“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Tooth Mouse ▪ picture book

The Tooth Mouse
Susan Hood    illustrated by Janice Nadeau
Available now  ▪  Kids Can Press  ▪ Ages 3 - 7
This finely rendered fable introduces readers to France's version of the tooth fairy.
Story:  In many countries around the world, there is no such thing as The Tooth Fairy.  Instead, there is the Tooth Mouse!  This modern fable, set in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, tells how an aging French Tooth Mouse names her successor.  Can little Sophie meet the three contest challenges?  Can she prove she is the right mouse of the job of La Petite Souris?  Illustrated in gorgeous watercolors, the book includes information about tooth traditions around the globe.
The Story Behind the Story:  Author Susan Hood explains: "When I worked at Nick Jr. Magazine, I wrote a regular feature called “Kids Like You,” in which I interviewed young children around the world about their everyday lives. My husband connected me with the French family he lived with as an exchange student years ago and I interviewed six-year-old Sophie. Given her age, I asked, “What happens when you lose a tooth in France?” She said, “Well, you give it to the Tooth Mouse, of course!” I had never heard of such a thing! The more I researched, the more I found that many, many countries all around the world (Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Russia, Spain, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Venezuela and more) have a Tooth Mouse instead of a Tooth Fairy. Italy has both! In my research, I also found a 17th century story about the Tooth Mouse, La Bonne Petite Souris, written by Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, one of the most prolific fairy tale writers of the French Salons. It’s quite a long story and like many fairy tales, it’s filled with murder, deceit and revenge. I wanted to write a younger, gentler story—my own modern fairy tale—and yet include the quests and challenges I loved in books as a child. Et voilà! The name of my Tooth Mouse comes from the little girl who first introduced me to her. Merci beaucoup, Sophie!"

Formerly the content director for NICK JR. magazine, Susan Hood has written more than 200 children's books -- including two other picture books due out this fall: JUST SAY BOO! and SPIKE:  THE MIXED-UP MONSTER, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, winner of both the 2012 Sibert Award for nonfiction and a Caldecott Honor Award.  Illustrator Janet Nadeau lives in Montreal and is a three-time recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Illustration,

Canada’s most prestigious literary prize.  


"How charming is this?.... a unique ending that listeners and their parents will smile with the cleverness of it all. Nadeau’s art is clever as well. Using delicate ink lines and soft-shaded watercolors, she offers pictures that seem truly set in a world of mice. There is a lightness and sweetness to the art that makes every full-page picture and vignette a tasty yet smart confection. Those who’ve believed in the Tooth Fairy will happily make a place for the Tooth Mouse." (STARRED REVIEW)


"Beautifully executed…. Hood masterfully spins her story with lush language sprinkled with some French (which further impresses when read aloud). … Readers will pore over the exquisitely drawn details on each page.... With a nod to classic titles of years past, this provides a fresh, modern take on an itty-bitty heroine's achievement of her seemingly impossible goal."  
"Like Katharine Holabird’s Angelina Ballerina, this effervescent story from Hood (the Pup and Hound series) stars a dainty, ballet-loving mouse, but Sophie’s life is a little edgier than Angelina’s. ... Sophie’s ballet skills come in handy, but her courage and intelligence win the day. Hood’s confiding tone and French asides are part of the book’s charm, while Nadeau’s (Cinnamon Baby) ink-and-watercolor paintings, with their delicate tracery and moody pink and gray washes, temper the story’s frilliness with just a hint of dark humor."

A 2013 ReadBoston’s Best Read Aloud Book Award Finalist!



Mrs. Null said...

I suppose I never thought much about tooth tradition and especially about the fairy being a rodent! In Tooth Mouse the reader is introduced to the mouse who delivers money to French children in exchange for their baby teeth. I love how the author Susan Hood uses French words and sayings throughout the text in context, not requiring French skills to understand the words. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are beautiful.Using warm romantic natural light greens, browns, and pinks, the illustrations feel dreamy soothing. The pink and white tooth littered end papers feel decedent and I appreciate the list of various global tooth traditions on the last end page.

JHergert said...

Having never heard of a tooth mouse, I was immediately intrigued by this beautiful book, The Tooth Mouse. Children all over will be delighted to know what happens to the teeth of children in France and to learn a few French words and phrases they can put to use. I enjoy the idea of having to prove worthiness in order to obtain such a prestigious position, as Sophie was required to do. The illustrations are wonderful! Although I loved the story, I was slightly disappointed with the plan Sophie came up with in the end, and I can see young children being confused by the idea.

