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

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Review: Open Wide, Tooth School Inside

Title: Open Wide, Tooth School Inside

Author: Laurie Keller

Illustrator: Laurie Keller

Publisher: Black Dog Books, A$16.99RRP

Format: Soft cover

ISBN: 9781876372903

For ages: 4-12

Type: Picture Book

Ouch! Look out, dentist-phobics (there’s a word for that…V) this book will soon strip you of your paranoia. How could anyone be afraid of the dreaded drill after reading this very clever, information-packed and visually entertaining ode to all things teeth? Open wide... come inside...

Kids of all ages will love cavorting through the pages of Open Wide, Tooth School Inside – with its rib-tickling characters. This is no sugar-coated story – oral hygiene is Told Like It Is, but in a way that is truly engaging and fun for kids of all ages.

Clever use of names and humour make the book highly educational but also lots of fun. Dr Flossman takes his class of canines, molars and incisors through daily announcements, what constitutes good and bad teeth (complete with a delightful, mouldy black and green grin), a look at what teeth are actually made of, and such fascinating insights as why those throw-away baby teeth are so important.

There are reports from students, inside information on the tooth fairy, clear-cut advice on which tooth does what and how to stave off the all-dreaded tooth decay. We even learn the nine common reactions a tooth will experience in reaction to a cavity (shock, panic, fear, anger and denial amongst them).

This clever, visually gorgeous book is absolutely perfect for children who struggle with teeth-cleaning rituals, but it’s also a book even the orally-perfect will ravenously devour. Even adults will chuckle and marvel – my particular favourite is the reports by ‘students’ on teeth over the ages… did you know that Japanese women of the early 1600s blackened their teeth, and that George Washington had dentures made of elephant ivory, hippopotamus tusks and cow teeth?

There’s also a bonus round of quizzing at the end of the book to help cement the unobtrusive educational elements of the book.

Vibrantly illustrated and beautifully laid out by a designer who certainly knows what they’re doing, Open Wide has a nice balance of text-heavy pages, snippety text pockets and cartoon-like dialogue. Kids of many an age will be entranced and subsequently keep their noses firmly in place between the pages, darting from morsel to morsel.

Just make certain no morsels get wedged between the teeth!

Author website

This book is available online