cover image DEAR TOOTH FAIRY


Alan Durant, , illus. by Vanessa Cabban. . Candlewick, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2175-9

Unwilling to relinquish the tooth she has just shed, Holly stalls the Tooth Fairy by engaging the sprite in an extended correspondence, the focal point of Durant's (Big Bad Bunny ) and Cabban's (Down in the Woods at Sleepytime ) unjacketed novelty book. The girl's letters ("Why do you want my tooth? How did you know it had come out?") garner five responses from "2 Tooth House Lane, Fairyland," each of which is contained in a small envelope glued onto the relevant spread. Along with gently urging Holly to give up the goods, the Tooth Fairy's letters also include a gift/bribe: a poster delineating the inhabitants of fairyland, an elaborately folded fairy "riddle-teller" ("How do you make a fairy airy? Take away her F!"). Holly is finally cajoled into putting her tooth under her pillow, and earns a fifth envelope that holds a thank you note, a fairy coin (the currency of the realm is plastic) and, as befits a serious enterprise, a receipt. Drawn to the novelty of the diminutive envelopes and their contents, readers will probably skip right over the obvious main narrative ("Holly read the letter and studied her poster. She liked it very much"). But Cabban's rose-hued watercolors should command their attention. Alternating between scenes of fairy and human domestic life, these girly pictures exude an airy grace while conveying the determination of a young lady who wants to make the most of her fleeting contact with the fairy world. Ages 4-7. (Feb.)