February is National Dental Month, and I found a hilarious picture book that's just right for the occasion.
"Have You Ever Seen A Moose Brushing His Teeth?" is written by Jamie McClaine. The artwork is by April Goodman Willy.
The book begins: "Have you ever seen a Moose brushing his teeth? You will knee-slap and toe-tap in true belief."
Continuing in this manner, the story is done in delightful rhyme.
The leading character is no ordinary moose. He lives in a green meadow that's dotted by some trees and pink, yellow, blue and white flowers.
Moose walks upright along a path. His two front teeth stick out, and his mouth is dripping of leaf juice.
Moose has a problem. He's neglected his teeth after slurping up gallons of leaf juice. His "toofers" have turned green and are coated with hay. Moose has lost his beautiful smile.
Moose is headed for a stream where he'll clean his teeth. In one hoof he holds a very large pink toothbrush that's covered with darker pink polka dots. In the other hoof he holds a tube of Sparkle Moose Paste. He also carries some Moose Floss and towelsies.
Moose begins to run. The stream is in sight, but all of a sudden, Ernest the Eagle is right there in front of him. Moose tries to swerve, but he and Ernest collide. Smack!
They roll and tumble and finally end up on their backs at the stream's edge.
Moose and Eagle see stars. Some of Moose's toothpaste has squirted out of the tube. The floss is tangled up in Ernest's claws.
When he comes to, Moose jumps into the water and looks at his reflection. He doesn't like what he sees. There's a lot of work to be done to keep his teeth from decaying and to get his smile back.
As Moose brushes, he sings a song. One wonders how much toothpaste he put on his brush because the bubbles grow and grow in number until all the reader can see are Moose's eyes, the toothbrush and two very white teeth.
After rinsing (which reduces the amount of water in the stream) it's time to floss. Hay and grass fly out from between his teeth. What an unforgettable sight.
It's taken a lot of work to get his teeth nice and bright again, but Moose likes the reflection he sees in his water mirror. He's learned that it's important to brush, rinse, and floss after every Moosey meal.
Children seem to remember what's written in rhyme. That and the thoughts of this silly moose with his mouth dripping leaf juice are bound to have them brushing and flossing.
This book would be a great addition to an elementary unit on prevention of tooth decay.
"Have You Ever Seen A Moose Brushing His Teeth?" is a sequel to "Have You Ever Seen A Moose Taking A Bath?" also written by Jamie McClaine.
This week's book is published by JAFS, Inc. (2003) and costs $18.95 in hardcover. There's a Moose online, too. The book can be found at the Moffat County Library. ISBN 0-9709533-2-1
Copyright Diane Prather, 2006. All rights reserved.