Sun & Spoon

Sun & Spoon

4.2 23
by Kevin Henkes

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It had been only two months since Spoon Gilmore's grandmother died, but already he was worried that he would forget her. That's why he needed something of Gram's - something special that had belonged to her, something to remember her by.

Spoon wasn't quite sure what the something was, though he knew he would know it when he saw it. But

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It had been only two months since Spoon Gilmore's grandmother died, but already he was worried that he would forget her. That's why he needed something of Gram's - something special that had belonged to her, something to remember her by.

Spoon wasn't quite sure what the something was, though he knew he would know it when he saw it. But Spoon's little sister, Joanie, did not leave him much time to look. She was always following him, demanding attention. Spoon didn't have the time he needed to think, or perhaps he wouldn't have done what he did.

02 Nutmeg State Children's Book Award Masterlist and 00-01 Young Reader's Choice Award Program Masterlist

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Since I have the very best grandchildren in the whole wide world, it was inevitable that I would adore "Sun & Spoon"—a book about a grandson seeking a special something to remind him of his recently deceased grandmother. It certainly helped that the story is exceptionally well told and very well written.

Having just published a book about grandparents, I particularly liked the fact that the plot around which this book revolves will have significant meaning to children who have lost a grandparent, or any loved one. Even adults can't adequately prepare for the loss of someone who has been an integral part of their lives. But children, especially, can be confused by the emotions they feel at such a time. For many, the passing away of a grandparent may well be the first time they are confronted with the upheaval that such a death causes to the immediate family. By reading "Sun & Spoon," children faced with the death of a loved one will be comforted in learning that they are not alone in the feelings that come over them during this difficult time. And the coping suggestions subtly made in the book—making a notebook about the deceased grandparent and finding a special memento—are very valuable ones that will hopefully be imitated by many readers.

Henkes is an experienced writer, so he makes sure that it's not just the relationship between ten-year-old Spoon and his late grandmother that unfolds but also those between Spoon and his younger sister, his parents, his older brother, and his grandfather. In each instance, the reader picks up useful insights on theinteractions that take place within a family—information that can be very helpful in dealing with real-life relationships they may encounter within their own family. Of particular importance is the reaction of Spoon's grandfather to losing his wife—his sadness, the changes in his habits. Sometimes it is harder for children to deal with the changes that take place within the character of the surviving spouse than the emotions caused by the disappearance of the person that died, because the personality changes in the survivor are constantly visible to children.

Children may try to push the deceased person out of their mind in order not to have to deal with the pain that accompanies the memories. It is very important that this does not occur, because emotions that are buried can cause more damage later on. Yet parents are prone to protect their children, even though by doing so they are not allowing them to come to terms with the process of mourning. Pyschologically speaking, Spoon's insistence of trying to keep his grandmother's memory alive is a very important example to give to children.

And then, like the chocolate nestled in the center of a Tootsie Pop, is the lesson learned about telling the truth. Subtly delivered, because Spoon's lie is not really so bad, the message comes across more strongly, I believe, than if Spoon had lied maliciously. He finds himself in a situation that any kid might, torn between revealing what he's done or merely trying to right the wrong. His choice is not the easy way out, but the right way.

Rereading what I have written, I see that I've used the word "subtly" several times, and it is that quality that I find of special value. The topic of death is not one easily dealt with, which is why I believe that Henkes should be congratulated for handling it with care while at the same time creating a story that will interest and offer valuable advice to all children, even those who haven't yet had to deal with death.

I heartily recommend "Sun & Spoon." Though I would like to believe that I will last forever, I know the time will come when my grandchildren will have to face the loss of their Omi [grandmother], just as they have already lost their grandfather. I could wish them no better tool to help them deal with such circumstances than to read this book. Recommended for ages 8 and up.—Dr. Ruth Westheimer

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Sun & Spoon by Kevin Henkes

Part One: The Search

SPOON GILMORE'S GRANDMOTHER had been dead for two months when he realized that he wanted something special of hers to keep. This thought came to him in the middle of a hot, sticky July night and nagged at him off and on until morning.

It was all he could think about at breakfast. He was sitting alone at the kitchen table having the same breakfast he had almost every morning -- a bowl of Cap'n Crunch and a glass of grape juice. His hand wobbled and his juice glass grazed his cheek, nearly missing his mouth, he was so preoccupied. Juice dribbled down his chin. He wiped the juice with the back of his hand, then wiped his hand on his T-shirt.

Something of Gram's. Spoon had been dreaming about her since her death. Not frightening dreams. But dreams in which she would pass through a room quickly, or be sitting in a chair in a shadowy corner, watching. At first, the dreams were constant, every night, but they were growing less frequent. Spoon was afraid of losing what little was left of her -- his memories. He was afraid of forgetting her. That's why he wanted something of hers.

