'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 1 March 2010

Review: Ginger McFlea Will Not Clean Her Teeth

After thoroughly enjoying Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair and Jasper McFlea Will Not Eat His Tea, I was really thrilled to receive Fox’s third book, this time featuring the irrepressible Ginger McFlea.

When Ginger Flea will not clean her teeth, she risks all manner of cavity-grief.... But forgive me, I won’t even try to emulate the perfectly rhythmic and highly entertaining poetry Fox uses in her third book of the same style. Rhyme of such cadence is certainly hard to do well, but Fox achieves a sharp, funny and slick storyline that simultaneously honours the Australian idiomatic vernacular.

Using synonyms for teeth like ‘choppers’, ‘pearlers’ and ‘pegs’, we learn that Ginger McFlea possesses a headful of skanky holes and gum rot which is driving her mother bananas. Not even her pearly-perfect brother can convince her to grab hold of that brush and get scrubbing.

Out of sheer desperation, Ginger’s mum calls the dentist who takes one look at her mutant gob whoppers and prescribes a phone call to the Tooth Fairy, post-haste. Mary, the Tooth Fairy and main Tooth Housing representative, answers the call and proceeds to advise, much to the horror of Ginger McFlea, that yes indeed she only takes the very best, pearly white teeth for sound fairy dwellings.

Needless to say, Ginger soon gets scrubbing. She’d hardly want to be responsible for stinky fairy-dwellings, after all.

Love a book that teaches not preaches, and Ginger McFlea does just that. It has enough humour to engage children and enough deeply embedded moral code to impart a fine storytelling balance that could easily become a reading-time staple. Or main attraction of a dentist waiting room.

Illustrations by Mitch Vane round out the humour and charm of this lovely book. I may not be 0-5 years old any more, but I must say I’m looking forward to giggling through the next book produced by Fox. Pip McFlip won’t clean her ears? Sally O’Malley won’t clip her nails? Annie Magee will not blow her nose? I’m ready and waiting for the rhythmic and rib-tickling hoo-ha.

Title: Ginger McFlea Will Not Clean Her Teeth
Author: Lee Fox
Illustrator: Mitch Vane
Publisher: Lothian Children’s Books, $16.99 RRP
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 978 0 7344 1129 7
For ages: 0-5
Type: Picture Book