am 29. Mai 2000
This book, along with Blueberries for Sal and Time of Wonder, by the same author, were some of my favorite books as a child growing up in Maine. I loved them because the children did things I did---dug for clams, picked blueberries, took boat rides to get ice cream, played on the rocky shore and on and on! I loved the pictures because they are so detailed and realistic. This book in particular was a favorite because it was about an older Sal than in Blueberries for Sal, dealing with the universal excitement of losing a first tooth. I love her relationship with her younger sister Jane, who is drawn as one of the most adorable toddlers around. If you are looking for a calm and wholesome in the best way book for your child, this might be one you want to consider.
This book continues the story of Sal (from Blueberries for Sal) by introducing her father and younger sister, Jane. The book was a Caldecott Honoree as one of the best illustrated children's books in 1953.
Sal wakes up on a beautiful Maine morning. She realizes that "today is the day I am going to Buck's Harbor with my father." She is very excited. But first, she helps her little sister brush her teeth. While doing this, Sal notices that one of her front teeth felt loose. She is concerned.
Her mother reassures Sal in a very nice way that this meant that Sal is becoming a big girl. Sal also learns that she could put the tooth under her pillow when it comes out and make a wish. But she should not tell anyone what the wish is, or it would not come true. She makes her wish.
In the meantime, she needs to help her father dig for clams before they can take the boat to Buck's Harbor. Along the way, she sees many birds and animals and wonders about their teeth.
Finally reaching her father, she helps him dig. She finds a small clam, which has to be put back. Her father tells her that clams and birds do not have teeth, but seals do.
Suddenly, Sal realizes her tooth is gone. It's not in her mouth and it's not anywhere around! They look all through the mud, but have no luck. Eventually, they have to give up if they want to get to Buck's Harbor. So they head back with the clams for her mother. Sal picks up a gull's feather.
Once her father and sister and she are in the boat, they discover that the engine won't run. So her father has to row. Along the way, they talk about how a new feather will grow in to replace the feather Sal has. Sal wonders if the feather has a wish still in it to be used. She helps her sister make a wish on it.
When they get to town, her father discovers at the garage that the engine needs to have its spark plug replaced. So here's another thing that needs changing.
At the store, they discuss the lost tooth and the kindly owner gives Sal and Jane each an ice cream cone, just what they had each wished for! Jane decides she wants another one, but Sal admonishes her. "Remember, Jane, two ice-cream cones would ruin your appetite. When we get home we're going to have CLAM CHOWDER FOR LUNCH!"
This is the best book I have ever seen for taking the potential upset out of losing a first tooth. Many children do eventually lose a tooth without being able to find it. The book wisely deals with that issue as well. Anyone can do an outstanding job of handling the tooth crisis by having read this book to her or his child in advance.
The family life portrayed is very idyllic. Everyone is kind, thoughtful, and happy (even when things go wrong). For many children, this image will be a good contrast with whatever tiny domestic disturbances may occur in your household. As such, it will help any child relax before sleeping.
I admired the black-and-white pencil sketches very much. They build the mood wonderfully, even more than the words do. You will feel like you are away on vacation on a small island in Maine in the summer. Now, what could be nicer?
After you read this book, you should obviously share your own tooth loss experiences and let your child inspect your adult teeth. You can also add stories about animals that molt their skin and the trees that lose their leaves. Just emphasize that this is all progress.
Also, ask your child what activities she or he would most like to do with you and his or her other parent. You may be surprised! Be sure to allocate more time to do these things together.
See the potential for improvement in every change!
am 17. September 1996
I love McCloskey's pictures- they enhance the story so much.
This book reminds me of a trip to Isleboro when I was about
It's a great gift for a child of a friend, or for one of your
own. In fact, I am going to purchase one of these for myself
to have and read, in case I have children who visit!