Spork

Kyo Maclear, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault, Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55337-736-8
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.)
Reviewed on: 08/23/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
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