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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Children's Picture Book Explores The Things We Forget About Losing Our Teeth

Book Title:                I Am NOT Selling My Tooth!
Author:                      Kelli Nielsen     
Illustrator:                Kelly Hawkins
Where to buy the book 
Genre:                        Picture Book (Ages 6-8)
ISBN:                         978-1503366077  (Paperback)
Publisher:                  Kelli and Kelly Books for Kids

Reviewed by Marlan Warren originally in "Dancing in the Experience Lane" Open Salon Blog


             “The kids in my class are losing their teeth. Yuck!”

                                        —“I Am NOT Selling My Tooth”

What is there to say about children’s “baby teeth” that has not already been said? On the face of it, the traditional equation is simple: 1 lost baby tooth = $ from a Tooth Fairy. Kelli Nielsen’s “I Am NOT Selling My Tooth” puts a charming spin on this scenario with heartfelt warmth and humor by taking the position that children are capable of making their own decisions about how to respond to the body changes that are part of growing older. It is a gentle examination of a rite of passage that adults, as well as children, can relate to and appreciate.

The story takes off when the rebellious Alec declares, “I’m keeping my teeth small just like me.” He doesn’t see why his teeth just can’t grow bigger as he grows bigger. The fact that Alec shares the same name as the author’s son, whom she thanks in the book’s Dedication along with her other son Austin, grounds the story in reality and gives it a very personal tone.

Enhanced by Kelly Hawkin’s fun illustrations that evoke a child’s abstract perception of space, color and line, “I Am NOT Selling My Tooth” never talks down to children, but is right there with the child’s need to have some autonomy in life choices, no matter how “small” they are. It takes readers on a tour of the tooth-loss phenomenon that includes sharks, baseball injuries and even an octopus that receives something other than money for its lost tooth.

I would recommend this book for any parent with a child about to lose a tooth or who has lost a tooth, and as an excellent educational aid for dentists. It might even be helpful for therapists and life coaches who wish to discuss life changes and the various options available for responding and adjusting to them—no matter how old we are.

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