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"Maisy, Charley, And The Wobbly Tooth"
Written by Lucy Cousins
Illustrated by Lucy Cousins
(Candlewick, 2006)

Another nice, brainless Maisy book, wherein Maisy and all the gang go with Charley on a (potentially) scary visit to the dentist's office. Maisy holds Charley's hand while the dentist x-rays the wobbly tooth and tells Charley that it's a baby tooth that's about the fall out; later it does, and Charley is happy because that means the Tooth Fairy (played by Tallulah) will come for a visit. Charley also learns to brush his teeth -- all in all, a nice going-to-the-dentist book. As with all Maisy books, it's simple and to the point, and the artwork is clear, colorful and visually appealing. Nice to see the supportiveness of the friends, too. Good book to read if your kid's about to lose one of those hard-earned chompers. (B)


"Dear Tooth Fairy"
Written by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Illustrated by Marie-Lousie Fitzpatrick
(Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2003)

A genuinely funny book about losing one's baby teeth... A girl named Claire, who just turned six, is anxious to get underway, and writes letters to the Tooth Fairy, letting her know that she is ready, willing and able to lose that first tooth. Things really start to get fun when the Tooth Fairy starts to write back, and in the course of their dialogue, we meet Claire's friends Amanda and Jimmy, who are both ready to lose their baby teeth, too. The story is full of humor that parents will enjoy -- and that kids may cotton onto as well -- and the text is complimented by beautiful, creative artwork. A nice entry point into a potentially difficult subject... Parents who are leery of the bribery aspect of the Tooth Fairy myth (leaving money under the pillow, etc.) are advised that in this book the TF leaves a buck behind... Mostly, though, it's about a little girl's eagerness to grow big, even while she enjoys the fantasy world of being small. Recommended. (B+)


"April And Esme, Tooth Fairies"
Written by Bob Graham
Illustrated by Bob Graham
(Candlewick, 2010)

Two young tooth fairies, sisters April and Esme Underhill, go out on their first big tooth-gathering expedition, while their anxious parents wait at home, hoping their kids stay safe. The girls are raring to go, and while they hit a couple of snags, basically all goes well. Their home life is packed with the funky, alterna-vibe of other Bob Graham families, the parents are concerned but casual, their house is snug but slightly shabby. I'm a big fan of Bob Graham's work though I have to admit that this book felt forced and fell a little flat for me... Also, this particular literalization of the tooth fairy mythos comes off as a little creepy -- it's the Underhill family business, which is fine, but it's the way they keep old baby teeth hanging off the rafters in their house that seems a bit weird. I suppose overall the story is innocuous, although I was disappointed considering how much I love Graham's other stuff. (B-)


"Rosie's Baby Tooth"
Written by Maryann Macdonald
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
(Macmillan/Atheneum, 1991)

A little rabbit named Rosie has her first baby tooth coming out soon, and there is much talk of the Tooth Fairy making a visit. Rosie is less upset by losing the tooth as she is about the Tooth Fairy wanting to take it away, and so she hides it rather than put it under her pillow. Daddy Bunny comes up with a compromise -- the TF offers to mount the little tooth on a necklace chain, so Rosie can keep it forever... The idea of carrying a dead tooth around as jewelry is kinda creepy (why not just let her keep the darn thing?) but the exchange of letters between Rosie and the Fairy is really cute, and the early Melissa Sweet artwork is nice as well. A reasonably good book for bringing up the whole baby tooth thing. (B-)


"I Have A Loose Tooth"
Written by Sally Noll
Illustrated by Sally Noll
(Greenwillow, 2000)

A girl with a loose tooth goes around town telling everyone she sees that it's about to come out, but they all mis-hear what she says, saying things like, "Luce Ruth, what a lovely name!" in response. The hearing-her-wrong device doesn't really ring true (maybe if Noll had explained that the loose tooth was making her talk funny, it would make more sense?) but the book still serves as a gentle introduction to the idea of losing baby teeth -- nothing bad happens, and there's no talk of the Tooth Fairy or other persuasion devices (in case that sort of thing bugs you...) It's okay, not great... At least it brings the topic up in a fun, playful context... (C+)


"Doctor De Soto"
Written by William Steig
Illustrated by William Steig
(Farrar, Strauss & Giraux, 1982)

A very clever, if slightly morbid tale about a diminutive dentist who happens to be a mouse and what happens when he sees a fox as a patient, taking pity on the carnivorous client with a massive toothache. The fox needs help, but he also wants to eat his doctor: what can they do? Steig's children's books usually strike me as a bit too abstract or airy, but this has a good, solid, readily accessible plot, funny pictures and a nice zinger of an ending. A favorite around our household, even is the animals-eating-animals theme might not be appropriate for the littlest readers. Recommended. (B+)


"Doctor De Soto Goes To Africa"
Written by William Steig
Illustrated by William Steig
(Farrar, Strauss & Giraux, 1992)

The good doctor and his wife go to Africa to help an elephant in dental distress... There's danger and deception around every corner, though, and the De Sotos have to navigate through foreign climes and mysterious plots against them. This doesn't seem to have as much to do with dentistry as the first book, and in general seems a cockeyed attempt to keep the characters around, even though the magic of the first book isn't as apparent in this relatively clunky story. I wasn't wowed. (C+)






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