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  • Writer's picturemeredithjohnson

Book Review: What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire

What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire is the story of ten-year-old Dinah, a girl caught in a terrible storm with missing parents and her cousin Gage left to care for her and her two siblings. To help pass the time, Gage tells the tale of a skibbereen (a tooth fairy if you will) called What-the-Dickens. He's a curious sort who doesn't know who he is or where he came from. That is, until he meets a girl skibberee who helps him find his way. As Dinah listens to the story, she finds out she and What-the-Dickens have a lot to learn about the world around them.

I've read and own several of Gregory Maquire's books and love them all. What-the-Dickens is probably at the bottom of that list. It's not a bad story, it just didn't leave me with any of the fun feelings a good book usually does. I will say, my favorite part was Gage's telling of What-the-Dickens and the lives of tooth fairies. What-the-Dickens is a fun inquisitive character that kids will love to know and probably see a little of themselves in as well. The world of a skibberee is magical and interesting to say the least and kids will enjoy the adventure What-the-Dickens takes them on.

The parts of the book that were focused on Dinah and her family were a little frustrating to me because there situation wasn't quite clear. I knew they were in a storm that forced their parents to go missing and they were trying to survive until they returned. Even by the end of the book, I felt like I didn't have any closure about their situation. Maybe this is how it was meant to be. I'm hoping it means there will be a second book if only so I can find out what happens to Dinah and her family. Overall, this is a great introduction type of book to Gregory Maguire and his style of writing for kids in upper elementary to middle grade. I read this solo, but I think it would be a great book for the family to read together.

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