From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A small bear named Zach is told by his mother that he should avoid humans because they are "dangerous and unpredictable," but he chances to hear a human mother tell her son, who has just lost a tooth, that he should expect a visit from the tooth fairy. Zach, who is also about to lose a tooth, starts to worry: is the tooth fairy human and dangerous? After reassurances from his sister and mother, all ends well. The uncluttered watercolor illustrations help tell the story and emphasize the theme that "anyone can be a bear and a bear can be anyone," as Zach's mother says. There seems to be too much going on for a young audience to absorb fully. The illustrations also add to the confusion. Zach and his sister are dressed similarly to the two human children; Zach carries a human boy doll and the boy carries a bear (both dressed alike); the fairy is a bear; she waves her wand and a male baseball player in a picture above Zach's bed and the cub's doll become bears instead of humans. Finally, his sister Leah dresses up like the tooth fairy to reassure him at one point. For a wonderful book about everyone being able to do and be anything they choose, suggest Mary Hoffman's Amazing Grace (Dial, 1991).-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Zach, a bear with a loose tooth, worries that the tooth fairy doesn’t visit bears. Older sister Leah won’t confirm or deny, best friend Harrison doesn’t know, and Mom intones mysteriously, “A bear can be anyone . . . and anyone can be a bear.” When the tooth falls out, Zach is determined to stay awake—and is rewarded with a visit from a tutu-clad teddy wearing a crown of flowers (it’s Leah), who presents him with an apple. Satisfied, he falls asleep, completely missing the appearance of a diminutive flying blue bear that exchanges his tooth for a dollar bill. Levine addresses the concerns of many children who want to believe that magic exists and avails everyone. Brannen’s sunny watercolor-and-pencil illustrations exude a reassuring feel, and include many interesting details (Zach’s quilt features oak leaves; his pillow case acorns). Young listeners will also appreciate the fairy’s parting gift—transforming Zach’s human doll and Sandy Koufax poster into bears. For other dental customs, see Penda Diakite’s I Lost My Tooth in Africa (2006). Preschool-Kindergarten. --Kay Weisman