Franklin and the Tooth Fairy


32 pages
ISBN 1-55074-280-9
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Brenda Clark
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is editor of the Canadian Book Review Annual’s
Children’s Literature edition.


Our friend Franklin the turtle is back in another tale about the trials
and tribulations of growing up. This time, his friend Bear has lost his
first tooth and is anticipating a present from the tooth fairy in honor
of this momentous event in his young life. Franklin is sad because
turtles don’t have teeth, and so he puts a small white pebble under
his shell hoping that the tooth fairy will take it for a turtle tooth.
She doesn’t, but Franklin’s parents give him a present, in honor of
his growing up.

As usual, Bourgeois has written a whimsical, entertaining story, and
Franklin is as appealing as ever. Unfortunately an obscure agenda is
hiding under the tooth fairy’s wings. As in the other Franklin books,
Bourgeois seems to be striving to make a particular point, but here the
message is unclear. The ending reads as if it were tacked on to make
sure the reader or listener has understood the intended lesson—“From
then on, Franklin didn’t worry about being different from Bear. He
knew that, in all the important ways, he and Bear were exactly the
same.” Was that the point? What does that have to do with the tooth
fairy? This ending also begs the question: Are we all exactly the same
in the important things? Many would disagree. And what are the important
things? Are we to infer that the important thing is that everybody grows
up? Superficial differences, like possession of teeth (or gender or
color of skin), don’t really matter? Those who don’t have teeth are
just as important as those who do? Beats me. Perhaps this is meant to be
an antibias book that reinforces self-esteem, but it took me three
readings to come up with this hypothesis. I fear young children won’t
get the point either, but they will probably enjoy the book, which is
complemented by Brenda Clark’s trademark illustrations. Recommended
with reservations.


Bourgeois, Paulette., “Franklin and the Tooth Fairy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,