Monthly Archives: September 2013

Themed Third Thursday: The Tooth Fairy Edition

GirlChild lost a tooth right before school started, so she was obsessed with stories about the tooth fairy for a while. Whether you choose to do the fairy tale (ie., your child believes in the actual tooth fairy) or just the tradition (like GirlChild, where she knows it’s pretend, but we play it out anyway), these books might suit your fancy! Most of these books are best for early elementary (you know, when kids start losing their teeth!), so I’ll note if it’s for an older or younger audience. (Also, not all of these books are the best caliber, and one may actually contain spoilers if you want your child to believe for a while; I try to make note of concerns I have with the content in these reviews, so don’t judge any of these by their covers!)

Product DetailsDear Tooth Fairy: A Harry & Emily Adventure, by Karen Gray Ruelle (2006): This leveled book (intended for 1st and 2nd grade independent readers) features a little cat named Emily and her family. Emily keeps writing notes to the Tooth Fairy to keep her up-to-date on the progress of her loose tooth since she is very excited to lose it and get a treasure from the Tooth Fairy. When she finally loses her tooth, she is too excited and nervous to sleep, and the storm going on outside doesn’t help at all, so she wakes up her big brother, Harry, to find out if the Tooth Fairy is afraid of storms. He reassures her, and the next morning, she wakes to find a very special treasure has replaced her tooth.

Product DetailsTooth Fairy in Trouble, by Julia Jarman, illustrated by Miriam Latimer (2008): GirlChild was able to read this one with a little help, so I agree with the leveling for early elementary independent readers. She was bothered by the fact that the other fairies are pretty mean to the Tooth Fairy, but the Tooth Fairy is loyal to the Fairy Queen and does her job despite the teasing (and the queen’s somewhat insensitive demand that she pick up the pace), so that helps teach perseverance in the face of adversity, I suppose. There aren’t a whole lot of sensible messages to get out of this story (unless you want your naughty child to think that the Tooth Fairy will turn him into a pig if he tries to trap her), so enjoy the cute artwork and the message that you should brush your teeth so the Tooth Fairy doesn’t get chased out of Fairyland for bringing in stinky teeth…

toothfairyelratonperezThe Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez, by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Tom Lintern (2010): When both the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez show up at Miguelito’s home to claim his first lost tooth, a competition over who gets to take the tooth ensues. The Tooth Fairy thinks anyone in the United States is in her domain, and El Ratón Pérez feels that he has the right to continue collecting teeth from Miguelito’s family no matter where they live. In the scuffle, the tooth gets wedged in a tight spot, and the two tooth collectors have to reach an agreement in order to get the job done. (This version of El Ratón Pérez has him collecting teeth to make a rocket ship to go to the moon, and the Tooth Fairy is building herself a castle of teeth…are these standard parts of the myths?)

Tooth Fairy Tales, by Deb Capone, illustrated by Stan Jaskiel (2005): Featuring an odd, living hippo toy (an heirloom, apparently) along with the human characters, this book is better than the strange illustrations would have you believe. (There is something really weird about the characters’ mouths!) Rain, a little girl adopted from China, starts to wonder about what the Tooth Fairy does with the teeth she collects, and her search for answers leads her to different classmates and locals who share their family traditions, including Mr. Moon, El Raton, and the Tooth Sparrow. A good book for discussing the traditions of different cultures!

You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, by Sherri Bell-Rehwoldt, illustrated by David Slonim (2007): This tooth fairy is no froofy-skirted, wand-toting princess wannabe: she’s rough and tumble, and she’s not afraid to jump into those dangerous tooth-collecting situations to get the job done. Oh, and she’s got some tips for you, like recommendations about what not to do with that tooth and how to make it easy on her to collect the prize and get yourself featured in her scrapbook.

Product DetailsThe Dinosaur Tooth Fairy, by Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Israel Sanchez (2013): I have to start by saying that BoyChild made me read this book over and over and over because of the dinosaur, so the listening audience for this one might vary based on interest in topics other than teeth! The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy is hanging out with her collection of teeth in the natural history museum, but she misses the days of active work. Then a little girl loses her tooth while she’s at the museum, and the Dinosaur Tooth Fairy follows her home to claim the coveted tooth. The other Tooth Fairy is also in pursuit, but a competition for the tooth ends up with an acceptable trade, a friendship, and both money and bones (you know, because all dinosaurs were carnivores, right? no?) left behind for the lucky girl. The text is fun (if somewhat confusing in parts), and both the text (using repetition and font changes) and the illustrations help move the story along. Perhaps best used as a repeated read-aloud one-on-one (or for a young independent reader) or as guided reading to model using text and picture clues for comprehension. (Seriously, BoyChild just caught me writing this and starting saying, “Dine-saur Toof Fairy! Dine-saur Toof Fairy!” over and over. He loves it.)

