Friday, October 4, 2013

April and Esme, Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham

We had a visit from the Tooth Fairy the other night.

Mama wasn't ready for this turn of events. Sprout is four - FOUR, people! He's waaaay too young to be losing teeth. But unfortunately, thanks to a nasty spill a couple of years ago at daycare, he ended up with a tooth that was in trouble, and had to be pulled early. Sprout was totally cool with this, I might add. Completely stoked to have a gap in his smile, and elated at the promise of receiving a surprise from the Tooth Fairy. (As usual, it was just me who was a basket case.)

Strangely enough we had just brought home a library book about the Tooth Fairy. Not because I had any notion that Sprout would be losing a tooth any time soon, but just because we were craving something by Bob Graham. You know, because all of his books are made.of.awesome.

Anyway, it was a fortuitous pick to have April and Esme, Tooth Fairies at the ready. Honestly Sprout didn't know much about the Tooth Fairy, being that Hubs and I thought we were a couple of years out from needing to address the topic. Therefore it wasn't much of a stretch for him to accept the notion of a family of Tooth Fairies, mom and dad and two daughters. The story opens with April, one of the girls, getting a call on her cell phone about a tooth visit to one Daniel Dangerfield. The caller is most insistent that the girls come, and so April and Esme manage to convince their reluctant parents that they are old enough to go on their own. Armed with a coin in a string bag (for the tooth), the girls head off into the night, flying through the wind and dark and finding Daniel's house on the first go. And they find the boys' room, and the tooth - but when Daniel wakes up, can the girls save the evening, and their secret?

Like all of Graham's books, April and Esme has the perfect blend of whimsy and edge. The girls are never in any sort of real peril, but it feels close enough to it that preschoolers and their parents will thrill when they make it safely to, and from, their tooth visit. Graham excels at small details, the kind that make his characters and his plots relatable. In this case, not only did we love the tooth fairy family's home (with teeth hanging from the rafters and a bathtub fashioned from a teacup), we also found the gorgeous cover and endpapers to just extend the story. Really, there's a lot to absorb in a book by Bob Graham - it's no wonder Sprout wants to hear each one over and over again.

Like the dream Daniel Dangerfield thinks he's had, April and Esme lingers with the reader in all the best ways. Whether your kids believe in the Tooth Fairy or not, this book is a lovely means to bring just a bit of magic into the everyday (and who's to say it isn't really real?).

April and Esme, Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham, published by Candlewick Press
Ages 3-6
Source: Library
First line: "Not so long ago, a tooth fairy took a call on her cell phone."

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