It is National Smile Month! Smile! Looking after BookBairn's teeth has provided many many smiles, as she giggles her way through too...

Smile: Big Scary Teeth

Tuesday, June 14, 2016 BookBairn 2 Comments

It is National Smile Month! Smile!

Looking after BookBairn's teeth has provided many many smiles, as she giggles her way through tooth-brushing songs, sooks the toothpaste off the brush and gives it a good wiggle around. I love that she is beginning to look after her teeth by herself, thanks to this magic little toothbrush with a special grippy handle.

BookBairn has generally been quite good when it comes to teething. Her first tooth was one awful night of no sleep for the whole household but after that she's handled each new tooth like a pro. She's not a dribbler, or a chewer of any actual teething product, but boy does her bedtime buddy suffer with being chewed and sooked whilst those little pearly whites push their way through. The only real interruption to her routine is that she majorly goes off tooth-brushing, and I can't blame her. If my teeth were sore and gums were inflamed I wouldn't want anyone poking a toothbrush. But now we finally have those first molars.

Someone else who strives to look after their teeth is Alan the alligator. In 'Alan's Big Scary Teeth' by the wonderful Jarvis, Alan begins each day in the same way: polishing his scales, sharpening his nails and brushing his teeth. Coming from a long-line of very scary alligators, Alan loves spending his days rampaging through the jungle, scaring all the other jungle animals with his razor-sharp teeth. But what they don't know is that when he gets home every evening, Alan takes out his false teeth. Yes, false! When the other animals happen upon his secret, they pinch his precious falsies and hold them to ransom, insisting they he stop terrorizing them. And, from that the leopard learns to change his spots. Well, alligator changes his scales! Well, alligator finds a new purpose! Finding a great compromise between being friendly and still providing a few scare, despite his very not-scary smile!

This is a fabulous story that is filled to the brim with humour! I love the way Alan's speech is changed by his gummy smile: "Good night teeth. Thweet dweams my thscary thnappers". And that his snap becomes a pathetic "thnap thnap!"Jarvis's storytelling is perfectly pitched, written in an engaging way that makes it the perfect read-aloud story. The pace is fast and action-filled, with the big-reveal being perfectly timed so that little readers will enjoy the surprise!

But, for me, it is the illustrations that really make this story. Jarvis is an accomplished cartoonist and it is no surprise given the visual storytelling in this book. Layering pencil, chalk, paint and digital colour, each page is layered in lush colours, textures making the jungle feel deep and dense. The characters are cute and expressive and filled with humour.

I love the message in this book is that appearances can be deceiving! Alan thinks that his teeth are what make him important but when the animals discover the truth behind the teeth, Alan finds a way to be accepted for who he truly is. Growing up in a world full of instagram filters, make-up contouring, hair extensions, tooth whitening, veneers, plastic surgery and all other manners of falsely improving our appearance, this book is a lovely message that people will love you no matter what your appearance so long as you are true to yourself.

If you're looking for a book to make you smile, 'Alan's Big Scary Teeth' will certainly do the trick!
Mummy and BookBairn xx

We won our copy of 'Alan's Big Scary Teeth' in a Toppsta Giveaway. If you are interested in free books for younger readers, I highly recommend signing up to Toppsta where you enter to win a book in exchange for a short review. Click here for more information.


  1. ...and what's wrong with false teeth????? :)

    1. Nothing! But It hardly makes for a very scary alligator smile. BookBairn says to stay away from the alligators on your holiday please.