George Washington's Teeth
Authors: Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora;
Illustrator: Brock Cole
Pages: 40
Publisher/Date: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/2003
ISBN: 0374325340
Age Levels: 4-8

Book Review

In between charging into battle and crossing the Delaware, Washington was losing teeth right and left. By the time the Redcoats fled, only five of his teeth remained. When he sat for his presidential portrait, he had only one!

His dentist provided him with false teeth. "George put them in, but when he smiled, / Springs snapped against his tongue. / Out flew those teeth—/ 'Aagh!' George shrieked. / They've knocked out my last one!"

Washington was totally toothless. He created a plaster mold to show his dentist how to make a pair of false teeth he "hoped would hold." Using a hippo tusk, the dentist carved a set of false teeth, complete with gold screws that held each tooth in place. The invention worked: "Those new teeth fit just right. / And round the ballroom with his friends, / George danced all through the night!"

Appended is a four-page timeline of "Important events in George Washington's life," complete with a photo of his false teeth.

The playful, rhyming text is perfectly paired with Cole's humorous, cartoon illustrations.

Classroom Uses: This is an excellent read aloud for the very young as well as a read-alone for independent readers. You may want to consider this title for Dental Health Month in February.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2003 Education Oasis

About the Authors

Deborah Chandra is an author and poet whose children's books include Balloons and Other Poems and A Is for Amos. She lives in Altadena, California.

Madeleine Comora is an author and poet whose work has appeared in many anthologies. She lives in Glendale, California, and teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

About the Illustrator

Brock Cole is the author and/or illustrator of many books for children and young adults, including the picture books Buttons and Larky Mavis. He lives in Buffalo, New York.