cover image Airmail to the Moon

Airmail to the Moon

Tom Birdseye. Holiday House, $17.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0683-8

Ora Mae Cotton, who lives in Crabapple Orchard with her family, describes losing her first tooth in tangy, colorful language, full of phrases that readers will find themselves repeating: ""Hey-ho-howdy,'' ``I'll get that little diddle-do!'' and ``I was popcorn-in-the-pan excited.'' She dreams of luxury items she will buy with money from the tooth fairy, but in the morning, her tooth is goneshe believe it has been stolenand there is no cash in sight. After vows to ``open up a can of gotcha'' and send the tooth-thief ``airmail to the moon,'' Ora Mae discovers that she forgot to tuck the tooth beneath her pillow. Behind this book is a likable idea, but Ora Mae's helplessness and her fairly real distress go on a bit too long. And readers will have to create their own ending, since the book concludes as Ora Mae discovers the tooth in her pocket. Ora Mae, in Gammell's pictures, is a messy, rowdy heroine; exaggerations in the illustrations (Pa shaves out back in his boxer shorts), like those in the text, either mock or pay homage to a down-home, earthy lifestyle, depending on each reader's point-of-view. Ages 4-8. (April)