by MacLear, Kyo; Arsenault, Isabelle (ILT)

His mum is a spoon, his dad is a fork-and he's a bit of both: he's Spork, a utensil who just doesn't seem to fit into the regimented world of the cutlery drawer, and this is his "multi-cutlery" tale-a humorous and lively commentary on individuality and tolerance, with high-spirited illustrations that capture the experience and emotions of all who have ever wondered about their place in the world.

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.

Young Spork-Mum's a spoon and Dad's a fork-is a little bit of both, creating endless sorting problems in the kitchen. In an attempt to fit in, Spork dons a hat to look more "spoon-ish " and later a crown to fit in with the forks, but neither leads to approval. Finally, a messy baby arrives in the human household-spilling, flinging, and dripping with abandon-and Spork turns out to be the perfect eating utensil. Maclear, the daughter of a British father and Japanese mother, writes knowingly of cultural hybridity, and her message of acceptance will resonate, particularly with parents. Arsenault's digitally assembled, mixed-media illustrations, rendered in gray tones highlighted in red, feature a host of anthropomorphized kitchen utensils sure to delight young listeners. Particularly clever are Spork's fantasies of other combos: a mixer-juicer and a rolling pin-corkscrew, for example. Although the youngest may miss the text's interracial implications, they're sure to catch Mum and Dad's assurances that Spork is perfect just the way he is. Pair with Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Spoon (2009).

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)

Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2022 Follett School Solutions