April and Esme, Tooth Fairies

My kids had already lost a lot of teeth (Leo, almost all of them) before April and Esme, Tooth Fairies by Bob Graham (Candlewick, 2010) came out last fall, but til then I hadn't found a tooth fairy book I really liked.  The search is over. This one arrived just in time for Milly, thankfully, and we both love it.  Graham's fairies (you might remember them from Jethro Byrd, Fairy Child; Candlewick, 2002) aren't the sparkly sort; more like ordinary kids with wings, they live with their fairy parents in a little house by a tree stump, just off of the M42.  This is the story of their first "tooth visit," and I especially like the way it connects, for readers, the experience of losing a tooth with other childhood rites of passage; the sense of accomplishment that kids feel, as well as their parents' mixture of pride and concern for them.

You can see more of Bob Graham's ink and watercolor illustrations, full page and panels, for April and Esme in "Two Unforgettable Picture Book Heroines from 2010" at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (I like it when they follow the trail of toys up to the little boy's bedroom).  Unfortunately, there aren't any of the interior of the fairies' house, the bathroom of which features a tub made out of a creamer.  Graham's work is whimsical but not overly sweet; look closely at the cover image here and you'll see that the fairies are wearing mismatched clothes, the wildflowers are common weeds, and the grass is littered with popsicle sticks and pull tabs.  Yet there's even a little sparkle, too.

[And now for something completely different!  Well, there's a Tooth Fairy in it.  Silverlicious (HarperCollins, 2010) is the latest in Victoria Kann's popular picture book series.  Pinkalicious is increasingly sour about the loss of her sweet tooth until Toothetina delivers an Important Message along with three silver coins.  Could they be sweet silverlicious chocolate?  Digital collage illustrations.  Compare and contrast!]