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What-the-Dickens: The Story Of A Rogue Tooth Fairy (2007)

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy (2007)

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3.33 of 5 Votes: 5
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0763629618 (ISBN13: 9780763629618)
candlewick press

About book What-the-Dickens: The Story Of A Rogue Tooth Fairy (2007)

You may not know Gregory Maguire by name, but you probably know something he wrote: namely, Wicked. Maguire has done a number of books based in the realm of fairy tales mixed with a shot of the dark and not always happy-endings. What-the-Dickens is a book that mixes the stark reality of the modern world with the hidden world of the fairy tale.What-the-Dickens is a story that starts with three kids and their older cousin trapped during a stormy night. To pass the time, their cousin tells a story of the titular character, What-the-Dickens, a member of the tooth fairy race who has to find his place in the vast world. The back cover has the Los Angeles Times labeling the story with “a certain creepiness”; I don’t get the creepy feel at all. A better word that I would use is “whimsical”. The setting of What-the-Dickens’s story is a story about little people in a big world, colored by the frame of nostalgia and the yesteryear.There are two stories at play here – the story of What-the-Dickens, and the frame story of the children trapped in the storm. The story of What-the-Dickens is slow to get started – it doesn’t grab right away, doesn’t instill the emotional connection with the main character immediately, but toward the middle of the story, I found myself rooting for the blessedly clueless and innocent fairy. At its heart, the story of What-the-Dickens is a coming of age story painted against the background of a fairy tale.The frame story, on the other hand, goes the entire book without managing to draw interest to its own characters. At the start, it’s difficult to put together what exactly is happening – basic facts of the frame story’s plot are slowly revealed, some at the very end. This is one case where clearly stating what was going on would have been more beneficial. There are a few attempts to break the action with happenings in the frame story, but they feel unimportant and more like interruptions from the main act. The older cousin, due in part to his tie-in to the main story, manages to draw my attention, but the children hold no draw. At the end, an attempt is made to present the moral of the story and tie the two together, but it feels off, like the end of a children’s show where they all get together and talk about the moral of the story. I think the frame story is something that should have either gotten more development, enough to make us care about it being there in the first place, or just done away with as What-the-Dickens’s story can stand on its own.It’s not my favorite of the Maguire books I’ve read – the Wicked series is fabulous and I’m also a fan of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Does this book rate up with those? I don’t think so. But a book doesn’t have to be the next Great American Novel to be good, and this was a fun little romp through the woods of magic and a child’s imagination.TL;DR: A ghost train: slow to get started, lacking a direct route, and light on the rails, but the food is good and the interior decorating is lovely.

From the back of the book: From the darkest night, amidst a terrifying storm, Dinah's parents go missing. With supplies dwindling and worry growing, Dinah and her brother and sister listen to their cousin Gage tell them an unlikely story - about tooth fairies, known as skibbereen, who are living in warring colonies right in the neighborhood. Dinah is skeptical, but as the story unfolds and the storm rages, she begins to believe.This story was adorable and witty. What-the-Dickens is the name of the main skibbereen, who was born alone and confused, and has to make his way in the vast word. I had a perfect mental image of him in my head and I wish I could draw so I could show you! I actually did some searching on the internet and it doesn't look like there's any fan art for this book, which is a bummer, because I'd hoped to find a picture similar to my vision. At any rate, WtD is a funny little guy and I enjoyed his outlook on life - he's both naive but also very open-minded and positive. I think the main message behind the story is to be yourself and help others when you can. WtD is always breaking the rules or refusing to conform to the traditions of the skibbereen because he didn't grow up in any particular clan and sometimes their rules just seem silly to him. He's easy-going and if magical creatures existed, I picture him as the type to sit on your shoulder and chat with you a while. I also liked Maguire's take on the world of tooth fairies - very inventive! I can't say that I remember reading other stories about tooth fairies, but I don't imagine they'd be anything like this book. The storyline with Dinah's missing parents sort of plays a back seat. I was curious to know more about why they left the kids with their cousin. There's also a crazy storm going on, but it seems like there's more there as well - maybe a severe decline in the economy or some other social disaster. It's not the focus of the story though, and that's okay - it's basically used to set up a reason for Gage to tell his story about the skibbereen. The book is recommended for readers ages 9 and up, and I agree - but don't let that stop you if you're an adult in the mood for a quick fairy tale, check this out!

Do You like book What-the-Dickens: The Story Of A Rogue Tooth Fairy (2007)?

I've read all three of Maguire's Oz books, and loved them. i've read some other reviews of this book, and generally folks who liked What-the-Dickens did NOT like Wicked or it's sequels.The Oz books have decidedly darker themes: the nature of evil, the search for indentity, differing moralities. W-t-D is definitely more child-friendly, but it's theme (the universal need to believe) should appeal to everyone.The book was a quick read (i finished 3/4 of it while in the waiting room for an appointment with my eye doctor), so if you are on the fence about reading W-t-D, at least there's no significant time investment.I really liked Maguire's reinvention of the whole "Tooth Fairy" myth. I thought it was well thought out and interesting.I have always enjoyed his habit of not writing "tidy" books- there were just enough questions left unanswered at the end of this story to give me a sense of closure while leaving a little room for imagination.

I suggested this book for the bookclub that I am in to share the joy of Gregory Maguire among my book loving friends. I certainly did not introduce them to the Maguire that I know.When I went into this book, I expected the writing style to be the same of his other "popular books" such as that of the Wicked series. I have read all of his other books in regards to the re-imagining of storybook characters. I was extremely disappointed in the beginning. After I truly entered the story of the rogue tooth-fairy, I found myself enjoying the book. His writing style is different than the aforementioned books; however, he was still able to grab me a tiny bit. At the end of the book, I did not feel as if it was a "waste" of time. I did enjoy the story and Maguire's descriptive writing - even though it was less descriptive than what I am accustomed to.All in all, if you love his storybook re-imagining books then you may not love this one as much. If you love this book and have not read his others, I highly suggest that you do so; however, you need to be prepared for a truly different writing style.

My 6-year-old was given this book as a read-aloud, which I duly read aloud to her. We were both captivated by the story, but almost despite Maguire, rather than because of him. The strict religious family and catastrophic disaster of the framing story was too sophisticated for her, and a bit distracting to me, especially since it didn't end up leading anywhere at the end in a way that justified the oddness of the situation. The fairy story of the skibbereen was more delighting, but the undercurrent of social injustice again was largely lost on the kid, and unsatisfying to me since it was left unresolved in a way that suggested that in fact the wrongs we were led to recognize in the skibbereen society would not be rectified by the hero at all. Nonetheless, Maguire is such an engaging writer, it was an enjoyable read.

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