Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Spork

Maclear, Kyo (Author)
Arsenault, Isabelle (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2010. 32 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9781553377368 (hardcover)
9781771388054 (paperback)
9781554538447 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view

Award

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award – Finalist – 2011

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

At times children may feel out of place and unnecessary—with family, at school or playing among peers. This story takes some of the sting out, as it portrays a spork’s feelings of not belonging: “At dinnertime he watched from the drawer while the spoons played pea hockey.… He sat off to the side while the forks raked fancy patterns in the mashed potatoes.”

Young readers will be pleased when Spork’s luck changes with the arrival of “a messy thing.” Sophisticated illustrations combine simple forms with touches of fine detailing, such as decorations on silverware and a variety of print-reproduction effects on fruit, fish and a macaroni noodle. One spread shows flatware scurrying in all directions, as splashy dollops of sauce fly from an overturned bowl. In another, they peer from the safety of food tins, while a pencil-scrawled shadow shows Spork in the fist of a giant baby.

In celebration of finding one’s place in the world, the final spread shows a smiling Spork, where he belongs, with a plastic animal-plate on a food-stained tabletop: “Just a bit round. Just a bit pointy. Just right.”

  •  

    If a Spork is a combination of a spoon and a fork, then what could milk and cookies be called? A mix of shampoo and conditioner? Generate a list of other items that are often paired together, and invent appropriate names.

  •  

    How does the illustrator personify the utensils? What emotions are the utensils feeling as they look at Spork (e.g. smugness, pride, superiority, dismay)? Discuss the underlying reasons why you think neither the spoons nor the forks would accept Spork.

  •  Discuss the big idea embedded in this story. Why do you think the author chose a utensil as a main character? Write a story about an inanimate object. 
  •  

    Bring in a picture of an unusual invention. Explain to the class what it does and why it would be useful.

  •  

    From the front cover alone, what do you think Spork is? How do you imagine he feels, and why?

  •  

    Read until the end of the page where the messy thing needs “something else,” a “bit of both.” Predict the ending.

  •  

    Discuss how Spork feels at the beginning of the story. Give examples of how he feels he does not belong with the other cutlery. What does he do to try to fit in? How does he finally feel useful? When can someone feel that they don’t belong? What can you do to help someone fit in at home or at school?

  •  

    Design a colourful bookmark with a drawing or a photo of yourself and a list of qualities that make you different and unique.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Physical Education and Health