Review: Spork by Kyo Maclear

Spork is the hybrid of a mother spoon and a father fork. This marriage is rare in the utensil world, as cutlery remains segregated.   With his points and roundness in conflict with each other, Spork does not fit in with the other spoons or forks. He attempts to artificially change his appearance but fails. Useless and lonely, Spork contemplates his existence on the dinner table. One day, a messy creature struggles to use the other utensils, and Spork seizes the opportunity to shine.   Unafraid, he rushes in to save the meal. This “messy thing” turns out to be a baby, and Spork is just what this infant needs—a little bit of everything—to eat. Maclear notes that she too is a “Spork,” coming from a biracial household with a British father and Japanese mother. A story about interracial relations and fitting in, Spork is a unique way to explain acceptance, differences,…

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Book Review: All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann

A kindergarten to third grade nonfiction read, All Birds Have Anxiety describes the debilitating and all-pervasive nature of severe anxiety, juxtaposing emotions with beautiful yet telling pictures of birds. Hoopmann explains how everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives and why certain anxiety can be good for achieving goals and working harder and faster when needed. Unfortunately, others have more anxiety, even when everything is going well, that prohibits everyday functioning. Negative and even frightening anxiety, as Hoopmann writes, is when nothing gets done, we want to be left alone, we cancel plans, and we feel as though everything is out of control. There are coping mechanisms such as cuddling with a pet, exercise, eating well, and going for walks, and Hoopmann ends on an optimistic note with a variety of solutions. Medication and therapy are not discussed. As other critics have mentioned, the text in All Birds…

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Book Review: Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

Argyle Fox just wants to play outside. As he heads out the door, he grabs his cards. Unfortunately it is quite the blustery day, and Argyle’s card house and even the tiny birds are blown away. Not deterred, Argyle returns home and gathers up more toys. Armed with a fake spider, he makes a giant web even though the squirrels warn Argyle that it is too windy. As predicted, Argyle’s web topples over into a giant mess.   Over and over again, the wind foils Argyle’s fun plans, but he persists, ignoring either arrogantly or optimistically the advice of the other woodland creatures. Eventually heading home in complete frustration, Argyle’s mom gently tells him to think a little harder. Inspired and not yet defeated, Argyle builds a kite that perfectly compliments this windy day. In what can only be an act of contrition, he also builds all of his little forest…

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