An entertaining behind-the-scenes look at tooth fairies.

THE TOOTH COLLECTOR FAIRIES

BATINA'S BEST FIRST DAY

From the Tooth Collector Fairies series , Vol. 1

In this debut chapter book, a tooth fairy intends to be the best collector ever.

In Brushelot, Batina’s oversized fairy wings sometimes make her clumsy, but she’s determined they won’t get in her way on her first day on the job as a tooth collector. Batina joins her friends Lainey and Lulu to get their assignments. One fairy, Jolene, didn’t study and failed the collector tests; she’s a bully who wears toothpicks in her hair. Collection goes well, but the teeth must be inspected, because only well-brushed ones can be transformed into fairy dust—without it, the enchanted beings can’t fly. First, Batina almost loses her tooth in the Inspection Department. Then the conveyor belt to the Manufacturing Department gets stuck (a toothpick is found in the works) and, finally, the Super-Duper Magic Dust-Making Machine won’t start. But teamwork and determination, with Batina in the lead, solve these problems, and even Jolene helps out—her toothpick making a vital link in the fairy chain of power that restarts the Dust-Making Machine. Batina’s perseverance is recognized at that night’s ceremony, and she credits her friends, even thanking Jolene, for the roles they played. Jolene apologizes for sabotaging the conveyor belt, and all are friends now. In her book for kids ages 5 to 9, Ditto underlines the importance of well-brushed teeth from a tooth fairy’s point of view, an intriguing choice since children are generally more interested in what the collector leaves under their pillows. The book is less about good dental hygiene and more about the virtues of teamwork, persistence, friendship, and honesty. But the morals are lightened by the story’s humor and charm; Jolene’s perverse use of toothpicks (not recommended by dentists) is a great touch, making her reformation almost a shame. The colorful illustrations by Utomo (Mayanito’s New Friends, 2017, etc.) skillfully capture this magical world, from gauzy wings to metal contraptions. The characters are depicted with a wide range of expressions, although all appear to be white.

An entertaining behind-the-scenes look at tooth fairies.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9967559-1-7

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Ditto Enterprises

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2018

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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