Review Blog

Mar 29 2011

Spork by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2011. ISBN 9781921759741.
(Age Yr 2+) Spork was neither a spoon or a fork, but a bit of both. On the surface, this story explores Spork's attempts to fit in with the other kitchen utensils because of the loneliness of difference and exclusion until he finds his niche. But it also works at so many other levels of difference - racial, sexual, medical - and its presentation of a smaller-than-usual font and subtle colourings suggests that this was what both author and illustrator intended. Indeed the author dedicates it to "all the amazing sporks and misfits in my life". On the surface, it is a picture book, but the text opens up many opportunities for talk.
If it were being read to a younger age group, it would be a perfect vehicle for exploring the surface story of being and feeling different and how others do and should respond to that, but there is also scope for using it as a springboard for thinking about those deeper issues. Its audience will respond to it at their own level of development and understanding, and if it is read by a spork, it will even offer comfort. There is a perfect place for you in this world - it just might take a little while to find it.
This book is like its title - a little bit regular, a little bit different and a little bit difficult to define. But it definitely has a place on school library shelves.
Barbara Braxton

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