A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
MARCH 7:

  • Happy birthday Joanne Rocklin (This Book is Haunted) and Jane Dyer (Sugar Cookies).
  • It’s the birth date of Margaret Goff Clark (1913-2003), Freedom Crossing.
  • In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for the telephone. Read Telephone by Kornei Chukovsky, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky.
  • Who knew? It’s National Crown Roast of Pork Day. Read The Silver Crown by Robert C. O’Brien, Love and Roast Chicken by Barbara Knutson, and A Perfect Pork Stew by Paul Brett Johnson.
  • It's World Read Aloud Day. Try the book of the day or the one listed for March 9, Cornelia Funke's Inkheart.

Today marks National Cereal Day, so raise a glass of milk or a cup of coffee to your favorite brand. Americans are, as group, addicted to cereal. I recently a saw a Facebook post by someone overseas who lamented she could not get her favorite American cereal in this foreign country. Our book of the day, Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, features a page with cereal—but its focus rests on the utensil that makes cereal eating possible.

Inanimate objects sometimes make great protagonists for children’s books—Mary Anne the steam shovel in Mike Mulligan and Little Toot the tugboat, to name a couple of stellar examples. Still it remains difficult to pull off a book about nonhuman or nonanimal protagonists successfully. Readers don’t naturally identify with a spoon—unless the author and illustrator are very clever.

We first meet Spoon and Spoon’s family (who have been patterned after real collectible spoons—wooden, slotted, salt, and souvenir) via a fabulous double-page spread of all kinds of expressive and varied objects. Then the author sets out the dilemma. Although it would seem that the little spoon has a perfect life, he is feeling blue. Jealousy has set in—it seems to him that Fork, Knife, and Chopsticks have a better deal. Chopsticks in particular seem “really cool and exotic.” At night Mom gives the needed perspective when tucking the small utensil into bed. His friends never get to dive headfirst into ice cream or clink against a cereal bowl. Later that night, when Spoon can’t sleep, he tucks himself into bed with the parents, as they nestle like spoons.

Krouse Rosenthal’s text, both spare and sweet, provides just the right amount of room for Scott Magoon to work his illustration magic. From endpapers showing Knife, Fork, Spoon, and Chopsticks to the final page of Spoon dreaming about all the things he can eat, every page has been given character, action, and emotional touches. Long before the end of the book, readers have done something extraordinary—they have grown to love a spoon! An art director in his day job, Magoon is a master at dividing text, keeping the pacing just right, alternating layouts, and moving readers to the next page. Ideal for even the youngest reader, Spoon has been used successfully for children nine months through five years. Fortunately for all its many fans, a companion volume, Chopsticks, was published in January.

I know when I pick up my spoon today to celebrate National Cereal Day, I’m going to check and see if it has an expressive eyes and mouth. I just wish this particular spoon family lived in my silverware box. Oh, well, at least they are alive in a very beguiling and satisfying picture book.

Here’s a page from Spoon:

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Originally posted March 7, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: Food, Humor, Imagination
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Spoon
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COMMENTS

  1. Andrena says:

    This cover is to die for!! I love it!

  2. Erica S. says:

    I hadn’t heard of Spoon, but I am a huge cereal lover – I will have to check this book out!

  3. Jamie Tan says:

    This is one of my favorite picture books ever, because of how well it treats the idea of “the grass is always greener.” I can’t wait for Chopsticks!

  4. suzi w. says:

    oh how fun! will have to remember to look for this one!!

  5. Nora says:

    I just finished reading Chopsticks – it is just as delightful as Spoon.

  6. G. Perry says:

    Great little book.

    And, I don’t know if oats qualify as cereal, but I had old fashioned oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts this morning, (with an orange on the side) and my spoon seemed quite happy with the whole thing.

    Munch, crunch, munch..

  7. suzi w. says:

    I remember this one floating through Technical Services when it came in. (Oh, the joy of a new book, just barcoded and covered.) I will have to request chopsticks. I loved Amy’s adult book The Encyclopedia of…oh darn, it’s left me as fast as I was able to retrieve it on Google.

    I’ll be skipping cereal today too, but probably using a spoon. (blueberries and greek yogurt. Today is the day I meet with my not-Dr. DeSoto.)

    xo,
    Suzi W.

  8. Amy F says:

    Just had my raisin bran today. Used teaspoon so it would last longer.

  9. Gabby says:

    This book is a favorite in our house! I hope my girls will internalize its important message, which is presented so sweetly.

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