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Monday 21 August 2023

Review: The Amazing and True Story of Tooth Mouse Perez

In Australia we talk about the Tooth Fairy, and there are certain traditions about what happens when a child loses their 'baby' teeth. Do you know how the traditions began?

In Spain such traditions have deep roots (no pun intended). They have the Tooth Mouse, also known as Ratoncito Perez.

Once upon a time, when a child lost a tooth, they threw it backwards -- originally onto the roof, then into the fireplace -- and sang a little rhyme calling for the Tooth Mouse to collect it.

With the advent of ubiquitous electricity the fireplace was no longer an option. What happened then is explained in The Amazing and True Story of Tooth Mouse Perez

Tooth Mouse Perez is one of the descendants of the original tooth mice. He becomes part of newer tooth traditions, with children leaving their teeth under their pillow, and awaiting a 'gift' of money in exchange. One way Tooth Mouse Perez put the teeth to good use was as jewellery!

Tooth Mouse Perez is the just one incarnation of the tooth tradition, and when one of his descendants travelled outside his home country, he encountered the Italian Tooth Ant. And what do you get when you cross a mouse and an ant (because that's what happens when they fall in love)? A mouse with ant wings. And a mouse with ant wings can be mistaken for a fairy. A tooth fairy.

This story, originally told in Spanish by philologist and folklore specialist Ana Cristina Herreros, and illustrated by Violeta Lopiz, has been translated by Sara Lissa Paulson. It takes a traditional tale, and demonstrates how things evolve over time.

History, traditions, and an ever-changing world are part of the thought-provoking story that is The Amazing and True Story of Tooth Mouse Perez. Imbued with the magical and mythical atmosphere of folk history, it will capture the imagination of children and adults alike, and make them wonder, 'what if'?

Title: The Amazing and True Story of Tooth Mouse Perez
Author: Ana Cristina Herreros
Illustrator: Violeta Lopiz
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, $29.99
Publication Date: August 2023
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  9781592703593
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book