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Tooth on the Loose Hardcover – June 19, 2008

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Press Here
Press Here
Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey. Each page instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next. Hardcover | More for ages 3-5

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K—A young girl laments that her wiggly tooth will not fall out soon enough to enable her to collect tooth fairy money to buy a birthday gift for Papá. The rhyming story includes a mix of Spanish words within the English-language context—"I needed that tooth out/today, not mañana./But yanking? Too painful./I tried a manzana." The cheerful illustrations rendered in oil using a palette with shades of orange and rust show a delightful extended family willing to help the child with her problem. Traditional foods such as avocados, tamales, and tortillas decorate the birthday table as the congenial family gathers to celebrate. Young children will be able to relate to the simple, yet realistic, conclusion to the tale. A basic glossary, with pronunciation guide, precedes the text. This will be a welcome addition for both bilingual children and those who are looking to expand and reinforce their basic Spanish vocabulary.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
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From Booklist

Elya, a former Spanish teacher, takes a small moment in time—those several days in which a baby tooth is wiggly and almost ready to come out—and gives it a Spanish-inflected telling. Like her other books in this format, a glossary and a pronunciation guide accompany the story, whose simple stanzas each contain a couple of Spanish words in bold type. In addition to the stubborn tooth, the narrator has another problem: her father’s birthday is tomorrow: “I have no regalo. / And that’s not a good thing. / Since no gift is malo.”  Mattheson’s illustrations, in oil paint on primed paper, are vivid and bright, and they capture a cheerful world where such obstacles are certain to be overcome. The child may despair that the tooth fairy will not arrive in time to finance a gift, but she is resourceful and creative, and  she even copes when the puppies she is bathing for money become unruly. The last page—featuring a smiling father embracing a daughter who now has a tooth missing from her grin—is satisfyingly sweet. Preschool-Grade 1. --Abby Nolan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (June 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039924459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399244599
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,032,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Susan Middleton Elya grew up near Des Moines, Iowa, went to college 35 miles away, and then left her state to teach in the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska. She wanted to teach 3rd grade but ended up teaching high school Spanish instead (due to her double degree from Iowa State University). After 8.5 years of teaching in the Midwest, she moved to San Diego to get married and ended up teaching Spanish to native speakers in Ramona, California. Then a move with her husband to the Bay Area left her jobless, with a new baby, and with plenty of time to write. She started submitting stories for publication in 1988 and finally struck gold with Say Hola to Spanish, a nonfiction picture book from Lee & Low, in 1994. Now, 26 titles later, Elya is working on novels, as well. She has two grown children and one nearly-grown child, and still loves to make up stories, do school visits, and remember what it was like to be a kid. She also has an antiques and book store in Danville, California, where she sells autographed copies of her books. Check it out at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Laslie on June 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My 5-year-old daughter picked this book out at the library and we have read it every day! It is a short story in a rhyming style with Spanish words intermingled throughout. The short glossary at the front of the book explains the pronunciation and meaning of each Spanish word, though the context of the words in the story make them pretty easy to understand. It is about a little girl who wants her loose tooth to fall out so that the tooth fairy will bring her money; she hopes to use the money to buy her father a birthday present. In the end, she makes him a card, which her father loves, and then her tooth finally comes out. It is a cute story with a great introduction to Spanish language for my non-Spanish kiddos.
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