This finely rendered fable introduces readers to the Tooth Mouse, France’s version of the tooth fairy, and to Sophie, a sweet young mouse who must prove she is brave, honest and wise enough to take over this important job.
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. She has no parents, makes her home "atop an ancient cathedral in France," and prefers not to go to bed. Her interest is piqued when the black-caped, no-nonsense Tooth Mouse (the French version of the Tooth Fairy) announces her retirement after years of "dodging cats, collecting coins and delivering the money to children in exchange for their baby teeth." The Tooth Mouse runs three separate trials, like the labors of Hercules; any mouse who wants her job must obtain a cat's whisker, come by a silver coin honestly, and suggest a plan for the thousands of teeth she's collected. 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. Ages 3 7.