I LOVE MY FANGS!
Written and Illustrated by Kelly Leigh Miller
Simon & Schuster BYR 7/21/2020
32 Pages Age 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Losing Baby Teeth, Monsters
He has two pointy,
He brushes and flosses
them every day.
After all, they are
a family trait.
But what happens
fang begins . .
(from book jacket)
“I love my fangs!
They are pointy.
They are sharp.”
Why I like I Love My Fangs
Young Dracula loves his pointy, sharp fangs. He takes great care of his fangs, brushing and flossing every day. He cleans the fangs so well that his parents must don sunglasses or risk hurting their eyes from the glare of Dracula’s shiny fangs.
But then disaster strikes!
At lunch, Dracula’s left fang falls out! He tries to fix it by pushing it back in, taping it in place, tying it with string and a nice little bow, and sticking it with his chewed bubble gum. Young Dracula decides to fix the fang using all three methods. No one will notice, right?
His classmates, those little monsters, laugh so hard their bubble gum bubble bursts over their faces (serves them right!). Dracula goes home and he hides in bed in coffin, a purple blanket pulled up to his chin, while tightly hugging a book. He cries, most likely to sleep.
But then a thief breaks in!
A tiny fairy—the Toothfairy—takes Dracula’s displaced baby fang! He wants it back. Dracula chases Toothfairy all through the house, slamming into tables and tripping over rugs. He finally grasps the tiny fairy and begins pulling on his fang, but she won’t let it go. All the commotion wakes mom and dad.
“She is stealing my fang!” Dracula tells his parents.
They explain. The fang is a baby fang that fell out to make room for an adult fang and the toothfairy . . . “It’s her job!” Dad pragmatically points out. The toothfairy flies near Dracula pointing at his parents, as if saying,
“See, it belongs to me now. Hand it over bub!”
But Dracula is having none of it. The fang is HIS and he WANTS it. Toothfairy is fit-to-be-tied, but, much like Dracula’s taped, tied, and stuck fang, her angry posture drops. She replaces her anger with sadness; sad at the prospect of no fang.
Later that night, Dracula is once more startled awake . . .
I Love My Fang! is hilarious. That’s it. Hilarious. HILARIOUS!
I do have more to say.
I Love My Fang! is the story of every child. Who doesn’t lose baby teeth? Children, young and old, will laugh at nearly every spread because, I Love My Fang! is hilarious. Dracula takes great care of his fangs, brushing and flossing. This gives parents the opportunity to stress their little monster needs to take care of their teeth.
Dentists will love this. They each need to buy I Love My Fang! for their waiting rooms (maybe a couple of copies). It will entertain children while they wait and then the dentist can talk about the story to calm the child and stress good habits.
Ah, but there’s more.
The art. The art is hilarious. Every spread is hilarious. Dracula makes the best faces and his eyes going blank is actually funny. Mom and Dad look like villains, but seem nice.
In picture books, the illustrations usually tell the same story as the text, but in a different way. A good example of this is Dracula using bubble gum to stick his fang back in the hole it left. I generally “read” the illustrations before the text. My note for this spread and the next:
ART – But finds chewing bubble gum knocks the tooth right back out. Dracula forgoes the gum, re-tapes and ties his fang in place and goes back to class, where no one will notice . . . until they all laugh! (Little monsters.)
Each spread is full of villainy details and the main color is shades of vampire-purple. Children will love the art. The details reflect Kelly Leigh Miller’s love of monsters, especially vampires. The family photos show the tradition of fangs in Dracula’s family. Most have two fangs, but some have more, possibly many more. Regardless the number, all those fangs are pointy and sharp!
Twice a multi-pane page is used to show Dracula sleeping; once with the Toothfairy and again later that night. These perfectly detail the passing of time in a way children will understand.
In addition to Dracula’s eyes turning white, they also widen and his eyebrows turn inside out. The chaotic struggle between Dracula and Toothfairy uses a twisty line to express movement. Spooky framed pictures line the home’s walls. Most impressively, as Dracula brushes his fangs, a mirror above the sink shows a suspended toothbrush and nothing more.
I Love My Fang! will be requested multiple times, mostly at night, by fangless children. Some will carry the book around in case someone is in the mood to read . . . to them. All will read the story through the art, regardless of age, and understand the story. (Some may misunderstand some part of the story, not that it is in any way confusing.)
I Love My Fang! is perfect for dental waiting rooms, pre-schools, and even kindergarten classrooms. Everyone loses baby teeth and some may be angry or embarrassed by the empty spot in their smile. They, like Dracula, will possibly try to fix the tooth. Many will want to keep their baby tooth, while others may not understand what the Toothfairy does with their tooth. (What does she do with it?)
Some children may be fearful of losing baby teeth (will it hurt?), or that other kids will laugh at them. I Love My Fang! covers these issues and can help parents approach their child regarding losing a tooth or fang. Children will be ready to listen and act after reading Dracula’s story. Dracula explains losing his fang in a note to critics.
“I was minding my own business and eating lunch when I LOST MY FANG!! It just wiggled and popped out! I take the best care of it! This is the story of my dramatic life changing moment.”
Favorite Scene A Note
“. . . dramatic life-changing moment.” Wow, yet for a vampire, one fang may not earn him the vampire communities’ complete faith and respect.
Speaking of respect, respect the book jacket. On its back is a class photo. All the little monsters who laughed at Dracula are in his—Miss Cleo’s—class. Twelve little monsters plus Miss. Cleo, who is a mummy (I’m guessing based on her stature, which is much taller than any of the others).
The class photo should be inside the covers somewhere—anywhere—so it cannot be lost or torn.
I Love My Fangs! is the best inclusive elementary class photograph I have ever seen. (Check out the disabled dragon.) Can you guess which monster each of these little monsters grow up to become? The vampire, of course, is young Dracula.
Illustrations Rendered digitally with hand-lettered text.
To Learn More About the Kelly Leigh Miller: http://www.kellyleighmiller.com
Available at Amazon: I Love My Fangs!
I LOVE MY FANGS! Copyright © 2020 by Kelly Leigh Miller. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Kelly Leigh Miller. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, NY.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
[991-word count—review only]
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NEXT UP: MG – The Girl and the Witch’s Garden by Erin Bowman – S&S BYR
AND THEN: PB – The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t by author & illustrator – NorthSouth Books