Dentist De Soto's sign reads "Cats & Other Dangerous Animals Not Accepted For Treatment." Being a mouse, it only makes sense, but when a well-dressed fox with a rotten bicuspid begs for help, Dr. D. and his wife/assistant relent.
Relief, however, soon has the fox wondering "if it would be shabby of him to eat the De Sotos when the job was done," and the mice must quickly devise a plan to outwit his ulterior intention. This fox fares no better than others in Steig's cosmography; he exits, hanging on to his dignity, muttering "Frank oo berry mush" through a set of teeth ingeniously glued together.
Doctor De Soto is a mouse dentist who, with his wife, operates a clinic open to all except animals threatening to mice. What to do then, when a weeping and wailing fox shows up for treatment? The pair decide to admit him and discover that he does indeed have a rotten tooth (and unusually bad breath). De Soto pulls it and promises a new one, which the pained fox is to call for the next day. When the fox shows up feeling chipper, the De Sotos correctly surmise that he'll probably eat them once the work is done
They outwit him by duping him into accepting "a remarkable preparation" guaranteed to rid his mouth of toothaches forever -- a potion that effectively glues the fox's mouth shut. "Frank oo berry mush," is all he can manage to say as he leaves.
As for the De Sotos, they give each other a kiss and take the rest of the day off. Steig's tale is simple and straightforward, good virtues to have in a tale for the picture-book crowd. In addition, there is great wit and good fun in the illustrations, which make the most of the special circumstances in which a mouse dentist might find himself.
Enjoy, for example, Dr. De Soto atop a ladder working on a plump pig's choppers or inserting a pole in the fox's mouth to ensure that it stays open. True-to-form Steig.
|Publisher:||Farrar Straus Giroux|
|Audience Grade:||Kindergarten - 3rd Grade|
|Physical Info:||8.53 x 0.16 x 10.01 inches, (0.26 lbs)|
|LC Subjects:||Animals, Spanish language materials|
Thanks to Dr. J. Stone, Prof.,Children's Literature, Centaral State University.