Man Is Here', and 'The Very Smart Pea And The Princess To Be'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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