Book Review: The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story, by Bob Graham

Two young tooth fairy sisters need to collect a baby tooth which has just arrived at the airport, but can they do it and remain unseen?

Suitable for all early years’ readers who are just beginning to lose their first teeth.

Bob Graham is an Australian author and illustrator living in Melbourne. He has won the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year seven times and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award in Australia twice. All children’s libraries in Australia would most definitely have several of his books including Greetings from Sandy Beach and Home in the Rain.

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story is the newest book in Graham’s repertoire. It is a companion book to April Underhill, Tooth Fairy and continues the adventures of April and her sister Esme.

April and Esme and their new brother Vincent are having a sleepover at their Grandma and Grandad’s house, which is amongst the grass in an old pink teapot near the fence of the airport. This story reminds us of the things we love about sleepovers with our grandparents: cooking cakes, licking the spoon, and warm cosy beds.

Because Mum and Dad are away, April, Esme and Grandma have to step in to collect the tooth from a young girl who is arriving by plane from Ghana. (Grandpa needs to stay behind and look after young Vincent). Can they manage to do it without being seen? On the way they have to be careful of the planes flying in to land, and then they need to navigate the airport terminal. On the way through the terminal they meet Apollo and Mercury, two cupids, and Ophelia the angel.

Graham has a very distinct style with his artwork. Children all over the world will recognise his adorable characters with their large noses and lack of chins. The simple lines and bright colours have just enough detail to make the illustrations interesting and fun.

Graham’s text is easy for young children to understand but doesn’t talk down to them. They will enjoy the illustrations and the text. The scenes in the airport are particularly heart-warming as people arrive home to their loved ones.

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story is suitable for all early years’ readers who are just beginning to lose their first teeth.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: October 2019
RRP: $24.99

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