HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon
Author: Janet Stevens
Illustrator: Susan Stevens Crummel
Publisher: Scholastic, republished in 2002
ISBN-13: 978-0152022983 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0152022988 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0439390132 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0439390133 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 5 – 8
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stevens, Janet. And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon (published in 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers). I suppose that everyone is familiar with the old Mother Goose nursery rhyme, “The Cat and the Fiddle.”
“Hey diddle diddle! The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such a sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
However, have you ever thought about what happens each night after it’s read? Every night the rhyme gets read. Every night Dish and Spoon run away. And every night they return–until one night Where can Dish and Spoon be? The rhyme can’t go on without them, so the fiddle-playing Cat, the sleepy, moon-hopping Cow, and the laughing Dog set out by the light of the silvery moon to search for their missing friends. But where to start? Should they go north? East? Northeast? They’ll just have to read the map which Fork “made a stab” at drawing, ask directions Humpty Dumpty’s repairmen, the Three Bears, and Jack That Built the House, and try not to get lost in Little Boy Blue’s haystack or under Miss Muffet’s tuffet or in Big Bad Wolf’s kitchen. “FEE, FI, FO . . .” Oh no! Could that be Jack’s giant?
Author Janet Stevens and illustrator Susan Stevens Crummel pick up where the nursery rhyme leaves off in this very clever and witty story, serving up a concoction of broad, “punny” jokes and visual treats with lively scenes and hilarious facial expressions. Our boys liked the book, but there are a couple of possible negatives. There might be those who think that the attitudes of some of the characters are a bit more than “sarcastic” but are downright rude, so parents may want to discuss the language, pointing out that it isn’t always very nice. Also, sensitive children could find the scene where things get ugly at the big bad wolf’s house a bit frightening. Otherwise, this exciting romp might be used to teach more than one lesson, like how to read a (scribbled) map, how to assess the intentions of others (the wolf), and how to go about asking for help from others. Stevens is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Tops and Bottoms. She and her sister-collaborator had previously teamed up on Cook-a-Doodle-Doo!, Shoe Town, and Tumbleweed Stew.