Places, Everyone? The Table Sets Itself by Ben Clanton
IZZY AND HER FRIENDS--DISH, FORK, KNIFE, AND SPOON, CUP, AND NAPKIN--HAD BEEN WAITING FOR WHAT FELT LIKE A BIGILLION YEARS TO SET THE TABLE THEMSELVES.
At first Izzy and her table mates are only too pleased to put everything in its proper position on their place mats. But after what seems like a bazillion times, the bunch are bored with the sameness of their settings. Cup is fed up.
Izzy begins to improvise with the her settings. Some of her ideas are cute in conception but lousy in layout:
SOME OF THEM WERE RECIPES FOR DISASTER!
Spilled milk is a minor matter, nothing to cry over, but Izzy should have known what was going to unfold when she put the spoon in the dish instead of beside it. True to tradition, the Dish runs away with the Spoon, and the whole family has to cope with the elopement. Their mealtime pattern is broken, and the thrill is gone: Place Mat feels flat, Cup feels empty inside, and Knife's life is dull. Everyone is upset by the breakup of the set. It's not even heart-warming when they begin to receive predictable postcards from the two, honeymooning in the Far East:
"FINE CHINA IN CHINA!"
Even the pot is steamed, the teapot is steeped in dismay, in this unsettling tale of tabletop tragedy! There's many a slip between cup and lip, but there's hardly a blip between pun and fun in Ben Clanton's lighthearted look at chore time in his latest, The Table Sets Itself (Walker, 2013). Wordplay abounds in this tale of table setting gone awry, done up in Clanton's comic watercolor illustrations that are as light and silly as this story itself.