HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy: Gregory Maguire

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy: Gregory Maguire

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: March 20, 2008

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth FairyWhat-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy

by Gregory Maguire

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Candlewick (September 11, 2007)

This is a story that will take you on a journey where fantasy and reality are wonderfully intertwined.

A fug of smoke lay on the
slopes above the deserted freeway. It might have reminded neighbors
of campfire hours, but there were few neighbors around to notice. Most
of them had gotten out while they still could
.”

In reality we have three siblings, one of whom is a toddler, stranded in their own home by a devastating natural disaster. A distant cousin of their mother, Gage, is taking care of them. As they have no electricity and not much in the way of food, Gage decides to tell the three children a story to distract them. The story he tells is certainly not an everyday fairy tale, and this is where the fantasy sets in.

What-the-Dickens is the Rogue Tooth Fairy and the main character of Gage’s tale. He is an orphan, and spends his time trying to figure out who he is, and why he is so attracted to teeth (even pearly brown ones). There is a special something about his character that has you keeping your fingers crossed that life goes his way. What-the-Dickens is challenged with making new friends, meeting unlikely friends, and entering the skibereen (tooth fairy) society.

I certainly recommend giving this modern take on a traditional tale a shot. It may not be for everyone, but certainly worth picking up to see if it’s right for you. Why not try reading aloud a chapter next bed time?! “you’ll be flown to your next destination without the benefit of an airplane.”

Gregory Maguire discusses what-the-dickens

The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by one of TCBR's regular contributors.

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