A Spoon for Every Bite

Joe Hayes, Author, Rebecca Leer, Illustrator
Joe Hayes, Author, Rebecca Leer, Illustrator Orchard Books (NY) $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-531-09499-0
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-531-08799-2
Prebound-Glued - 128 pages - 978-0-606-29972-5
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-531-07143-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-18936-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-28084-6
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New Mexican storyteller Hayes (The Day It Snowed Tortillas) builds an involving moral tale around an old Hispanic joke about tortillas. A poor, kindly husband and wife invite their rich neighbor over to dinner; the neighbor, realizing his hosts have only three spoons, boasts that he has ""so many spoons in [his] house [he] could use a different one each day of the year."" The wife, unfazed, replies that she has a friend ""who uses a different spoon for every bite he eats."" This galls the rich man, who then squanders his fortune buying spoons for his every bite. In his poverty, he discovers the couple's trickery: their friend's ""spoon for every bite"" is a tortilla. Rendered in warm, earthy pastels, Leer's (The Girl Who Listened to Sinks) illustrations are a potent blend of rusticity and droll melodrama. The exaggerated facial expressions flatter the hyperbolic story line while also helping to clarify for children the moral choices found in this deftly told tale. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
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