Spork

Spork

by Kyo Maclear, Isabelle Arsenault
     
 

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His mum is a spoon. His dad is a fork. And he's a bit of both. He's Spork!

Spork sticks out in the regimented world of the cutlery drawer. The spoons think he's too pointy, while the forks find him too round. He never gets chosen to be at the table at mealtimes until one day a very messy ... thing arrives in the kitchen who has never heard of cutlery

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Overview

His mum is a spoon. His dad is a fork. And he's a bit of both. He's Spork!

Spork sticks out in the regimented world of the cutlery drawer. The spoons think he's too pointy, while the forks find him too round. He never gets chosen to be at the table at mealtimes until one day a very messy ... thing arrives in the kitchen who has never heard of cutlery customs. Will Spork finally find his place at the table?

This ?multi-cutlery? tale is a humorous and lively commentary on individuality and tolerance. Its high-spirited illustrations capture the experience and emotions of anyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Half spoon, half fork, stumpy Spork is the product of a mixed marriage. He always feels left out at dinnertime, and "after the billionth time he was asked, ‘What are you, anyway?' " he attempts to remake himself. "He put on a bowler hat to look more spoonish," and when that falls flat, he makes a paper crown "to look more forkish." Only the arrival of "a messy thing" that smears, spills, and sends the other cutlery flying provides the opportunity for Spork to shine, as "something that could do all sorts of things at once. Something flexible and easy to hold." The next-to-last page reveals that the "messy thing" is an enormous baby in a bib, who regards Spork fondly as she prepares to dig in. Arsenault (Mr. Gauguin's Heart) renders the various pieces of cutlery with scrawly, mixed- media artwork in muted grays and greens, reflecting the glumness and isolation Spork feels. 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. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
It is hard to be different, even if you are tableware. Because his mother is a spoon and his father a fork, little Spork stands apart in the kitchen. No matter how hard he tries to look more spoon-ish, or more fork-ish, he is still not accepted by the other utensils. He watches as the others are used and then enjoy "a super-bubbly bath in the sink." One day, however, "a messy thing" arrives in the household. There are cries from abused spoons and forks; this creature seems to need "something else." When it spots Spork, it gurgles instead of complaining. For that is what this obviously young child needs to eat. Spork is "just right." There is a casualness to the mainly gray illustrations, touched with red, rendered in mixed media and assembled digitally. The perky anthropomorphic tableware could easily be from a child's imagination. Part of the fun in this otherwise serious-minded examination of prejudice is in grasping who the "messy thing" is and how Spork meets its needs. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—Spork is the offspring of a spoon mum and a fork dad, and he feels like a misfit. He watches despondently from the drawer while the other silverware is put on the table. One day, a "messy thing" with no table manners arrives, causing panic among the utensils. Spork's self-esteem is assuaged at last when he turns out to be just what the baby needs to feed itself. While the positive portrayal of a "mixed-race" character is heartwarming, the story's climax actually weakens the metaphor. Spork accepts himself only after receiving the external validation of being used by the infant. Despite the love of parents who think he's perfect, he never really learns to love himself. That said, 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.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews

Children of mixed marriages are about to find an unlikely ally in their cutlery drawers. Spork stands out. With a spoon for a mum and a fork for a dad, Spork is simultaneously too round and too pointy to fit in. Time and again he's passed over at the dinner table. That is, until the day a "messy thing" joins the family and everyone sees that when it comes to managing its baby food only a true spork will do. 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. Against the mostly black-and-white images, the frenzied red globs of the baby's food explode off the printed page. Immediate comparisons are bound to be made to Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Spoon (illustrated by Scott Magoon, 2009), but any good kitchen has room for both. A sublime little parable. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781553377368
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
295,318
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
740L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Kyo Maclear is an award-winning writer and novelist. Her first book for children, Spork, has received a number of honors, including a 2011 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award nomination. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Isabelle Arsenault has illustrated several children's books, including Spork, My Letter to the World and Other Poems and Mr. Gaugin's Heart. She has received many awards for her work, including the Governor General's Award for Illustration. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.

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