Who could have guessed that the tooth fairy has “secret assistants”?
Weeping operatically—and looking very much like a brown-skinned, zaftig diva in Zacarias’ mixed-media (paint and cut-paper–collage) illustrations—Lady Oyster laments the loss of her only pearl: “Oh, I am very, and I mean very, so very sad.” News of the tragedy passes from a purple octopus to a French sardine (sporting the requisite beret and with a baguette under one armlike fin) to a crab and then to a mouse. This last goes in search of “something small, white, hard and shiny” to make up the loss. After discarding a button and other options the mouse finds what he needs, as readers might guess, beneath the pillow of a sleeping girl. Then, leaving a coin in exchange (“He would have liked to have left her a book, but he didn’t have one with him at the time”), he passes the tooth back down the line to a delighted Lady Oyster. “This is perfect!” Why a mouse? Because, according to an introductory note, it’s a mouse that comes for lost teeth in France, Spain, and South America.
This origin story from Spain makes just as much sense as a single tiny fairy doing all the work—possibly more. (Picture book. 4-7)