Saturday, May 12, 2012

Doctor De Soto by William Steig - Don't Think About Eating Dentist Mice

Pros: My favorite William Steig book!
Cons: Nope!

The Bottom Line: If you're a fox and need dental help, don't think about eating your mouse dentist. That's just rude.

I remember a lot of the children’s books I read when I was a kid. Doctor De Soto was one of my favorites. Written and illustrated by William Steig (who also Alexander and the Magic Pebble and Amos & Boris), it’s a smart story with adorable drawings.

Doctor De Soto is a dentist. A mouse dentist, to be precise. But he doesn’t treat things that are likely to eat him, like cats and the like. But one day there’s a dapper fox outside his office crying pitifully about his aching tooth. The Doctor takes pity on him and with the help of his wife, takes out the bad tooth. The fox is ever so grateful, but needs to return in order to get his new tooth. While at home, the fox seriously starts to consider eating the Doctor despite all his help. The Doctor, on the other hand, is well aware of what goes on in the heads of foxes, and has a plan on how to teach this one a lesson…just in case.

I loved – and still love – the illustrations. They’re cute and full of life and color. The Doctor has all his little dentist implements, from drills to a little gas mask the fox has to wear before they take the tooth out. It’s not often that I get to recommend this book to people, but not long ago I had a couple looking for dentist-related kids books and got to chuck this one at them (which they bought – yay!).

Interestingly enough, this is a Newberry Honor book. Odd because it’s a picture book, but I guess the story was worthy of the nomination. But hey, I’d say it was with good reason. You’re not going to find a story like this anywhere else. After all, how often do you find tales about dentist mice?

I highly recommend giving this book a peek. Kids will love seeing how the Doctor thinks of a way to keep the fox hungry, and they may not even dislike the fox too much. He has a bit of a conscience battle about eating the Doctor, but after all, a fox is a fox, so you can’t really blame him. At least, that's what I thought when I was a kid. And hey, he gets himself a shiny new gold tooth!


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