The Tooth Book

by Dr. Seuss (writing as Theo. LeSieg)
illustrated by Joe Mathieu

Dr. Seuss's The Tooth Book
illustrated by Joe Mathieu

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 2-6

Take care of your teeth!

I'm quite pleasantly surprised! Because I'll be honest: I wasn't much looking forward to reading this particular book.

I'd found Seuss's The Eye Book, also illustrated by Joe Mathieu, a bit uninspired.

Sure, it did the basic work of an early reader: simple vocabulary presented simply, with rhythm and pictures in support. But beyond that - aside from Mathieu's wonderful, big-eyed characters - it was pretty uninspired.

The Tooth Book, I'm pleased to report, has a lot more to it.

The book is loosely divided into three sections. The first presents people - and creatures - with teeth. And what teeth they are! Mathieu renders us all as wielding glorious white choppers half as big as our heads.

facing pages from The Tooth Book

Everyone's smiling, too. After all, we're blessed with teeth!

cropped image

"They come in handy
in my job,"
says high trapezer
Mike McCobb.

McCobb grits in his teeth a wire from which hangs a blonde trapezist, also holding the line in her teeth.

"If I should ever
lose a tooth,
I'd lose my wife.
And that's the truth."

The second part depicts creatures that don't have teeth wishing they did!

"Clams have no teeth,"
says Pam the clam.
"I cannot eat
hot dogs or ham.

Pam goes on to enumerate all the other foods her teethless existence denies her.

"Peanuts! Pizzas!
Popcorn! SPAM!
Not even huckleberry jam!"

Having established that not having teeth is major bummer, Seuss is ready to guide us into the third part of The Tooth Book: taking care of your teeth.

"You will lose set number one.
And when you do, it's not much fun.

"But then you'll grow set number two!
32 teeth, and all brand-new.
16 downstairs, and 16 more
upstairs on the upper floor.

"And when you get your second set,

Of course, Seuss goes on to tell you how important taking care of your teeth is, while introducing us to a few dummies who don't.

And don't be dumb like Katy Klopps.
Don't try to chew off bottle tops!

Finally, Seuss finishes us off with a nice trip to the dentist.

If you want to make dental hygiene seem important, yet fun, you couldn't do better than Dr. Seuss's The Tooth Book.

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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