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Rotten Teeth
     

Rotten Teeth

by Laura Simms
 

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Speaking in front of the class isn't easy for small people like Melissa Herman. Especially when there's nothing very special to say about her house or her family or herself. But with the help of her older brother, Melissa borrows a bottle from her father's dental office to take to show and tell. The teacher is appalled, but the children are intrigued. David Catrow's

Overview

Speaking in front of the class isn't easy for small people like Melissa Herman. Especially when there's nothing very special to say about her house or her family or herself. But with the help of her older brother, Melissa borrows a bottle from her father's dental office to take to show and tell. The teacher is appalled, but the children are intrigued. David Catrow's hilariously zany illustrations reveal that there is nothing ordinary about Melissa Herman, or her house or her family. The bright artwork is laugh-aloud funny and will have children begging to hear the story again, or maybe invent their very own tale.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-grader Melissa Hermann needs something for show and tell. In her dentist dad's office, with the help of her brother Norman she finds a bottle full of pulled teeth. Melissa carefully washes enough teeth to give one to every member of her class, then disguises the bottle in a brown bag. In a suspenseful scene--rendered even more dramatic by a worm's-eye view of desks and gaping students--Melissa slinks to the front of the classroom with her prize and stands there nervously. "Finally she opened up the bag, held up the bottle, and blurted out, `ROTTEN TEETH! FROM REAL MOUTHS!' " With just a dash of hyperbole, Simms (The Bone Man) explains how the teeth horrify Melissa's teacher but enhance the girl's popularity among her peers. At recess, Melissa captivates her audience with gruesome tales of dentistry and learns the power of storytelling. If Simms's intent is to banish shyness, Catrow's (Westward Ho, Carlotta!) goal is to catapult a humorous story into the realm of the tall tale. He boosts the irony by providing Melissa with ample show-and-tell oddities; her home not only houses a dentist's office but is a Victorian curiosity shop of bizarre decorations (a boar's head, a prehistoric skull) and living oddities (a monkey, an elephant, a Venus flytrap). Catrow tints his over-the-top watercolor illustrations with dental-decay-inspired yellows and greens, and he dresses his gawky, frizzy-haired characters in ridiculously mismatched clothes. This not-for-the-squeamish volume should impress future fans of Southern gothic. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A hot-air balloon is anchored outside the Hermann household, while inside a python rests calmly on the couch and a full suit of armor guards the living room. Still, first-grader Melissa complains to her older brother Norman that there is nothing in their house interesting enough to take to school for Show and Tell. He sympathetically ponders the problem and suggests the bottle of rotten teeth in the back of Dad's home dental office. With Norman's help, Melissa takes the treasure to school in a brown paper bag. Her classmates are enraptured and their barrage of questions prompts the shy girl to talk for the first time. She finds herself describing bloody towels, loud moaning, and a host of other details, and, to her delight, discovers a newfound ability as a storyteller. This funny tale is made even more hilarious by the cartoon illustrations. While Melissa bemoans a boring household, the picture shows Dad welcoming an extraterrestrial patient. A larger-than-life dental patient wearing Pecos Bill attire is shown looming over a tiny Melissa as she talks excitedly to enthralled classmates. The visual humor is sensational. Together, Simms and Catrow have created a winner.-Jackie Hechtkopf, Talent House School, Fairfax, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Pint-sized and shy, Melissa Herman can't think of anything unusual or special about herself or her family. Certainly nothing worth bringing for show-and-tell. But her older brother Norman suggests that the most fascinating thing in their house will make everyone in Melissa's class sit up and take noticeþa jar of rotten teeth from their father's dental practice. Fortunately, the results prove to be beyond Melissa's wildest expectations. Many of the story's elements flap loosely, rather than come together into a definite shape: her size, her shyness, her lack of imagination regarding the show-and-tell project, her dependence on her brother, and her subsequent transformation into a storyteller don't really add up. Catrow's humorous illustrations detail the odd events and unusual inhabitants at Melissa's house and capture the chaos her project unleashes in the classroom. (Picture book. 4-8)

From the Publisher

"A hot-air balloon is anchored outside the Hermann household, while inside a python rests calmly on the couch and a full suit of armor guards the living room. Still, first-grader Melissa complains to her older brother Norman that there is nothing in their house interesting enough to take to school for Show and Tell. He sympathetically ponders the problem and suggests the bottle of rotten teeth in the back of Dad's home dental office. With Norman's help, Melissa takes the treasure to school in a brown bag. Her classmates are enraptured and their barrage of questions prompts the shy girl to talk for the first time. . . . This funny tale is made even more hilarious by the cartoon illustrations. . . The visual humor is sensational. Together Simms and Catrow have created a winner." School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547531045
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
08/26/2002
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Lexile:
AD490L (what's this?)
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Laura Simms really did bring a bottle of rotten teeth to school for show and tell. And she really did discover she could tell good stories. Now an internationally known storyteller, she has performed and taught in major festivals, symposiums, and conferences around the world. She started the first storytelling programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. When she isn�t touring the country telling stories, she lives in New York City.

.David Catrow is an editorial cartoonist and the illustrator of more than 70 books for children, including two that were named New York Times Best Books of the Year. He lives in Ohio with his wife and their three dogs. His website is catrow.com.

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