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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the Clouds, written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon. Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Random House, 2018. $21.99 ages 7 and up

"My loof is toof," I say. "I mean, my toof is loof." "Let me feel," says Melody. She wiggles my tooth. "Yup, it wiggles!" she whispers. "My first loose tooth!!!!" I yell. And then Melody bursts into tears. The giant kind. "Oh, no! Why are you crying!" "Do you know what this means?" she asks. "Yes! It means the tooth fairy is coming!!" "It means you are growing up!" she sobs."

Two new early chapter books for kids transitioning to longer text are on my mind today. Both are new additions to ongoing series, and have familiar characters who are much loved by fans, young and old.

I can't wait to share this new story about Dory with Sicily next month. She will love her spunk, her imagination, and each of the other characters who have a role to play in her newest dilemma. It is the fourth book in the series, and Dory experiences her first loose tooth. What an exciting time for a very demonstrative young girl! With the tooth fairy front of mind, her constant chatter wears on her older siblings - as we have come to expect. They do as they have always done: give advice, call her names, rat on her and fill her head with untruths.

If you know Dory, you know all about her buoyant personality, her propensity for imaginary friends and the hilarity that ensues whenever she encounters a new unsavory situation with her enemy, Mrs. Gobble Gracker. This time, said enemy wants more attention than she is getting. So, she decides that she will usurp the tooth fairy's job. Dory is frantic to get the tooth fairy her job back, expecting reimbursement for the lost tooth. Everyone deserves that first dollar, right?

The dialogue is as rich and funny as in previous tales, the situations will feel familiar to all young children, and the black-and-white, detailed, humorous artwork adds context and a bunch of enjoyment for all who share it.

 “My two worlds swirl together like a chocolate and vanilla ice cream cone. Real and unreal get mixed up in one crazy flavor.”

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