Spoon is….a spoon. He is a happy guy, and mostly content. But lately he has started feeling envious of his friends. Knife can cut, and fork is useful for so many tasks, and Chopsticks are cool and exotic. Spoon feels dowdy and plain. But secretly, all of the friends are envious of Spoon! He can be silly, and measure things, and go places by himself. Plus, of course, he gets to dive head first into ice cream!
The message that we are all unique and special in our own ways is strong, but not so didactic that kids will feel like they’re being hit over the head with the moral of the story. The book is fun first, message-laden second. Amy Krouse Rosenthal has written other books that invite the reader to rethink ordinary assumptions, and her experience shows, creating a book that is both sweet and funny. There are a few subtle puns, which are a coordination of illustration and text – such as when his parents invite him to snuggle, and the picture shows them “spooning”. Other humorous highlights include a famous relative that eloped with a dish and a comment that the slightly bent Spoon looks blue and “out of shape”.
The illustrations by Scott Magoon are spot on. The illustration of the Spoon family, with every type of spoon you could possibly think of, from measuring spoons (where the mothering Tablespoon is cuddling what looks like a baby 1/4 of a teaspoon) to a spork that looks like he’s not sure he belongs in the picture. The tea bag that Spoon is relaxing with in another illustration looks like he’s high, but I doubt that kids will pick up on such a subtle image, so I’m not worried about the book being challenged.
Overall, a fun, pleasing choice that is sure to be a hit with kids and parents both.