An ordinary visit to the dentist turns into something extraordinary when Marissa and her mom walk through the tall gray buildings downtown and encounter someone special.
In this strange, somber little story, readers meet Marissa, who has a toothache from eating too much candy. She and her mother are going downtown to the dentist's office when Marissa spots a homeless man sitting on the street with a shoebox open to collect money from passersby. Marissa gazes at the man from the waiting-room window before being called in to have her tooth extracted. The dentist reminds Marissa to put the tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy. Instead, Marissa drops the tooth into the homeless man's shoebox, explaining that the tooth fairy will bring money, and the story ends with the narrator commenting on the fate of the homeless man: "Now all he needed . . . was a pillow." The compelling illustrations depict the city as an unfriendly place in grays and blacks with Marissa, her mother and the homeless man foregrounded in muted colors. But just what is Marissa's act of compassion worth? Can it redeem the dark city? For the older, potentially pensive reader or listener. (Picture book. 6-10)
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