Anonymous said...

I have read about tooth traditions in other countries, but never heard specifically of the tooth mouse. I found this book to be a perfect blend of culture, tradition and fiction. The French vocab sprinkles throughout the book made it fun to read. The story itself was very cute and the English vocabulary used (ie: corridors, deep recesses, massive, trudged, guffawing, etc.), make using this book to teach context clues and vocabulary an easy choice. Unlike the previous comment, I actual enjoyed the ending and found it to be something young children would understand. The illustrations were very nicely done. I also enjoyed the list of tooth traditions listed in the back of the book. I see this as an opportunity to have my class research other tooth traditions and write their own fictional tale based on the traditions in other nations. Overall, I'd give this book a 5.

Pat Hensley said...

This book was a really cute book. I would definitely share this with friends and family who have children who are losing their baby teeth. Throughout the story, the author uses French words which were a great way to introduce culture to a young reader. There were also great new vocabulary words for a child to learn too. I loved the illustrations throughout the story also. Of course, the age old tradition of losing baby teeth and what happens to them would be appealing to a young child. By adding a list of traditions on the back cover, it also introduces other countries and cultures into a child’s life.

Monika B said...

I personally didn’t know about other countries customs, so I was very curious to learn about the France’s Tooth Mouse. What a beautiful and magical book! The author Susan Hood presents a very cute and simple story of a Tooth Mouse that delivers coins to children in exchange for their baby teeth, with several unexpected learning components. She mixed in few French words for children to learn. What a clever idea. I love how children can learn when reading about the tasks the mice are given. And the ending? Loved it. So smart. Oh and the pictures, they are so very beautiful, old fashioned and tasteful.

janew said...

Global literature is a current passion of mine and I am always looking for authentic ways for US children to connect to other cultures via universal customs,concepts, rites of passage, etc. Tooth Mouse, is delightfully written and illustrated book that takes children and their curiosities along with Sophie in her quest to become the next Tooth Mouse. Reading the book to a group of kindergarten and first graders was hugely successful! This book has 'legs'--one that leads kids back into the book and beyond! 5+

booktoo said...

Tooth Mouse by Susan Hood with illustrations by Janice Nadeau.
A tradition in France, for young children when their baby teeth fall out, is to set them aside for La Petite Souris, aka ‘the small mouse’. In this delightful fable Sophie is competing for the job as the next La Petite Souris. She has a quest to prove that she is brave, honest and wise. If she is capable of succeeding in 3 tasks, she may yet be the next ‘Tooth Mouse’.
Join Sophie as she competes and see how she solves the problem of what do you do with all of those baby teeth.

Linda said...

This is one of the most delightful books I have read in a while. From the beginning to the end, the story would captivate any reader. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how the book would end. This book is a great resource for talking about traditions and small moments in personal narratives. Just about every child has a "tooth story". I give it a 5 without a doubt.

Linda said...

This is one of the most delightful books I have read in a while. From the beginning to the end, the story would captivate any reader. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how the book would end. This book is a great resource for talking about traditions and small moments in personal narratives. Just about every child has a "tooth story". I give it a 5 without a doubt.

Anonymous said...

Sweet story with beautifully detailed illustrations. I liked how the contestants in the competition were eliminated with each task. When reading to older students they enjoyed guessing ways to solve the problems. This book has been enjoyed by all ages that I have shared it with. I give it a 5.

Ms. Armstrong said...

This book is a great addition to our collection. We have a book called, Throw Your Tooth on the Roof, which introduces the concept of tooth fairy traditions around the world. Having The Tooth Mouse focus on the French tradition will be great for our Global Studies curriculum. The illustrations are lovely and I know our students will enjoy this book. Thanks!

Susan Hood said...

Merci beaucoup to all of you for these wonderful comments. They did my heart good!

PLLoggerR said...

The Tooth Mouse by Susan Hood, Illustrated by Janice Nadeau is a nice introduction to another culture and tradition. The illustrations are expressive, the storyline thoughtful. The end, however was odd and might frighten small children, particularly those who are quite literal. Even so, I think this will be a nice addition to the collection and to storytime!

Anonymous said...

Young children are endlessly fascinated with losing teeth and what happens after. This is a nice addition to our collection of tooth fairy stories from around the world.

Susan said...

An adorable story with a hero that's the youngest and smallest of them all. Works well with a tooth fairy theme. Will also work with helping young children realize that they too can have important contributions. Also a nice tie in with basic French - would be great for teaching beginners. Really enjoyed it!