Today is the last day of the Picture Book 14:14 which is organized each year by Christie Wright Wild. Be sure to check out her blog Write Wild. Not only can you find links to other PB14:14 posts but throughout the year Christie blogs about picture books, gives helpful advice for writers, posts about agents, discusses website management, and holds contests. In addition to all that, she's a really nice person. A round of applause for Christie for being our awesome PB14:14 hostess. YAY, CHRISTIE!!!!! Thank you.
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Scott Magoon
Word Count: 391
Top 10 Element: conflict
As far as the top ten element for picture books goes, I could have chosen character since the book is written from Spoon's point of view. I could also have picked beginnings and ending because Spoon feels one way at the beginning and the opposite at the end. I also could have chosen them, pattern, or dialogue. This book has used almost all ten elements effectively. But there is no rhyme.
So why did I pick conflict? There are two types of conflict in a book. The physical: it snows so much that you can't go out the door (Blizzard), character is sick and can't do his job (A Sick Dday for Amos Mcgee), character being chased by hungry dragon (Dragon Dinner) OR it can be emotional: character misses friend who moved away, character is afraid of the dark, character lacks confidence, etc. and needs to revolve the internal conflict. This book revolves around the latter, and I think it is very important for children to have books like this. (I also believe children should have a wide variety of books--fairy tales, humor, rhyme, non-fiction, character development stories, and ones that just plain entertain.)
When I first saw this book with the simple title Spoon and a basic illustration on the cover, I didn't think it was going to be a good book. Boy, was I wrong. I love this book. At the beginning of the story we meet Spoon and his family. On this day Spoon is feeling a bit down. He thinks all his friend have it better than he does. They get to do all the cool things. Knife get to cut things and spread things. Fork gets to twirl spaghetti and speer all sorts of things. And everybody loves Chopstick(s). This is a "the green is always greener" kind of story. Except that we all know the grass isn't always greener on the other side. In fact, while Spoon is lamenting his boring life, his friends are all discussing how lucky Spoon is. Knife says "Everyone's so serious with me. No one's ever allowed to be silly with me like they are with spoon." Fork mentions how he never gets to measure things like spoon does. And Chopstick(s) think Spoon is so super cool because he gets to do things alone. Soon Spoon comes to realize that it's not so bad being a spoon.
I like the message of the story but the kicker for me is the subtle humor in the book --for instance, his Aunt Silver being so proper or spoon going stir-crazy. The younger children might not pick up on the humor in those lines but older kids and parents do. And a good picture book has elements that appeal to both crowds. I especially love when Spoon can't sleep and his parents tell him to come into bed with them. His mom says, "Come, Spoon." And then they spoon. Sweet and silly at the same time. Also, there aren't many picture books where a spoon is the main character and original and/or quirky is usually a hit with me.
Yep, this book is a winner. Go out and read it. The author also has written books called Fork and Chopsticks, but I haven't read those yet. If you've read them all, please tell me which one is your favorite.
And if you haven't read spoon, you can hear a class of first-graders reading it at the following youTube link:
Also, the link to other day 14 posts is: