Wednesday, July 13, 2011


A perfect way to begin a talk about diversity.
Written by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Kids Can Press, 2010
$16.95, ages 3-7, 32 pages

Spork feels like an outcast. "What are you, anyway?" the other utensils ask.

He's neither all spoon like his mum or all fork like his dad, and in the world of utensils, blending cutlery is taboo.

So Spork decides he'll try to be a single thing. Maybe this way he won't be passed over when the table is set.

First he pulls a bowler hat over his points to appear more spoonish, then a crown to look more forkish. But none of it seems right, and all the while he's still left out.

At dinner, Spork glumly watches on as spoons play pea hockey and forks rake swirls in the mashed potatoes, then as they all splash into a sudsy bath.

But then one morning a messy thing arrives in the kitchen and none of the forks or spoons can handle it. Could Spork be just the thing to keep its smears, spills and drips under control?

Playfully billed as a "multi-cutlery" tale, this smart, adorable book shows that everyone has something special to give and it's our differences that make us shine.

I loved that it took a baby, untainted by prejudices, to help this lonely fellow. And the fact that sporks really are handy for babies only adds to the charm.

The illustrations -- soft, retro charcoal sketches with splashes of color and a sprinkle of woodcuts -- endear you to this utensil even before you know his story.

At one point, Spork imagines other utensils with no matching kind and they swirl about him, all adorably different: a hand juicer with beater legs, a pie spatula with a potato masher body.

There is a coziness to the gray palette and a subtle sparkle to select pages: faint jacks-like stars glisten in the backdrop always hinting at a happy ending.

Sweet and gently instructive, this is a must for sporks, spoons and forks alike. The perfect book to bolster a child's spirit and spur a discussion about how to treat one another.

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