A traditional fairy tale with a modern twist, an unlikely heroine, and truly magical illustrations.
This is the story of a very tiny fairy – a fairy called Mouse who is a lot smaller than all the other fairies. So small, in fact, that she’s not allowed to go out with the others to collect teeth because she might get SQUISHED! Instead, she acts as a messenger for the important fairies on the Council and that’s how Mouse accidently discovers that the stores of fairy magic are running dangerously low. The land of Tooth is powered by the magic from children’s teeth but fewer and fewer children are leaving their teeth out for the Tooth Fairies. If someone doesn’t do something soon, everything on Tooth – the colours in the flowers, the beautiful stained glass windows, the fairies themselves – will fade to grey and die. Mouse is determined that won’t happen and, despite her diminutive size, she sets off to find the magic the fairies desperately need. She’s a vigilante Tooth Fairy, ready to do whatever it takes (and to break the rules if necessary) to return the magic to Tooth. But is she really prepared?
The Vigilante Tooth Fairy brings a twenty-first century twist to the traditional fairy tale. The book opens with our narrator directly addressing the reader in a style that is almost guaranteed to appeal to emerging readers: ‘Hey, there you are! We’ve been waiting for you so we can begin. Are you ready?’ It then drops into more traditional third-person storytelling before returning to our narrator with a simply inspired aside in chapter two. This looks at the ‘tale’s dilemma’, explaining how every story has one and giving some fun examples from Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and, my personal favourite, Cinderella. (‘Cinderella lost her dodgy slipper, leaving behind a poor, confused and heartbroken Prince.’)
Most of the rest of the book is told from Mouse’s perspective. As our central character, she is appealing and easy to identify with. Her new human friend, Faith, is also cleverly developed. I loved the way that author, B B Taylor, chose to create a child who doesn’t believe in fairies to play this pivotal role. Even as she is thinking up ways to help her new fairy friend, Faith doesn’t really believe her magical encounters are anything more than a dream. Given this, it really made me smile when her mum questions why Faith slept in her thick winter coat, her comfy knitted hat and still had her shoes on!
The plot itself is straightforward and easy to follow with just enough twists and turns for a newly emerging reader to follow. If they’re anything like me, they’ll also love the world-building (including the land of Tooth, the Tooth Fairy equipment and, perhaps best of all, the volcano that proves to be the key to the story.)
Young readers are also likely to adore the truly magical black and white illustrations by James Shaw that accompany the text, especially those of Mouse. In a simple cartoon style, Mouse’s personality and emotions really shine through. There is just so much expression in her eyes!
If you loved this, you might want to try to track down a copy of Curse of the Nomed by B B Taylor that was created to support children’s mental health charity Partnership for Children. For something slightly longer, why not try The Legend of Kevin by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre.
Publication Date: March 2020
Publisher: Tiny Tree
Author’s website: B B Taylor