A Multicultural Cutlery Drawer: Spork by Kyo Maclear

“In his kitchen, forks were forks and spoons were spoons. Cutlery customs were followed closely. Mixing was uncommon.”- Kyo Maclear, Spork

**Disclaimer** I received Spork by Kyo Maclear for free in exchange for my honest review. All views and opinions are my own.

I first saw Spork by Kyo Maclear when I was browsing the Barnes and Noble upcoming releases page. The lovable cover illustration – done by Isabelle Arsenault- drew me in but the description got me. Immediately, I added it to my to-be-purchased list after its paperback (my preferred binding for children’s books) release in April.  When I was offered a chance to review it before the new version was released, I jumped at the opportunity.  This book did not disappoint. It was a pleasure to read.

Spork by Kyo Maclear, is about a utensil whose mom is a spoon and whose dad is a fork and so consequently, he is a mix of both and is a spork. Spork feels lonely and isolated because of his non-traditional background. He struggles to fit in by attempting to be first a spoon and then a fork, but in doing so, he isolates the utensil groups. Ultimately, he embraces his individuality and decides to just be himself. Lo and behold, that is just who he needs to be when a toddler arrives to declare Spork his favorite utensil.

The drawings are charming; mostly grayscale with splashes of red when “the messy thing” arrives. I particularly loved the page with imaginings of other mixed utensil pairings (a colander/funnel, a rolling-pin/corkscrew, etc.) While most of the utensils are harsh or stark, Spork is cuddly looking – a feat for something made of metal.

What I love most about this book is the underlying message: its ok to be yourself. I love  the author’s not-so-subtle take at being a mixed child. This lesson can explain the difficulties faced by bi-racial children or even children of interfaith marriages. The need to identify with two cultures at once was handled in the perfect way for a pre-schooler to understand.

Have you read any children’s book that use creative ways to address hard to discuss subject matter?

A Multicultural Cutlery Drawer: Spork by Kyo MaclearSpork by Kyo Maclear
Published by Kids Can Press Ltd on September 1st 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Family, General, Social Issues, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Themes
Pages: 32
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His mum is a spoon. His dad is a fork. And he's a bit of both. He's Spork!

Spork sticks out in the regimented world of the cutlery drawer. The spoons think he's too pointy, while the forks find him too round. He never gets chosen to be at the table at mealtimes until one day a very messy ... thing arrives in the kitchen who has never heard of cutlery customs. Will Spork finally find his place at the table?

This ?multi-cutlery? tale is a humorous and lively commentary on individuality and tolerance. Its high-spirited illustrations capture the experience and emotions of anyone who has ever wondered about their place in the world.