“What If You Had Animal Teeth?” by Sandra Markle has the right combination of goofy comparisons, outrageous illustrations and fascinating animal facts to appeal to kids. Open the book and you are greeted with a child’s open mouth with the two front teeth missing. Just what WOULD happen if an animal’s teeth grew in, instead? On each double spread page, the left side introduces kids to a toothy animal like the beaver, great white shark or rattlesnake, while the right hand page illustrates similar teeth in a human child and how he might take advantage of sharp chisels, 2 inch long knife edged points, or hooked teeth that fold back into the mouth. The clever illustrations bring animal teeth to life in a kid’s world as a narwahl’s left tooth becomes a “tusk” at 10 feet, growing out of a child’s upper lip to serve as a pole for ice fishing. I loved using this book for a language lesson, reading the animal facts, describing the features of his teeth and then relating them to a human child. I asked my little client on the autism spectrum what was funny in the background of the picture of the child with beaver teeth? The telephone poles were tilted because someone gnawed the base, the road was called “Nibble Ave” and the boy had eaten a chunk out of his math book. There is plenty of inference to talk about as a girl is dreaming of dollar bills as she hides her set of teeth, a boy lifts a car with his strong elephant tusks, and my favorite is a boy with crocodile teeth who doesn’t have to open his mouth at the dentist’s office because his front teeth stick out when his mouth is closed! Take a look at this book for a fun language learning session.
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Erika O. Cardamone, MS, CCC-SLP