Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1982
Themes: mice, fox, dentists
Opening: Doctor De Soto, the dentist, did very good work, so he had no end of patients. Those close to his own size – moles, chipmunks, et cetera – sat in the regular dentist’s chair.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Dr. De Soto, a mouse dentist, copes with the toothaches of various animals except those with a taste for mice, until the day a fox comes to him in great pain.
I like this book because: though I love so many of Steig’s stories, this is my absolute favorite. Not because I have particularly fond memories of the dentist (even though I wrote a little ditty about our family dentist growing up, Dr. B.B. Levine), but because Doctor De Soto is dedicated, just as his father was, and manages to keep his cool and have (some) compassion even in a life threatening situation and in the end outwits the fox – a “wicked, wicked creature(s)”. How could I not become Dr.De Soto’s biggest fan?
Resources/activities: this is a great story to read and begin a discussion about trust, judgement and compassion with students – or for a lesson on dental health; for a science lesson, make ‘elephant toothpaste’ click HERE; or to make real natural toothpaste kids will like, click HERE
Today’s tidbits: I found a dentist in Louisiana that was practicing before the book was published – would love to ask him what work has been like after the book! And Doctor De Soto in acronym is DDS, which means Doctor of Dental Surgery. I found an Australian band called, Doctor De Soto (video below)