In author Erin Danielle Russell’s newest picture book, How to Trick the Tooth Fairy an adorable, caramel-skinned little beauty named Kaylee takes pranks to a whole ‘nother level when she goes toe-to-toe (make that toe-to-fairy-wings) against someone who is as serious about pranks as she is: the tooth fairy!
The book opens to a clever diagram that explains how Kaylee, a “prank princess in the making,” has all the equipment a serious prankster needs, including comfy shoes for creeping, a twinkle of mischief in her eyes, and a special love for April Fool’s Day. Every day and every night, Kaylee finds someone to prank. She pranks her baby sister by awakening her to a gruesome and scary mask. She pranks her unsuspecting classmates by hiding on a tree limb and dropping water balloons on their heads as they walk past. She even pranks family members by leaving marbles on the floor for when they head for the presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
Kaylee meets her match when the Tooth Fairy comes for a visit. Kaylee leaves a fake frog under her pillow instead of a tooth, and then…all you-know-what breaks out when the Tooth Fairy retaliates by zapping Kaylee with REAL frogs. The two prankster princesses proceed to try to prank each other into oblivion. Kaylee puts hot sauce in the Tooth Fairy’s pie, and the Tooth Fairy pelts Kaylee with ice cream. Kaylee sprays the Fairy with water and the Fairy drenches Kaylee with a different kind of rain: the kind that rains cats and dogs. The pranks become bigger and more spectacular — a true nail-biter until the very last page.
This is a clever prank book and Tooth Fairy book all rolled into one. Ms. Russell’s prose is lively and fast-paced, and appropriate for the book’s target audience (ages 4 to 8). Artist Jennifer Hansen Rolli’s illustrations are vibrant, colorful and slapstick funny. However, there is one small quibble about this book. Some of Kaylee’s pranks seem to border on cruelty. For example, scaring her baby sister awake with a monster mask is not the sweetest act in the world. And planting marbles near the Christmas tree on Christmas morning practically promises to land someone on their knees or their backside — a big fall that usually spells pain.
This quibble aside, this is an adorable little book with an adorable MC that young readers will definitely want to see in more books. Use this book as supplemental reading for legends and traditions, or as independent reading for your emerging little prankster.