The Very Beary Tooth Fairy


A curious bear's loose tooth teaches him valuable lessons about bravery, tolerance, and the power of a loving family.

Zach's tooth is loose. But what's a bear with a loose tooth to do when his mom tells him to stay away from people, and he's eager for a visit from the Tooth Fairy? Zach is in a bear-y bind. What if the Tooth Fairy turns out to be human? When Zach asks his sister, Leah, what to do, she's too busy with her friends to help. Mom offers some comfort, but it's not ...

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A curious bear's loose tooth teaches him valuable lessons about bravery, tolerance, and the power of a loving family.

Zach's tooth is loose. But what's a bear with a loose tooth to do when his mom tells him to stay away from people, and he's eager for a visit from the Tooth Fairy? Zach is in a bear-y bind. What if the Tooth Fairy turns out to be human? When Zach asks his sister, Leah, what to do, she's too busy with her friends to help. Mom offers some comfort, but it's not enough to calm her little bear's fears. Then Zach's tooth finally falls out. And on a special night, when he tucks his tooth under his pillow--and hopes against hope--something unexpected and magical happens! From the creators of the popular picture books Monday is One Day and Uncle Bobby's Wedding comes an adorable story about the power of believing what's possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Do mythic characters—especially ones that come bearing goodies—belong to us all, regardless of race, creed, or species? That’s the big question Zach the bear cub struggles with as one of his front teeth starts wiggling. The Easter Bunny could only be a rabbit, and Zach is sure Santa is a bear, but the tooth fairy is an unknown quantity. What if she’s human? Zach’s mother says humans are “dangerous and unpredictable,” but she also says, “A bear can be anyone.... And anyone can be a bear.” While Zach is sleeping, readers learn that the tooth fairy is indeed a bear; not only does she exchange Zach’s tooth for a dollar, she also turns his teddy boy and poster of a (human) baseball player into bears. In so doing, Levine (Monday Is One Day) underlines the need for heroes that “look like us” (he invokes Barack Obama and Sandy Koufax in his dedication). Brannen’s (Uncle Bobby’s Wedding) calm, pretty watercolor and pencil drawings offer a reassuring counterpoint to Zach’s anxiousness, but the characterizations feel too wooden to make much of a connection. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Tima Murrell
What happens when a bear loses his tooth? Is there a bear tooth fairy? A little bear, named Zach, overhears a human discussing the tooth fairy. Zach's mom has told him that humans are dangerous and unpredictable. Now Zach is worried that the tooth fairy is a human. After losing his tooth, he becomes too scared to go to sleep. But his mom was right when she said bears could be anything they wanted to be. The large illustrations help tell the story as much as the words do. The book handles the issues of a lost tooth and fear very well and age appropriately. It also showcases kindness and understanding, as shown by the older sister. The target age is preschool children, but my six-year-old son, who just lost a tooth, was very entertained. I appreciated some of the larger vocabulary that was used throughout the book which led to a discussion with my four-year-old. Reviewer: Tima Murrell
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—A small bear named Zach is told by his mother that he should avoid humans because they are "dangerous and unpredictable," but he chances to hear a human mother tell her son, who has just lost a tooth, that he should expect a visit from the tooth fairy. Zach, who is also about to lose a tooth, starts to worry: is the tooth fairy human and dangerous? After reassurances from his sister and mother, all ends well. The uncluttered watercolor illustrations help tell the story and emphasize the theme that "anyone can be a bear and a bear can be anyone," as Zach's mother says. There seems to be too much going on for a young audience to absorb fully. The illustrations also add to the confusion. Zach and his sister are dressed similarly to the two human children; Zach carries a human boy doll and the boy carries a bear (both dressed alike); the fairy is a bear; she waves her wand and a male baseball player in a picture above Zach's bed and the cub's doll become bears instead of humans. Finally, his sister Leah dresses up like the tooth fairy to reassure him at one point. For a wonderful book about everyone being able to do and be anything they choose, suggest Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace (Dial, 1991).—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews
A young bear with a very loose tooth anticipates the visit of the mysterious, exciting and petrifying tooth fairy. Being an obedient bear, Zach knows to stay away from humans; as his mother says, "They are dangerous and unpredictable." One day, he wanders near a campsite and hears a young boy and his mother talking about a visit from the tooth fairy. Zach proceeds to ask his sister, Leah, and his friend, Harrison, about this night visitor: Just what kind of creature is this tooth-fairy, anyway? A human? Through the mischievous gift of a caramel from Leah, Zach's tooth indeed falls out, much to his terror. It will be a long night of waiting to see if the tooth fairy is truly "dangerous and unpredictable." Attentive readers will be rewarded by this tale of curiosity and redemption. Levine creates an emotional cliffhanger for the very young, supported by clever watercolor illustrations of a nearly parallel universe between the boy and the bear. The suspense of the plot shines bright, but the visual magic lasts. And although the story is about Zach, it is Leah who becomes magical. "A bear can be anyone," says Zach's mom. "And anyone can be a bear." Inspiring and clever, this story captures the simple joy and limitless possibility of belief. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439439664
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 538,087
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur A. Levine is the author of several books for children. His most recent picture book, MONDAY IS ONE DAY, was hailed by Caldecott Honor medalist, Brian Selznick, as a "delightful book," and was lauded by Booklist magazine in a starred review as "that rare book perceptive enough to recognize that the random moments are those we treasure most." Arthur has been a children’s book publisher and editor for twenty-five years. Mr. Levine lives in New Jersey with his family.

Sarah S. Brannen is the author and illustrator of UNCLE BOBBY'S WEDDING, which was one of the ten most-challenged books in the U.S. in 2008. She has illustrated more than a dozen books for children. To see more of Sarah’s work, visit

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