- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Kids Can Press (Sept. 1 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1553377362
- ISBN-13: 978-1553377368
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 1 x 24.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Spork Hardcover – Sep 1 2010
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Quill & Quire
Sporks, those laughable combinations of spoon and fork, have been around for a long time, although they have never quite made it into the mainstream of cutlery. In Kyo Maclear’s first picture book, the spork becomes a metaphor for in-betweenness, a symbol for all those who feel they are not quite this and not quite that.
Spork’s mother is a spoon, his father a fork. They love him dearly, but he can’t help feeling a little out of place alongside the carefully sorted utensils, all of which have a clearly defined shape and use. He tries to fit in by emphasizing first his roundness, then his spikes, but no one is fooled.
Spork eventually finds his place at the table when a “messy thing” shows up in the home, announced on the page by a huge red splash, and gradually revealed to be a toddler. For once, Spork is the perfect instrument: easy to grip, easy to stab and scoop with, and just right for a chubby fist.
Isabelle Arsenault’s flat-looking figures, randomized layouts, and limited colour palate are appropriately unconventional, and reminiscent of the wonderful creations of J. Otto Seibold (illustrator of such beloved books as Olive, the Other Reindeer). In one lovely spread, Spork imagines other combinational creatures, and Arsenault conjures up some fine gadgets – an egg timer with a straw, a cheese slicer/potato masher, a rolling-pin that doubles as a corkscrew, even a teapot-and-breadknife gizmo.
Spork’s message, that everyone has a place, is perhaps a little bit tired (at least to adults) but bears repeating, especially to “messy things” who have grown up enough to wonder where they fit in life’s table setting.
... her message of acceptance will resonate, particularly with parents.―Booklist
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.―Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
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.―Publishers Weekly
Arsenault's expressive drawings of an un-happy spork are instantly winning.―The New York Times
... the lighthearted storytelling and whimsical mixed-media illustrations will draw readers in, and adults will find the book to be a useful conversation starter for the topics of race, difference, and acceptance.―School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
You see little Spork doesn't fit in. He sticks out from everyone else and is asked continually, "What are you, anyway?" Poor Spork cannot answer that question because he doesn't know what he is himself. He feels like a complete misfit amidst the traditional cutlery which leaves him feeling lonely, left out and shunned.
He gets a brilliant idea and decides to don a bowler hat and tries to make himself look more "spoonish." Nooooooo... the forks give him a thumbs down on that idea. He creates a paper crown with pointy ends to make himself look more "forkish".... but alas, the conventional forks frown on his crown nixing that idea too. What is this poor little guy supposed to do to belong and to be embraced by those meanies around him? They constantly mock him and give him the cold shoulder. Then miraculouly one morning his life completely changes... and for the better, I might add.
A messy thing arrives on the scene and it smears, spills, flings, clumps and drips food everywhere. All the cutlery are mortified by such unprecedented behaviour and find that they are unable to satisfy the messy thing's need to poke, pick, scoop, stir which turns each meal into a chaotic mess.
Oh my!!! They cry out for help!!! Can anyone save the day? Can this messy thing be appeased? Mmmm... maybe you can guess who just might turn out to be a superhero.
This delightful tale has such a positive message to those who feel they are outsiders and can never belong. It gives hope to those who are different and inspires them not to give up but keep on being exactly who/what they are created to be... unique and valuable. Spork underscores the fact that everyone has a purpose and place of acceptance in this great world of ours.
When The Messy One is plunked in a nearby highchair one day, needing something a little different, there is no better tool for the task at hand.
Very good fun, will be enjoyed by utensils of every colour, size and shape, aged four and up.
Note: the publisher provided a review copy of Spork.
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(Other books that we purchased that might be of interest include: What Do You Do With an Idea, The Most Magnificent Thing, and Rosie Revere, Engineer.)