Letters from My Tooth Fairy

Sleeping Bear. Aug. 2020. 40p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534110557.
PreS-Gr 2–Natalie and her tooth fairy exchange notes over the course of six years and 20 teeth in this epistolary picture book set in white suburbia. The Tooth Fairy’s cheery missives brim with enthusiasm for Natalie’s milestones including a new sibling, a move, and school drama. Natalie’s sporadic notes reveal her maturing personality and shifting anxieties as she ages through elementary school into her final, preadolescent tooth-losing years. Melman’s scrapbookish illustrations pair a childlike style, reminiscent of the work of G. Brian Karas, with expressive perspective shifts. The quirky visuals complement the Tooth Fairy’s earnest, sometimes deadpan tone while relating events, as when the pink-haired pixie needs to excavate the girl’s messy backpack to locate a missing tooth. (“Natalie, why are you carrying around a bag of rocks? Is that some sort of science project?”) Each lost tooth, numbered and labeled (“Bottom Lateral Incisor 2”), appears with a small diagram showing its position in the mouth, adding a dollop of dental knowledge to the tale.
VERDICT A charming epistolary addition to the surprisingly spare Tooth Fairy shelves.

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