sporks & spoons

 Spoon

by Amy Krauss Rosenthal

Hyperion 2009

All my friends have it so much better than me.” Who hasn’t sang that song at least once or twice?

 This feeling of incompleteness is at the center of our story, where young Spoon is in desperate need of someone to polish his ego. The illustrator provides a glimpse of the exciting times  had by the other folks that share the cutlery drawer. We’re shown forks lassoing spaghetti, chopsticks that tango among the sushi rolls with precision, and knives happily spreading jam on bread. All culinary feats never, ever achieved with a spoon.

 Lucky for him, Mama Spoon is around to reassure her boy that life is indeed grand for their kind. She helps Spoon work through his envy of the other utensils by pointing out what makes him special.  “Your friends will never be able to twirl around in a mug or relax in a hot cup of tea.” And she’s right, you can’t eat ice cream with a knife.

 Mama Spoon ponders to her son, “I wonder if you realize just how lucky you are?” Everyone needs someone to remind them of this time to time, and Rosenthal’s Spoon aims to tell parents that their children need to be tenderly polished not unlike little Spoon.

 And of course, the book doesn’t end without some spooning.

Spork

by Kyo Maclear

Kids Can Press 2010

Spork stuck out.  His mother a spoon, his father a fork, which made him one of a kind in the kitchen drawer they called home. He routinely gets asked, “What are you anyway?”  an experience taken from multiracial author Kyo Maclear’s own life.

A sweet faced little guy. Too round for some, too pointy for others, but perfect in circumstances where nothing else would do. He’s like the kid who never gets picked at kickball. That is, until a new and very messy customer comes to the table giving Spork a chance to prove his utility.

With very similar messages and formats, it would be easy to confuse Rosenthal’s Spoon with Maclear’s Spork. Both books have style and endearing cartoonish leads, but the lovely mixed media illustrations in Spork make it my favorite to look through.

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