Loose Teeth!

teeth-mason-haydenLynn: I had forgotten what a milestone losing a tooth is for kids until my grandsons developed wiggly teeth. Suddenly teeth were falling like rain and they and their kindergarten classmates seemed to have more gaps than teeth. I instantly started looking for good loose tooth books to share with them. I found Arthur’s Tooth and A Time of Wonder (which the boys loved) in my own collection but I knew there had to be something more recent. Cindy joined in the search and we found quite a few. Of course we tested them on the twins and I also read many of them to their kindergarten class. So far three have come out on top.

20334752 The clear favorite with the extended focus group is Tabitha’s Terrifically Tough Tooth (Random, 2001) by Charlotte Middleton. Tabitha’s wiggly tooth just won’t come out no matter what she does! She tries chewing gum, attaching the tooth with a string to her pet turtle, jumping and dancing but nothing works. It takes a big sneeze to shoot the tooth across the room. The kindergarten class asked for this book over and over.

25344670A close second is The Lost-and-Found Tooth (S&S, 2008) by Louise Borden. Everyone in Mr. Reilly’s class has a loose tooth story except Lucy. She longs to write on the Loose Tooth Calendar but she hasn’t lost a single tooth yet. Finally in February Lucy’s first tooth comes out and she promptly drops it onto the snowy playground. The kindergarten class loved the story of how Lucy’s class rallies to find her tooth and the children who hadn’t yet lost a tooth were cheered to know they weren’t alone.

scans-jun-09050Cindy: I’ve been fans of our focus group since they were born (attended their first birthday party, watched them get off the school bus after the first day of kindergarten) so when Lynn emailed photos of missing teeth smiles I had to come celebrate. Hayden lost his first and made me this great drawing. He explained that the blue lines were sweat since he was so hot and he has “cracked eyes.” Mine look like that too from all the reading I’ve been doing, but I’ll never call them bloodshot again. “Cracked” it is!

But I’m supposed to be reviewing books. Sorry. When I think of books with tooth fairies, first to mind is Jean Ferris’ hilarious take on classic fairy tales, Once Upon a Marigold (Harcourt, 2002) in which Edric the troll thinks the tooth fairy should be replaced (she gets sidetracked and forgets to deliver). But that’s a minor subplot in a novel for 5th-8th grade. For the tooth-losing set, I’d recommend the newest in the Horrid Henry series, Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy by Francesca Simon (Sourcebooks/ Jabberwocky, 2009).

“Why me?” moaned Henry, stomping on the petunias. “Why am I the only one who hasn’t lost a tooth?”

Horrid Henry sat in his fort and scowled. He was sick and tired of other kids flaunting their ugly wobbly teeth and disgusting holes in their gums. The next person who so much as mentioned the word “tooth” had better watch out.

horrid-harryWhen Henry learns that his YOUNGER brother, Perfect Peter, has lost a tooth first, he sets out to trick the tooth fairy into thinking it is his tooth. This is the first of four beginner reader stories in this collection featuring the exaggerated archetypes of Horrid Henry, Perfect Peter, and Moody Margaret. Young readers will delight in the horridness of being horrid AND being perfect and, will know there is a place in between for them. The comic illustrations by Tony Ross are delightful, but it is Hayden’s that is hanging on my refrigerator door!

Cindy and Lynn: We’ve rounded up a few books to leave under our pillows for the Tooth Fairy but know we must be missing some good ones. Please leave us a comment if you have a title to recommend.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

7 Comments on "Loose Teeth!"

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  1. I adore Penda Diakite and Baba Wague Diakite’s I LOST MY TOOTH IN AFRICA. (Penda was eight when she first wrote it, I believe. Thirteen or so when it was published a few years back.) Charming, charming, charming.

  2. tpeters745@gmail.com' Tony Peters says:

    Great post. Kids are always so proud of their loose teeth!

    Tony Peters
    Kids on a Case: The Case of the Ten Grand Kidnapping
    http://authortonypeters.blogspot.com/

  3. Thanks, Monica. I’ve put the book on ILL through my local public library. Can’t wait to see it.–Cindy

  4. paukennedy@gmail.com' Paul Kennedy says:

    Try Felicity Floss: Tooth Fairy, by Maeve Friel, illustrated Sarah Horne. pub. by Leapfrog in the UK.
    Very funny rhyming story about dastardly doings in the tooth fairy world.

  5. beedon@ypsilibrary.org' Molly Beedon says:

    I really like and I recommend a lot the book Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler. There are some wonderful tooth traditions that people celebrate.

  6. ckubala@columbiactlibrary.org' CarolK says:

    I’ll second Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby Beeler. It’s a perfect fit for missing teeth!

  7. barryhf@spamcop.net' barryhf says:

    The T. F. Letters by Karen Ray.

    An chapter book about a girl who deals with some pretty tough life situations through correspondence with the TF.

    My daughter read this book probably once for each lost tooth throughout her elementary years.

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