He didn't know exactly what he had in mind, but he knew what he didn't have in mind: a photograph. Spoon disliked photographs of himself and he assumed that that's the way it was with most people. It surely had been the case with Gram, who, upon seeing a photo of herself, would sniff, disgusted, and brush it aside. A photograph of Gram would not work. A photograph definitely was not what he was looking for. He needed something of Gram's that had been important to her. And he didn't want the "something" to be a girl thing like a necklace or a pin or an earring.

What could it be?

Sunlight shone through the large kitchen window, turning the tabletop white. Out the window Spoon could see his parents already at work in the garden. His father, Scott, was a fourth-grade teacher and his mother, Kay, taught art at the same school, Lincoln Elementary, to all the grades, kindergarten through fifth. Because they both had the summers free, they had become devoted gardeners over the years. Scott was most interested in vegetables and his compost bin, and Kay spent most of her time with her flowers. From dawn until dusk, day in and day out, all summer long, they could usually be found in the garden.

This particular summer was supposed to have been different, though. The entire family had planned to travel by car from their home in Madison, Wisconsin, to Eugene, Oregon, where Spoon's maternal grandmother, Evie, lived. They were going to take their time, stop along the way, see things that most people miss because of their hurried pace. But Spoon's other grandmother, the one who had lived in Madison just five blocks away, had died suddenly in May of a heart attack. Gram. Pa lived alone now in the house Spoon's father had grown up in.

"Mom and I can't leave Pa alone in Madison for the summer," Scott had told his three children early in June, glancing from one to the next to the next, then looking away and jingling the change in his pocket. Sadness showed in his eyes and in the droop of his shoulders. "Even if we'd cut the trip short...I can't do it. So the trip we planned is canceled. We'll try again next year. But Mom and I talked with Evie. And she'll fly any or all of you out west if you want to go. For as long as you'd like. So think about it...."

Joanie, who was six, couldn't bear to leave her mother.

Charlie, who was twelve, said yes instantly.

And Spoon, who was ten and in the middle, thought and thought and thought before finally saying no.

Charlie called him a baby. And maybe he was. But this was the first time someone he loved would be gone forever. He didn't like to think about the forever part. But when he did, which was often, the only place he wanted to be was home.

Evie's husband, Henry, had died long before Spoon was born, so Spoon only knew him through stories and photographs. He felt no real connection to Henry, but his connection to Gram was strong.

With his gaze fixed steadily on his bowl of Cap'n Crunch and his arms encircling it, Spoon sat as if in a trance, racking his brain for a solution. Something of Gram's. What could it be?

He sat and sat.

The cereal had become soggy. The milk in the bowl had turned a yellowy color, inedible. I've come up with nothing, Spoon thought, and I've wasted breakfast. He frowned at the bowl and pushed it away.

"I thought you liked Cap'n Crunch," said Joanie, popping up from behind the counter. She had the annoying habit of surprising Spoon, turning up when he least expected it. And this summer she was worse than ever.

He ignored her, rising from the table and placing his dishes in the sink.

"You can have some of my Floopies," she told him. That's what she called Froot Loops, the only cereal she would eat. "But you can't read the box. You'll fill your head with too much stuff. And then you won't have room for other stuff."

Spoon turned toward her and shot her a look that said, You're crazy.

"Do you think we'll get a postcard from Charlie today?" Joanie asked in her high-pitched voice.

"Do I care?" He did. But he would never let on. He was still by the sink with his back to her, and he could feel her presence like a persistent itch. He decided to do the few dishes there were, hoping she'd be gone by the time he finished.

Joanie stood behind Spoon, waiting, clutching the handle of her little green-and-black plaid canvas suitcase. Despite the heat, she was wearing her red hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. Her head looked pointy like an elf's. The sweatshirt had first been Charlie's, then Spoon's, and now it belonged to Joanie. She loved it the way other children love blankets or teddy bears. The cuffs were ragged, little holes had cropped up along the seams as if the stitches were rotting, and because it had been worn and laundered so many times it wasn't actually red any longer but the pale washy color of watermelon flesh.

"I can help you," Joanie offered, banging her suitcase against her knees.

"Nope. I'm almost done." His dishes were washed and rinsed and in the drying rack, but he continued to swish his hands about in the water for effect.

"Want to see what's in my suitcase?"

"I already know what's in your suitcase. Twigs."

"It's full of bones," Joanie said in a fierce whisper. "And I've got some new ones."

"They're twigs, not bones."

"They are bones. The bones of trees!" she shrieked. "And I collect them." She hopped with delight, a tiny hop.

Spoon spun around, drying his hands on a dish towel. He gently tapped Joanie's head. "Just as I thought," he said. "Hollow."

As usual, Joanie just smiled at Spoon's insult, which always put him in a low mood. Charlie's insults could diminish Spoon, and he wondered why he didn't have the same power over Joanie.

"What are you going to do today?" Joanie asked.

"Whatever it is, you're not included," is what Spoon said, but he was smart enough to know that she would try to follow him no matter how hard he wished it to be otherwise. The privacy that he needed today would not be easy to come by. After tossing the dish towel on the table, Spoon set his jaw and looked at Joanie with narrow eyes, trying to send a message: Do not tag along today.

