Dental hygiene is an important topic for children, both in the classroom and at home. In this offering the author attempts to use a humorous approach to teaching important facts. Using a blend of fact and fiction (faction), she presents a day in the school life of a class of teeth and their teacher, Dr Flossman. The good Doctor guides the class through lessons in tooth structure, tooth roles, tooth care and more. The importance of baby teeth, the realities of a trip to the dentist and interesting facts about the teeth through history are all discussed.
This is a hard one to judge. There are a lot of humorous asides and one liners which are there to entertain rather than inform, but there are also many important facts. The book was written for the US market and, whilst the spelling and grammar have been adapted, this does show through in places, including the scene of the teeth beginning the day with a Pledge of Allegiance to the mouth. This aside, kids will enjoy the cartoon illustrations and the jokes, and may even learn something.
Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, by Laurie Keller
Black Dog Books, 2005 (First published by Henry Holt, 2000)
This review first appeared in Reading Time magazine.