Kirkus Star


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Though we have found David McPhail's previous picture books grossly unsettling, there is not a hint of imbalance in these sensitive, subtly amusing pictures of a small boy and the bear with a toothache whose moans awaken him in the night. The boy invites the bear in, tries all sorts of remedies, and eventually removes the offending tooth by tying it to a rope attached to the bedpost, then having the bear jump out the window. ""The bear was so happy he gave me the tooth"" -- and the final pictures of the docile bear handing the tooth through the window as he goes on his way, then the boy settling into bed with the giant tooth under his pillow, provide the perfect ending to a nicely understated handling of nighttime fantasy (which perhaps defuses, in the bargain, fears about having a loose tooth pulled out). Scenes of the bear in the kitchen amassing a giant Dagwood sandwich, or hiding conspicuously under the bed when the boy's pajama-clad father investigates the rumpus, typify the quiet humor, and throughout the fine crosshatching and softly glowing color (sort of a muted version of Kellogg's rainbow shades) project the child with sympathy and the night with reassuring warmth. This is one of the rare successful picture books with a therapeutic function because the therapeutic content is implicit and the art sufficient in itself.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1972
ISBN: 1595190201
Publisher: Little, Brown--A.M.P.