A collection of “quirky rhyming tales” that occasionally recall Shel Silverstein, Granny’s Teeth adds in an educational component with questions for reader discussion.
“Bea’s Blizzard,” for example, tells the story of a girl sent to buy laundry soap who gets caught in a downpour; the subsequent suds take over the town and result in a school closure, and the product develops a fan base of school kids. A question in large type asks whether the events described could happen in real life, and four more prompt further study in the back of the book.
“The Helper” describes a child’s strategy to avoid unpacking with the family after a move, from cranking music they don’t like to obsessively popping bubble wrap. The child is finally shipped out to grandma and grandpa’s place, much to his relief.
The title story involves a night spent being lectured by a chatty pair of dentures. Upon first hearing the teeth, the speaker is understandably startled: “‘Who’s that?’ I yelled with a muffled scream./ ‘It is I, Granny’s teeth, and it’s not a dream./ Settle back and listen, for there’s nothing to fear./ I have enough stories to last for a year!)
Author Liz Cooper’s amusing rhymes generally have a moral lesson attached but sometimes give way to childish anarchy for its own sake. Reluctant readers may be drawn in by their brevity, and all youngsters will enjoy some laughs, as well as find something to think about.
The work does, however, contain a few grammatical errors, and the rhythm of the poems is often uneven. Revision with an eye to smoother cadence would improve this offering.
Still, the variety of subjects covered, from sand castle construction to a wind-blown toupee, improve odds that kids will find a story or theme to connect with. Overall, Granny’s Teeth will generate discussion—but it’s also just plain fun.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.