The Tooth


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.

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Marissa wished she was in school,” writes Canadian author Slodovnick as the candy-loving girl gets a tooth pulled. But the homeless man Marissa has seen on the way to the office makes an even deeper impression. “She wanted to take a closer look, but her mother held her hand tightly.” Gauthier draws the unshaven man from Marissa’s point of view, through the legs of other pedestrians, sitting cross-legged on the ground. He’s not a threat, but he doesn’t have what he needs: a home, food, safety. Marissa knows the tooth the dentist pulled will bring her money from the tooth fairy. When they pass the homeless man again, she pulls away from her mother and gives the tooth to him. “Put it under your pillow tonight,” she tells him, “and there will be money there tomorrow.” Although Gauthier’s softly penciled figures and muted colors ease the impact, the story and its stark ending (“Now all he needed... was a pillow”) will likely leave questions in the minds of younger readers, and adults should be prepared to talk about them. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
On her way to the dentist downtown with her mother, Marissa notices a man sitting on the sidewalk. He has a box with money in front of him. While waiting in the dentist's office, Marissa watches as a few people drop money in his box. Marissa's tooth has to be pulled, to her discomfort. After warning her about candy and brushing her teeth, the dentist gives her the tooth to put under her pillow. She wonders about the Tooth Fairy. Although her mother tries to keep her away, she goes up to the man on the sidewalk. There is not much money in his box. So Marissa drops in her tooth, telling the man to put it under his pillow for money. The man smiles at her sweet generosity. Gauthier's scratchy mixed-media drawings have an inviting appeal, an innocent quality. Sweet Marissa is kneeling on the curb on the jacket/cover, toy in hand, and moneybox in front of her. The poignant tale has two parts, one of an adventure at the dentist's and another of developing compassion. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935279723
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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