My Toothbrush Is Missing!

My Toothbrush Is Missing! illus. by Jan Thomas. 48p. (The Giggle Gang). HMH. Jan. 2018. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9780544966352. POP
K-Gr 2—In this third series beginning reader, Dog's toothbrush is missing. Ever helpful but not-so-clever, Donkey asks, "What does a toothbrush look like?" Sheep and Duck are stumped. Dog reveals one attribute at a time—bristles, long handle, etc. With each clue, Donkey matches Dog's description with something a little like a toothbrush, but then again not like a toothbrush at all. Fat Cat is indeed bristly, but is not a toothbrush! After several guesses, Donkey gives up and goes back to scrubbing its hoofs…with Dog's toothbrush! Like Thomas's previous picture books, this title uses a presentational layout with the small cast of characters lining up on the page and a large font printed inside speech bubbles clearly attributing dialogue. The digital artwork uses background colors help to set a pattern: orange when Dog shares clues, red as Donkey proclaims, "Here is your toothbrush!," and blue for traveling to a new place. The all-dialogue text packs a giggle-inducing punch line. As a picture book, this hilarious story is a fun read-aloud. There's also plenty of word repetition, helpful for emerging readers. Unfortunately, there are some potential roadblocks for new readers, too. First, it's difficult to visually illustrate the absence of something, in this case a toothbrush. Second, it's tricky when something is described on one page, but the visual context clues follow the page turn.
VERDICT A stronger read-aloud than beginning reader, yet this is still a fun romp for old and new Thomas fans alike.

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