What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy
Not my type of book
I just couldn't get into this book even thought I found the story concept to be very intriguing. I didn't like the writing style and found the characters too difficult to like.
Delightful Twist on the Toothfairy Tale
Reader reviewed by Stacey @ book:thirty
By and large, Im a fan of Maguire. I appreciate how he has made a career out of turning well-known stories on their collective heads. He continues that run - to an extent - with his Toothfairies: the True Story fable, What-the-Dickens.
The book cover gives us the storys setting: its a wild, stormy night. The house perched precariously on the valleys edge shelters three young children and their 20-something cousin. The childrens parents have left under somewhat mysterious circumstances, the entire area has evacuated, the power is out, there is no food. How to pass the time, calm the nerves, weather the storm? The cousin begins a story. HIS story, apparently, and the story of What-the-Dickens.
Turns out What-the-Dickens is a tooth fairy - orphaned and born in a tuna can, he doesnt know what he really is until he stumbles upon another fairy at work (Pepper). He is then introduced to the fairy world, its rules and customs and beliefs. He tries to figure out how and where he fits in, while growing closer and more loyal to Pepper. The story is told in fits and starts as we also learn about the condition of the children and the status of the storm.
I think What-the Dickens can be read two ways: as a straight-across fairy tale aimed at mainly 5th-8th graders. Or it can be read with more adult undertones of religious and political themes. There is some discussion of faith, purpose, and sacrifice. And war, aggression, and territory. I wouldnt say there is enough fodder for philosophical debates or personal paradigm shifts, but there is a little meat to gnaw off the bone.
Maguires talent with words does not disappoint, and the character of What-the-Dickens is a wonderfully complicated little skibbereen (the technical term for tooth fairy). He is at times simple, and yet honest and full of heart. If Im being honest, Ill have to say that I cared more about the fate of the little sprite than I did about those stuck in the storm.