How To Trick The Tooth Fairy (Erin Danielle Russell)

Hello, friends! Our book today is How To Trick The Tooth Fairy, written by Erin Danielle Russell and illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli, a tale of two tricksters learning that two heads are better than one.

Kaylee is a prank princess in training – she loves finding ways to outfox her friends and family, like scaring her little sister with a spooky mask, or giving them chocolate sandwich cookies with dog toothpaste filling. But everyone knows that the true prank princess is… the Tooth Fairy! She sneaks into people’s rooms, is able to cast spells with her wand, and knows how to outwit even the cleverest of kids. However, Kaylee thinks she’s up to the challenge: she’s planned a few pranks for the Tooth Fairy that will give her a run for her money. But when the prank war gets out of hand, the two may need to set aside their competition to undo the mess they’ve made.

This is a really tough one. There are positives: the text is witty and fun, and the illustrations are whimsically adorable. I liked that the Tooth Fairy and Kaylee recognized when their tricks got out of hand, and took the responsibility together of cleaning up their mess. But in the end, whether you like this book or not comes down to how your family feels about pranks. To me, a lot of the pranks seemed mean-spirited (Kaylee sets out marbles to make SANTA trip and fall). There’s no comeuppance or discouragement of this behavior, and the two band together to play tricks on others at the end, which sort of encourages it. For my part, I’m not sure I’d want JJ getting ideas like putting hot sauce in someone’s food or slingshotting chewed gum at people, especially if there’s no negative outcome shown. The length was fine, and JJ liked the pictures, but while pranking may be all in good fun for other families, this one just doesn’t make our list.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Fred Forgets (Jarvis)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is called Fred Forgets by Jarvis, the tale of a forgetful elephant and his mischievous monkey friend.

They say an elephant never forgets; unfortunately, Fred is not that elephant. No, he’s extremely forgetful, and so relies on his “friend” Monkey to help him remember what he was in the midst of doing. Unfortunately, Monkey is a bit of a prankster – actually, he’s kind of a bully. Monkey tells Fred to do increasingly embarrassing, painful, or dangerous things until at last, Fred remembers what he wanted to do in the first place: sit on Monkey and squish him.

Honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. While the illustrations are fun, colorful and dynamic, the story was troubling. Monkey’s exploitation and manipulation of Fred’s memory problem is deeply uncomfortable; his “funny” pranks aren’t amusing, just mean, cruel, and occasionally life-threatening. And unlike Jarvis’s previous story, Alan’s Big Scary Teeth, the bully doesn’t come to understand the error of his ways. Instead, his comeuppance comes in the form of being sat upon – satisfying after all his antics, but hardly a positive lesson for little readers. And while the length was fine, and JJ enjoyed the animals and the vibrant art, and the author does include a pleasantly cheeky final page showing that “no monkeys or elephants were harmed in the making of this book”, I’m not sure if this is one we can recommend. For us, despite its positives, the story simply missed the mark by too much.