- The Table Sets Itself by Ben Clanton
Little girl Izzy and her pals, Dish, Fork, Knife, Spoon, Cup, and Napkin, are elated when Izzy’s mom decides they can finally set the table themselves. After a few days, they shake up the routine and try out new places for everyone, but Izzy’s parents require a return to the proper order. Dish and Spoon rebel, running away together, sending international postcards to their friends at home, and returning home only after Izzy calls them back. Finally, the utensils assume their proper places … until a pair of friendly chopsticks (friends made on Dish and Spoon’s journey) show up to join the household. Both the subject matter and the abundance of amusing puns (Knife is “really cut up” about Dish and Spoon’s absence, the chopsticks want to “stick around awhile”) hold obvious appeal for fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Spoon and Chopsticks (BCCB 2/12). Bits of visual humor—unicorns make a recurring appearance on a TV show and as an item on a grocery list, and Spoon blushingly toots while standing in Cup, who is filled with milk—add to the fun. The mixed-media [End Page 206] illustrations are clean and elegant, with crisp, graceful pencil outlines keeping the action tidily and attractively contained against plenty of white space; muted blues, browns, and golds are accented with bright red touches while textured elements give the compositions depth. This could be used to prep kids for taking on this evening chore or as part of a silverware-themed storytime; further enrichment could ensue with the addition of a Sharpie and some disposable dinnerware.