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An Vrombaut is the creator of 64 Zoo Lane, which is often shown on the Cbeebies channel and has won a BAFTA award. This book won the Nottingham Children's Book Award in 2003 and it's not difficult to see why.
In the Mango Tree House, there is lots of activity,
"Ruby brushes her rabbit teeth.
Liam brushes his leopard teeth.
Max brushes his monkey teeth.
Zoe brushes her zebra teeth.
Turn the page and we can see that,
"She brushes and brushes her crocodile teeth."
Through the book we see that during different times of day all the friends are doing different things, such as building sandcastles, licking a mango lolly and bouncing up and down. All that is except for Clarabella who has so many teeth that it takes her all day to brush them. When she is finished, she finds that all her friends are ready to clean their teeth before they go to bed.
Clarabella is very sad because she never has time to play and have fun so her friends decide to give her a surprise present. When Clarabella opens it, she finds a huge toothbrush, so that she can clean her teeth more quickly.
She is so happy that,
"She smiles a BIG crocodile smile!"
These pictures are very similar in design and colour to those in the 64 Zoo Lane series. They are bright and colourful with lots of details in them. Throughout the book we can see the comical sight of a caterpillar munching it's way through one of the mangoes that grown in the bathroom of the tree.
My son first saw this book at our dentist and thought it was very funny. This came as no surprise as there are always lots of children's books in the waiting area that are all themed with teeth and the dentist in mind to put children at ease before the 'dreaded' visit. Luckily my son has beautiful teeth, thanks to drinking water instead of high sugar drinks and a limit on his sweets, and he only needs these books to keep him amused rather than for reassurance.
At nursery they are looking at cleaning teeth again and have recently had a visit from the school dentist to show them how to clean their teeth properly. With this in mind the nursery has set out a number of books all about teeth and this was one of them. Every week the children can choose a book from the nursery library to take home and my son recognised this one and was very enthusiastic about sharing it with the rest of the family.
I suppose that really says it all, when a child sees and remembers a book and then wants to read it again. It gives it the recommendation in itself.
As for me, I love this book. As well as the educational value of it, in showing the importance of taking care to brush each and every one of your teeth, it is great fun and shows friends thinking of another enough to come up with a solution that benefits them all.
The book is quite repetitive in the way the story is set out. Whether it is time to wake up, playtime, lunchtime or tumble time, we see Clarabella's four friends having fun whilst she is still brushing and brushing and brushing her teeth. I think this is great for children who can often remember the format and help to read along the way.
The text is black and very clear to read although it does sometimes go off on a slant or up and down during the fun time sections. My son loves to follow the words at these bits with his finger and this again attracts him to following the story for himself.
It is lovely to see that the friends are concerned about Clarabella's lack of time to play with them and we see by the lovely illustrations, how happy she is to receive such a thoughtful present. Her mouth is open wide to show a lovely set of white teeth that my son loves to count.
This really is a delightful book and a great idea for any child who isn't fond of cleaning their teeth.
***Price and Availability***
The price on the back of this large paperback is £5.99 but you can get it from WH Smith for only £4.79.
ISBN No. 0192725475
Award-winning animator, An Vrombaut, creator of the 64 Zoo Lane television and book series has created another group of appealing animal friends, who all live together in the Mango Tree House. In this story we meet Clarabella Crocodile who has so many teeth that tooth-brushing time can last all day and she misses out on playtime - until her friends come to her rescue, that is. An Vrombaut is an internationally acclaimed artist and animator and was nominated for a BAFTA for the 64 Zoo Lane television series. Vibrant artwork and stunning design make this a book that children will love to interact with. The book conveys a message about the importance of brushing your teeth in a light-hearted, funny way. It features immediately appealing and lovable characters who just bounce off the page.