The Tooth Book

19 07 2012

Dr. Seuss wrote a bunch of books under a pseudonym, which is a fake name, also known as a pen name.

Actually, he wrote all his books under a pseudonym, because he name wasn’t actually Dr. Seuss.  Seuss was his middle name and also his mother’s maiden name.  Even though the actual pronunciation is more like Soice, rhyming with voice, Dr. Seuss was okay with everyone mispronouncing his name, because it sounded more like a name for an author of children’s stories, reminding him of Mother Goose.

So, his real name was Theodore Geisel, and his pseudonym was Dr. Seuss, but he had another pen name too.  Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated poetic children’s stories.  For his other books, ones that he wrote mostly for beginning readers, but did not illustrate himself, he used another name – Theo LeSieg.  Theo was a shortening of his real first name, and LeSieg is Geisel backwards.

One of the LeSieg books that has become a classic of sorts is The Tooth Book.  Like most books be either LeSieg or Seuss, the book is a series of rhyming passages with a whimsical feel.   This one starts by showing you teeth of all shapes and sizes, from all different sorts of creatures, like walruses, crocodiles, and people.  Then, like many of his books, the author hits you with a good message.  Some of the Seuss books, like The Lorax, The Sneetches, or Horton Hears a Who make you work for the message, hiding it in there so a kid really has to think to get it – not this one – Dr. Seuss hits you right on the head with a moral about taking care of your teeth, eating right, brushing properly, and visiting your dentist.

I remember reading this one as a kid, but back then it had different illustrations.  Roy McKie, who did tons of the LeSieg books that I loved as a kid – In a People House, Ten Apples Up On Top, The Eye Book, and The Nose Book – but for some reason in 2000, the reissued the Eye, Nose, and Tooth books with new illustrations.  The new ones are good, but the old ones were just fine, so I’m confused as to why they would re-do them.   I don’t think my kids enjoyed it any less, but the new pictures did take away from the nostalgia for me a little bit.

Illustrations aside, it was a fun book to read to my kids, who sometimes are a little reluctant to brush.  I think I need to order a copy and read it once a week or so at bed time to really help them understand the importance of proper oral hygiene.  I love when a fun story with colorful pictures can help me do my job as a dad.

The Tooth Book was my 46th book this summer.  I’m shooting for 90 books in 90 days over break.  Just 44 more to go!

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