cover image DEAR TOOTH FAIRY


Pamela Duncan Edwards, , illus. by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. . HarperCollins/Tegen, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-623972-9

The correspondents in this appealing epistolary tale are Claire, newly six, and the eponymous diva of dentition herself—although older readers may suspect that the latter is actually Claire's grandma. Claire's letters, which serve as the main text, start out lamenting her inability to shed even one baby tooth—which is particularly galling because Jimmy Clarke has two wobbly ones. Interspersed with scenes from Claire's busy life (school, Halloween, a birthday party, visits with Grandma), the Tooth Fairy's typewritten responses appear on fairy-emblazoned stationery, offering consolation, encouragement and genial dental hygiene reminders: "I know it's hard to believe, but I have people on my list who are almost seven, and they still don't have wobbly teeth.... I hope you are brushing them twice a day, because I really like to collect shiny white teeth." Although a popular subject, this tooth fairy outing seems fresh and sunny, thanks in part to the successful pairing of Fitzpatrick (Lizzy and Skunk ) and Edwards (Some Smug Slug ). Softly lit watercolors, firmly grounded in everyday life, make an effective visual and narrative counterpoint to the letters' vivacity and flights of fancy. A lifelike, upbeat ending should earn grins—gap-toothed and otherwise—of approval. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)