Product DetailsDad, Are You the Tooth Fairy?, by Jason Alexander, illustrated by Ron Spears (2005): If you want to find an elaborate story to tell your aging tooth-loser to try to keep the magic alive a little longer (or if you want one to tell small ones with their first loose teeth), this might be the book for you. Might. Read on carefully! Gaby is getting to be a “bigger boy,” and he overhears some even bigger kids say that a variety of fantasy and fairy tale creatures aren’t real, including the tooth fairy. While the story his dad tells him (which ends with a non-committal answer to his question that suggests either parents are operating on their own accord or that the tooth fairy is planting messages in their minds for them to write out–whatever the child wants to believe) is probably acceptable for parents who really want their kids to keep believing for a while (although it does say that the parents are doing the actual swapping), the page saying “Gaby was confused. Would his friends try to fool him? Would his parents? How could anyone know what was truly true?” gives me serious pause about recommending this book as a whole for your child, especially if your child is still a tooth fairy believer. I’d hate to have a kid read the whole book for the tooth fairy explanation and come away with the message, “My parents are trying to fool me, and I can’t believe what they say is true.” I’m sure many will disagree, but I thought I’d give the heads up in case that’s a concern of yours. You can always still use an adaptation of the story the dad tells (or be inspired to create one of your own) if you don’t want to actually read the whole book with a child. (Other reviewers on Amazon also said that it thoroughly convinced their young believers not to believe, so take that into consideration as well if you’re thinking about getting this book.)

Product DetailsHorrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy, by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross (2009): In the first story of four in this book, Horrid Henry (characterization not required) gets frustrated when it seems like everyone else has lost at least one tooth, and now so has his little brother, Perfect Peter! He tries everything he can think of to lose a tooth or trick the tooth fairy, but in the end, his tooth has the last laugh. While this series isn’t my cup of tea, I’m sure there is a Captain Underpants-like audience out there for it! (It’s apparently quite popular in the UK.) The one thing I really do like, though, is the inclusion of little figurative language bits like this one: “He was a volcano pouring hot molten lava onto the puny human foolish enough to get in his way.” They’re really quite excellent. 🙂 Probably best for good second grade readers on up.

Product DetailsBrianna the Tooth Fairy, by Daisy Meadows (2012): Apparently called Tamara the Tooth Fairy in the UK, this book in the Rainbow Magic series stars Rachel and her friend Kirsty, two humans who are apparently pretty helpful to the fairy world. Brianna (the Tooth Fairy) is having troubles because Jack Frost and his goblins are up to more tricks (this time because he has a toothache and thinks Brianna’s magical objects can help him). Rachel and Kirsty lend a hand to help her recover her things and continue her work collecting teeth, and they help out Jack Frost while they’re at it. Again, not really my cup of tea, but I’m not a mid-elementary-aged girl with a fairy obsession.

Product DetailsOnce Upon a Marigold, by Jean Ferris (originally 2004/upper elementary and middle school): I listened to this on audiobook a while back, and while it’s not fresh in my mind, I do remember that there’s a troll trying to get some tooth fairy business away from Queen Mab (who is apparently pretty inept at it). While that story runs through the book, it’s not the main plot line. That involves Christian, a runaway human being raised by the troll, and Princess Marigold, his crush from afar. It’s a fun story (we actually listened to it twice on a long road trip–the other books I brought turned out not to be preschooler-appropriate for listening!–and GirlChild was pretty invested in the outcome, too!), relatively fresh, and a little bit fractured fairy tale to boot.

As you can see, it was a little bit hit or miss in regard to these books. Try searching “Tooth Fairy — Fiction” as a subject in your local library’s catalog for other options, and share some of your favorites in the comments!

