cover image Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World

Selby Beeler. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-89108-7

In Beeler's first book, children from familiar and remote countries on each continent explain what they do when they lose a tooth. The Tooth Fairy surfaces on several occasions; but for kids from a number of countries, she's replaced by a mouse, a squirrel or another critter. In other traditions, parents fashion jewelry from baby teeth, children wrap a tooth in a piece of food and feed it to an animal or throw their teeth on the roof. Since Beeler organizes her material by geographic region, some spreads featuring similar traditions of neighboring countries become redundant (e.g., Colombia, ""I put my tooth under my pillow and wait for a mouse called El Raton Miguelito to take my tooth and leave money in its place,"" followed by Venezuela, ""I put my tooth under my pillow. While I am asleep, a mouse will take the tooth and bring me some coins""). But the variety of customs across the globe compensates for any occasional similarities. Karas's (The Windy Day) cheerful cartoon art shows round-faced kids--many proudly displaying a gap in their smiles--dressed in native garb and often standing near an example of their local architecture. This book will be an eye-opener for young Americans who may have assumed that the Tooth Fairy holds a worldwide visa. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)