________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 31. . . April 21, 2017



Kyo Maclear. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2010/2017.
32 pp., pbk. & hc, $9.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77138-805-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55337-736-8 (hc.).

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4

As any Boy Scout/Girl Guide or attendee of fancy afternoon teas would know, a spork is a hybrid eating utensil combining a spoon and a fork. The little spork here, named Spork, is the offspring of a proud Mama Spoon and Daddy Fork “who both thought he was perfect just the way he was”.

     But Spork is an oddity in his surroundings.

In his kitchen forks were forks and spoons were spoons.
Cutlery customs were followed closely. Mixing was uncommon.
Naturally, there were rule breakers: knives who loved chopsticks,
tongs who married forks. But such families were unusual

     No attempt to fit himself in with either the spoons or the forks works, and he imagines other tool unions as unlikely as his own. In this reverie, the pictures do the talking as we see a double spread showing such combinations as a cup with a can opener handle, and a juice squeezer with egg beater legs.

     Spork comes to the rescue when a “messy thing”, initially unnamed but eventually revealed to be a wide-eyed baby, finds him to be just the thing for a beginning eater.

Now, a fork may be good for poking and picking. And a spoon may be fine for scooping and stirring. But this messy thing with its slurpy and clumpy half-finished food bits needed something else that could do all sorts of things at once. Something flexible and easy to hold. Something that was neither spoon nor fork but a bit of both.

     And that something is Spork.

     Kyo Maclear shows off the same wacky sense of humour and careful use of a rich vocabulary that we have seen in Julia, Child and The Liszts. She combines this with a gentle lesson on differences and finding your place. Artist Isabelle Arsenault contributes mixed-media illustrations that are a melange of white, black and greys with tomato-red highlights. The pages of the book are full of utensils wearing a variety of facial expressions and moving in all directions. Spork, himself, is a stumpy little character with a winsome face that shows a range of worry, bafflement, and pleasure at being valued in the end. Libraries may have already purchased this light-hearted story with a lesson embedded in it as the book in hand is a paperback reprint of a 2010 hardcover publication.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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