I've got to get moving, he thought. I've got to get something of Gram's. First, he'd ask permission from his parents to walk to Pa's house, and then he'd be on his way. He headed for the back door.

"Where are you going?"

No response.

"Where are you going?"

No response.

Joanie slipped in front of her brother. "Where are you going?" she asked again, her voice musical, her blue eyes round. Her ability to wear him down was uncanny.

"I've got an important project to work on," Spoon replied under his breath in exasperation. Instantly he was regretful. He hated himself for being such a big mouth, so he pinched his leg as hard as he could, imagining that it was Joanie he was pinching.

"Tell me, tell me!" Joanie jumped up and down, scraping the wall with her suitcase. "Where are you going?"

Spoon was losing his temper. The wings of his nostrils flared and reddened. "Okay!" he shouted, giving in. "Okay! I'm going over to Pa's. But you're not coming with me. Repeat after me: I will not follow you."

"I will not," was all Joanie managed to repeat, so as not to lie. Her cheeks flushed with excitement.

But Spoon didn't even hear her. He was already out the door. He was trying another tactic. He was running as fast as he could.

Excerpt from SUN & SPOON by Kevin Henkes. Copyright © 1997 by Kevin Henkes. Used by permission of Greenwillow Books, a division of William Morrow & Company, Inc.

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What People are saying about this

Ruth Westheimer
"....the story is exceptionally well told and ver well written... The topic is not one easily dealth with, which is why I bellieve that Mr. Henkes should be congratulated for handling it with care while at the same time creating a story that will interest all children, even those who haven't yet had to deal with death, and give valuable advice. I heartily recommend Sun & Spoon." -- (Dr. Ruth)

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Sun and Spoon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is funny and it can relate to alot of people in many ways!!! this book is awesome for beginers and for whom ever... YOU HAVE TO READ IT!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful read. Poignant and funny. So simple and yet it carries a tender message. This is one of my favorite books! It's a quick read and worth every minute! I plan on reading others by the same author.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was soooooooooo good! It talks about family affairs and I think that was very interesting. Good work, Mr. Henkes!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys drama, conflict, and humor. It's about a ten year old boy named Spoon. His grandma passed away recently. He becomes scared he might forget her. So he winds up taking something that he wasn't supposed to have taken. Spoon then feels a lot of guilt building up inside of him. But in the end, he finds a way through everything. Many could probably relate to this story. When a loved one passes away, you want to remember them. Sun & Spoon is a great read, so pick it up and read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this story when I was 10 and I still love it today. It is a must read for those that are soft at heart! Kevin Henkes is a wonderful author and coming from an experience with him, he is a wonderful person in real life. Enjoy reading 'Sun and Spoon!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is about a kid named Spoon. His grandma died and he wanted something to remember her by, but not a picture. He went to Pa's house and took a deck of grams cards with suns on them. He did not ask Pa. Pa was sad when he knew the cards were missing. Read the book to find out what Spoon does. I liked the book because it's about doing the right thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Spoon Gilmore needs something to remember his grandmother by.He doesn't want a photo.He dislikes photos.When he goes to Pa's one day, he takes grams deck of cards. Spoon feels very guilty and gram keeps showing up in his dreams. How will Spoon give them back with out anyone noticing he took them?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Spoon has just had his Gram die and he thinks he needs something to remember her by because he dosen't want to forget her. So he goes to his Pa's house and looks around and he finds something perfect!But he dosen't tell anyone about them. But then he starts feeling guilty about them.Will he return them?, what are they?,read this book Sun and Spoon to find out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sun and Spoon is a good book for people who like feeling books. Sun and Spoon is about a boy named Spoon whose grandma dies. Spoon wants to have something to remember her by. It turns out the thing Spoon takes is important to Pa, Gram's husband. When Pa finds out what happened what will happen? Read Sun and Spoon to find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like the book because it has lots of energetic feelings. Like when Spoon pushed Joanie down in the mud and Joanie cried and said 'I knew you wouldn't be nice to me forever.' It is a good book about family feelings. I recommend it to people with caring personalities.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sun and Spoon is about a boy named Spoon who needs something to remember his grandmother by. He is worried he won't remember at all. His pesky little sister Joanie is always hanging around, so its harder for Spoon to find something. Will Spoon ever find something? Find out when you read this great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a great book! I recemend it highly! It is about a kid named Spoon. His grandmother died and he is afraid he is going to forget her so he tries to find something to keep her memories within him. He finds something but doesn't get it the right way. Once you read it you will know what I mean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hola! Ok sorry I thought you were Sunburst! Ha! Did you want to talk about something else? ~ Lilywolf &hearts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good! Lol. I only cuss guys out on here. Irl I don't really have problems with guys cuz I'm homeschooled and Ii only know like two. Lol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got locked out of our sun res and thw sexclan main camp res -shadowmist
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You gonna tell me yet?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hth srry bye
gloria42 More than 1 year ago
we expected more, didnt like it at all