Saturday, November 3, 2018

Review - You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?

You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?
by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt
illustrated by David Slonim
Date: 2007
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

All over America, kids are losing their teeth. And who is there to gather them up, leaving coins in their places? The Tooth Fairy, of course! A self-described action kind of gal with plenty of attitude, she reveals her secrets at last. Learn about her amazing Tooth-o-Finder. Marvel at her ingenious flying machine. Watch her in action, dodging dogs and cats and gerbils. You Think It's Easy Being the Tooth Fairy? is the essential guide for every kid about to lose a tooth.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I did not enjoy this. If you're going to write a book about something like the Tooth Fairy, it might be good to make her look like most people's idea of her. This creature isn't even a fairy! She has no wings, or anything else that would indicate she's a fairy, other than her tiny size; she's just a miniature human in footie pajamas. Given that she doesn't have wings, she's forced to travel on a flying surfboard shaped like a tooth, with her firefly minions in tow. The pictures are cute, but they would've shattered a lot of my ideas about the Tooth Fairy when I was a kid, and I don't know if I would've appreciated that.

Another problem I had was that I didn't find the main character particularly likeable. She's trying so hard to show she's tough that she comes across as judgmental and arrogant. Listen, kids: it's okay if you want to wear skirts and feel pretty. I didn't like how this tiny little twit was pushing the idea that you can't be tough and pretty at the same time. They're not mutually exclusive.

And, finally, I found the whole thing to be rather Americocentric, and stereotypical at that. She's supposedly flying all over the world collecting teeth (scoping them out with her gadgets that struck me as a little creepy; it's just a bit stalkerish), and yet she only mentions three locations, all in the US, all of them stereotypes that border on the offensive. Apparently, people in Hawaii don't have houses so they have to sleep in hammocks outside, people in Alaska have houses with such crappy insulation that they have to sleep in their parkas, and people in Texas are so poor that their seven-year-old quintuplets have to share a bed. (Are we teaching ugly stereotypes to little kids now?) I'm in Canada, and we have the Tooth Fairy myth here, too. Keeping everything confined to the US excludes a lot of potential readers. (Although, I suspect the Canadian children would be living in igloos, so maybe it's for the best that that was left out.)

Overall, this was a disappointment. While the style of the illustrations and the illustrations themselves were cute, they were not the Tooth Fairy that most kids will be familiar with. I'm also not comfortable with introducing the idea that there are homing beacons in our teeth. Maybe this book needs to come with a tinfoil face mask for when the kiddies start to get paranoid.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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