The pros and cons of urging infants to identify with silverware
Friday, May 8th, 2009
In Amy Krause Rosenthal’s beautiful new picture book, Spoon, the title character is bummed out by his mere spoonness.
As Booklist puts it, the eponymous scooper is “feeling down because his life is not as exciting as those of his friends Knife, Fork, and Chopsticks [an especially worldly couple]. He covets their thrilling jobs and unique styles.” In the end, it turns out that Spoon’s edgier, pointier friends think he’s the man, what with his enviable relationship with ice cream and all. The book is a lovely parable about learning to appreciate what makes you special other than your extremely thin, muscle-less limbs (above right).
While the book alone is quite effective, I would advise parents not to pair it with Tsuneyuki Fujoka’s wooden “European Place-Setting Puzzle” (below). Designed to efficiently overwhelm babies who may or may not need to attend a formal dinner inspired by The Age of Innocence, this $165 set features several types of fork, knife, and plate, each with a thrilling job and unique style, and none of which has time to envy some random spoon’s affinity for frozen dessert because they’re too busy symbolizing the real world, where “specialness” is a more dubious, nuanced, competitive thing.