Is Sterling a dog…or a fork? Or a whisk? Or a lamp?
Sterling just wants to find a home and his forever family. When he sneaks into the Butlery Cutlery Company truck and gets delivered along with a bunch of forks to the Gilbert family, they decide to keep him. Sterling is determined to be the best fork ever! But when he notices that this middle-class mixed-race family can eat a whole meal “with just their fingers,” he worries they don’t need forks. The young, dog-loving girl of the house tries her best to help him be his doggy self, but Sterling cannot lose the idea he must be something else. Colorful, vibrant, and amusing illustrations carry the story, depicting a happy, loving family, with expressive faces on the humans as well as on the small dachshund Sterling. The dark-haired, brown-skinned mother is shown occasionally wearing a salwar kameez, pointing to South Asian heritage. Authentic touches, such as the light-haired, light-skinned father’s rumpled clothes and multiple pictures of dogs above the young girl’s bed, make the family and house feel friendly and comfortable. This silly story has an important lesson about just being yourself, but it gets hung up in Sterling’s shenanigans—the idea of a dog trying to be a fork is just too absurd to move beyond.
This well-meaning, amusing story is too much premise and not enough execution. (Picture book. 3-6)