Yesterday my twins bit each other when an argument between them escalated rather quickly into a violent row. We were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, and I was just about to read aloud to them from Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Spoon, a longstanding dinnertime favorite in our family. My husband and I had selected this book together during our “date night” out during our vacation in the U.S. last summer, when his mother watched our kids so that we could have an evening to ourselves outside of the home. We got in the car and drove straight to Barnes and Noble, where we spent our kid-free evening—um—picking out books for our kids. Spoon caught our attention immediately because of its fetching illustrations of anthropomorphized cutlery—the spoon on the cover has wide eager eyes and a friendly arm raised in greeting.
Only when we began reading did we realize that we were in the hands of a witty, word-loving wonder of a writer—which is to say that her Spoon was in our hands. The eponymous Spoon, we learn, is jealous of the knives and forks, who get to cut and spread and who never go stir-crazy. But then Spoon’s mother reminds him that only he gets to dive head-first into a bowl of ice cream and relax in a hot cup of tea, and Spoon begins to appreciate what only he can enjoy.
The book, on one level, is a simple tale about being content with one’s lot. As indeed, it seems, Amy Krouse Rosenthal was as well. Two weeks ago she had broken my heart and the hearts of thousands of other New York Times readers with her Modern Love column entitled “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” about her love of life and the love of her life, her husband of 26 years whom she would soon be parting with because she was tragically dying of terminal cancer.