The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon


GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 2007

Mini Grey

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006

30 pp

Ages:5 +

Interests: nursery rhymes updated, crime and punishment, love stories

This story begins where the old nursery rhyme ends: “… the little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.” The star-crossed lovers travel to the big city, finding fame and fortune as a vaudeville act. However they enjoy the high life a little too much. When the money is all gone they turn to shady money lenders and are soon driven to crime themselves. They rob a bank and hit the road. The dish breaks, while the spoon is deported after a stint in jail. Twenty-five years later they meet up in a junk shop and renew their romance, returning to the circus for a second chance at life.

A classic morality play, covering both “crime doesn’t pay” and “love conquers all”. The carefree, hedonistic 1920s provides a perfect setting for this lurid tale. The dish and spoon are an engaging ‘Bonnie and Clyde’; their talent for diving impetuously into life is what sparks their romance to begin with, but it is also what leads them to jail and misery. What children will take away from this complicated look at true love and passion for living will vary with every reader, but the story is told with great vigour and heart.

I’ve rated it for age 5 at the very youngest because seeing the main characters fall in love with champagne, jewels, and motor cars, and have to turn to crime to support this lifestyle, is a rather complex situation and requires a certain amount of reflection to make sense of it all… for adults as well! There are also a fair share of knives, guns, and extremely threatening situations. (see below)

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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