SPORK – View on Amazon
by Kyo Maclear; illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; Published (2010) by Kids Can Press
He had a mum and a dad who both thought he was perfect just the way he was. But Spork stuck out. 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.
That’s how the book begins. Spork, about an odd piece of cutlery who is neither fork nor spoon and just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the cutlery world, is just great. The idea of a ‘spork’ is delicious and original whereas the theme, well, not so much because it’s the usual protagonist can’t-fit-in-until-his-difference-turns-out-to-be-a-good-thing-for-someone kind of a story. But I like the warmth and the quality of the writing and it’s illustrations meet my ‘two a’s” and “two e’s” criteria: amusing and adorable, exciting and expressive.
Alluding to biracial ethnicity and finding an identity in a world of sameness, it’s a story that anyone who has ever felt out of place for any reason at all can relate to and, hey, who hasn’t? Humourous and touching, sweet and smart, what a good idea – a spork! (You had to think of it.)
Author Kyo Maclear, by the way, is a spork herself, born of a British dad and a Japanese mum. Spork was her first picture book and in that respect, a delightfully respectable first.