Cover image for Rotten teeth
Rotten teeth
Simms, Laura.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
When Melissa takes a big glass bottle of authentic pulled teeth from her father's dental office for a show-and-tell presentation, she becomes a first-grade celebrity.
Reading Level:
AD 490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 48044.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.5 2 Quiz: 21979 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Speaking in front of the class isn't easy for small people like Melissa Herman. Especially when there's nothing very special to say about her house or her family or herself. But with the help of her older brother, Melissa borrows a bottle from her father's dental office to take to show and tell. The teacher is appalled, but the children are intrigued. David Catrow's hilariously zany illustrations reveal that there is nothing ordinary about Melissa Herman, or her house or her family. The bright artwork is laugh-aloud funny and will have children begging to hear the story again, or maybe invent their very own tale.

Author Notes

Laura Simms really did bring a bottle of rotten teeth to school for show and tell. And she really did discover she could tell good stories. Now an internationally known storyteller, she has performed and taught in major festivals, symposiums, and conferences around the world. She started the first storytelling programs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. When she isn't touring the country telling stories, she lives in NewYork City. David Catrow is an editorial cartoonist and the illustrator of more than seventy books for children, including the New York Times bestseller I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! and I Like Myself!, both written by Karen Beaumont, Dozens of Cousins by Shutta Crum, Plantzilla by Jerdine Nolen, and Rotten Teeth by Laura Simms. He lives in Ohio. Visit his website at ."

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Quiet, shy Melissa can't decide on what to take for show-and-tell. No matter that she's surrounded by things everyone else would think extraordinary: an alligator lives in the family's doghouse; an elephant mows the lawn; a tree grows in the living room; and her father, a dentist, treats alien patients. She wants to find "something kids would like." With her brother's help, she finds it--and it's disgusting enough to drive her teacher to distraction and secure a place for herself in school history. One look at Catrow's pictures, which actually make the book, and children will be hooked. The art bursts with gleefully weird, expressive characters and details that add wonderful bounce and fantasy to the story, which, though fun, is surprisingly staid by comparison. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

First-grader Melissa Hermann needs something for show and tell. In her dentist dad's office, with the help of her brother Norman she finds a bottle full of pulled teeth. Melissa carefully washes enough teeth to give one to every member of her class, then disguises the bottle in a brown bag. In a suspenseful scene‘rendered even more dramatic by a worm's-eye view of desks and gaping students‘Melissa slinks to the front of the classroom with her prize and stands there nervously. "Finally she opened up the bag, held up the bottle, and blurted out, `ROTTEN TEETH! FROM REAL MOUTHS!' " With just a dash of hyperbole, Simms (The Bone Man) explains how the teeth horrify Melissa's teacher but enhance the girl's popularity among her peers. At recess, Melissa captivates her audience with gruesome tales of dentistry and learns the power of storytelling. If Simms's intent is to banish shyness, Catrow's (Westward Ho, Carlotta!) goal is to catapult a humorous story into the realm of the tall tale. He boosts the irony by providing Melissa with ample show-and-tell oddities; her home not only houses a dentist's office but is a Victorian curiosity shop of bizarre decorations (a boar's head, a prehistoric skull) and living oddities (a monkey, an elephant, a Venus flytrap). Catrow tints his over-the-top watercolor illustrations with dental-decay-inspired yellows and greens, and he dresses his gawky, frizzy-haired characters in ridiculously mismatched clothes. This not-for-the-squeamish volume should impress future fans of Southern gothic. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A hot-air balloon is anchored outside the Hermann household, while inside a python rests calmly on the couch and a full suit of armor guards the living room. Still, first-grader Melissa complains to her older brother Norman that there is nothing in their house interesting enough to take to school for Show and Tell. He sympathetically ponders the problem and suggests the bottle of rotten teeth in the back of Dad's home dental office. With Norman's help, Melissa takes the treasure to school in a brown paper bag. Her classmates are enraptured and their barrage of questions prompts the shy girl to talk for the first time. She finds herself describing bloody towels, loud moaning, and a host of other details, and, to her delight, discovers a newfound ability as a storyteller. This funny tale is made even more hilarious by the cartoon illustrations. While Melissa bemoans a boring household, the picture shows Dad welcoming an extraterrestrial patient. A larger-than-life dental patient wearing Pecos Bill attire is shown looming over a tiny Melissa as she talks excitedly to enthralled classmates. The visual humor is sensational. Together, Simms and Catrow have created a winner.-Jackie Hechtkopf, Talent House School, Fairfax, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.