Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón PérezThe Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Tom Lintern. Tricycle Press, 2010.

René Colato Laínez shares the story that inspired this book on his website.  In his native El Salvador, when a child loses a tooth, "El Ratón Pérez, the Hispanic tooth collector" takes the tooth and leaves a small present in exchange.

So what would happen if El Ratón Pérez ran into the Tooth Fairy while both were about to lay claim to a little boy's first lost tooth?  El Ratón Pérez declares, "I collected his papá's, mamá's and his abuielito's." Miguelito, sleeps, unawares, while the two  struggle over his tooth.  When their arguing causes the tooth to almost be lost forever,  they decide to form an alliance to retrieve it.

I have known the Tooth Fairy all my life and never suspected there was another character in the tooth collecting canon. The legend of a a mouse in the biz is extends beyond Central and South America to Europe according to the notes at the end. A list of Spanish terms is also included to aid English speakers with some of the Spanish expressions and terms.

Tom Lintern's El Ratón Pérez is a robust rodent sporting a gaucho look while the Tooth Fairy hovers in a delicate pink frock.  Lintern uses a dreamy color palette and includes nice details like English and Spanish language books on Miguelito's bookshelf.  The boy's tooth goes missing on that bookshelf, next to the book Tooth Fairy Lore
The loss of a tooth is an important milestone in a child's life and Colato Laínez and Lintern honor the cultures that celebrate it. 

This book will be an outstanding addition to a any school library and librarians at bilingual schools should definitely consider this title for their collections.

René Colato Laínez's website

Tom Lintern's website

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