Also, I feel like I’m late to the party, but this awesome Pneumatic Transport System is, um, awesome. This dad went to a lot of trouble to make the Tooth Fairy’s job a little easier (and high-tech)! We just use a little pillow with a pocket on it that I sewed up one day…



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“I’m Not Cute!” by Jonathan Allen

“I’m Not Cute!” by Jonathan Allen (2005)

I don’t know when this author visited my home and decided to base an owl character off of BoyChild, but this could be a thinly veiled “fictional” account of life in our house right now! (“I not cute! I GRUMPY!” is the usual refrain. Sometimes he substitutes his name or “a goose [school] bus” (who knows?) for “GRUMPY”…) Sure, he says (er, the copyright page says) that it was published in 2005, and BoyChild is only two and a half…so maybe there are other boychildren (and girlchildren!) out there that go through this stage, too!

Baby Owl decides to go out into the forest and is sure no one will bother him there. But Rabbit, Fox, and even Squirrel proclaim him cute and cuddly and give him big hugs. He is completely offended, throwing tiny, angry fits, proclaiming, “I’m NOT cute!” and declaring himself a fierce hunting machine. No one listens until his mother finds him and confirms that he isn’t cute but rather a terrifying hunting machine like he says. Baby Owl pauses, looks horrified, then throws another fit declaring that he actually IS cute! Mama Owl, being rather wise, realizes that Baby Owl is tired and needs to go to sleep, and once he starts dozing off, she says, “You’re so cute, Baby Owl. For a huge, scary, sleek, sharp-eyed hunting machine, that is.” And Baby Owl goes to sleep with a peaceful smile on his face.

Product DetailsUnsurprisingly, Baby Owl is incredibly cute. Even when he’s throwing his hissy fit on the ground, the brushstrokes that depict his baby owl down make him look downright fluffy to the touch, and you can’t fault Rabbit, Fox, and Squirrel for wanting to give him a squeeze. His expressions are hilarious, and the backgrounds are pretty minimal so that young readers can focus on the characters and their body language to help interpret the story.

GirlChild’s and BoyChild’s Reactions: BoyChild, for some completely unknown reason, identified strongly with Baby Owl and asked for this book at least three times today, but he also seemed clued in to the irony of Baby Owl’s reactions (as his completely adorable sideways glances and sneaky grins when he shouted out, “I NOT CUTE!” along with Baby Owl suggest). I’ve been trying to work with GirlChild on some reading comprehension strategies, and making connections was an easy one here. I said, “Who does Baby Owl remind you of?” and her brief hesitation, secretive grin, and behind-the-back pointing at BoyChild made it clear that this was not a subtle connection. I look forward to finding all the books in this series, and I’m so glad I stumbled across it at the library today!

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Topsy and Tim’s Peanut Crunchies (aka, Health Cookies by my Aunt Lois)

So, GirlChild starts school tomorrow, and, as a surprise, I am recreating Tim’s lunch from Topsy and Tim: New Lunchboxes, by Jean and Gareth Adamson. (I  would have done Topsy’s lunch, but GirlChild is really not fond of cheese and cucumber sandwiches!) I mentioned in my post about the series that I wasn’t able to find a recipe for the peanut crunchies cookies that their mummy makes for them to take in their lunchboxes the first time they stay at school for lunch, but as I was considering GirlChild’s first lunch at school, I remembered these cookies that my family has made for ages. We call them Health Cookies, but it’s pretty clear from the list of ingredients that “healthy” meant something very different back in the days of my Great Aunt Lois! 🙂 They may not be exactly what the Adamsons called peanut crunchies, but they have peanuts and are crunchy, so they’ll do!

Here’s the recipe for anyone who might want to try their own version of peanut crunchies!

Topsy and Tim’s Peanut Crunchies (aka, Health Cookies by my Aunt Lois)

Cream together:
1 c. margarine or butter
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs

Then mix in:
1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 c. oatmeal
1 c. salted peanuts

Roll in small balls (smaller than a walnut–I used a cookie scoop and broke the scoop in half to make the small ones for GirlChild’s lunch), then roll in crushed cereal (like Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, or Chex) and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Cookies will be golden brown and chewy. Enjoy!

(If someone who knows how to convert recipes and measurements for bakers outside of the US, I would be most delighted to have the “translation” in the comments!)

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GirlChild’s lunchbox includes a tuna sandwich, a banana, some green grapes, two peanut crunchies, and fruit juice (aka, orange juice)–just like Tim’s! (It also includes a color photocopy of the page from the book that shows their lunches so that she’ll be sure to know why I packed what I did!) Since she’s actually become rather nervous about starting now that it’s finally here, I hope this little bit of encouragement from Topsy and Tim will help her get through her first day happy!

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