Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5
This wonderfully entertaining collection will prompt lifelong, enriching interaction with books.
Retired school system reading supervisor Liz Cooper’s short and amusing collection Granny’s Teeth gathers silly stories that are told in rhymes and helps parents and caregivers turn them into wonderful learning opportunities.The collection’s stories vary greatly. “Granny’s Teeth” is about a little girl who is spending the night at her grandparents’ house. She finds that she cannot sleep after her grandmother puts her false teeth in her room to keep her company; the teeth talk all night.Some stories, like one about a boy cleaning all the windows in the house to keep his mother from noticing that he broke one, are based on the real-life experiences of Cooper and her acquaintances. Others, such as a story about a girl spilling detergent in the rain and causing a blizzard of soap suds, are clearly works of fantasy.
The stories do not relate to one another, and there is no overarching lesson. Each story is whimsical and enjoyable, and each stands on its own. Entertainingly written, they stand to appeal to children of all interests in their variety.
Stories themselves constitute a bit more than half of the book. Its second half is aimed at parents, educators, and caregivers, and outshines the stories themselves. This thoughtful second section suggests a variety of ways to interact with the stories. It is filled with questions and activities that make the early content useful for developing reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Anyone who has ever struggled to help a young child find meaning in the words they read will find the information presented here to be of great value.
Questions about identifying parts of language, spelling, and grammar are included, as well as questions about how characters interact, their emotional responses, and the moral lessons that the stories may be trying to teach. This encouraged, wide reflection will nurture reading skills that will last a lifetime.
Granny’s Teeth is a wonderfully entertaining collection that children and adults can laugh through and enjoy together, with questions and activities that will help develop the minds of young children
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 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.