cover image The T.F. Letters

The T.F. Letters

DK Publishing, Karen Ray. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2530-0

A girl's heartfelt letters to the Tooth Fairy propel Ray's (Sleep Song; To Cross a Line) occasionally coy novel. After Alex loses her first tooth (at the rather late age of almost eight), she writes to the ""Tuth Ferry"" to beseech her to leave the tooth behind when she drops off the monetary reward. And, in a P.S. that sets the tone for subsequent correspondence, Alex spills a bit of her soul: ""Maybe you could do something about my dad's job. If your not too bizzy."" Since her father's job is ""going away,"" Alex and her family are to relocate from Texas to California, a change that the girl understandably fears. In her guise as the Tooth Fairy, Alex's likable mother, a commercial artist, pens some memorable lines, ranging from the wise (""Someday you may really need those worries, so don't use them all up now"") to the wry (""There are strict rules about what we magical creatures can do. Otherwise... vegetables would be an endangered species, and there would be ponies in bedrooms all over town""). The move, of course, goes well, and Alex finds a new best friend in Peggy, perhaps the most refreshing character here. But there are a number of credibility gaps, including the rapidity with which Alex's baby teeth fall out. Furthermore, most kids at this reading level have outgrown their belief in the tooth fairy, and they will likely lose patience with what they will perceive as Alex's na vet . Ages 8-10. (Sept.)