By Maureen Tai, 25 April 2019
“Milk Toof: n. One of two adventurous little baby teeth belonging to the author, named ickle and Lardee.”
My Milk Toof is not a traditional, or even contemporary, children’s picture book. It’s not really a novelty book either, because it isn’t cheesy or offensive or twee, neither does it pop out or unfold in an unusual way.
What it is, is a brilliantly conceived, adorably charming and ingeniously funny, photographic journal of the adventures of two milk teef who return to their owner’s home to stay. ickle shows up one day at the doorstep of the author’s home, armed with two battered suitcases and wearing a plaid baker’s boy hat. The helpful and inquisitive little chap has come home. ickle promptly unpacks and settles in. He arranges his miniature book collection next to the relatively gigantic human-sized tomes, and devours a ham, lettuce and cheese sandwich – sans pickle. He explores his new home while asking 101 questions. He recycles plastic bottles, reorganizes crayons and tucks himself into bed for a bedtime story. He resuscitates a dried out plant. He starts teething – SO CUTE – which leads to rampant nibbling on the corners of books, doors and table legs. Life soon settles down into a comfortable togetherness.
Then one day, another milk toof named Lardee appears at the door with a slim red backpack that can hold significantly more stuff in it than you’d think. The new arrival is substantially more rotund than ickle, and a toof of few words. Lardee is also rather clumsy and less mindful about his personal hygiene compared to ickle, who you get the sense, would be pulling out his hair if he had any. Despite the somewhat rocky start to the relationship, Lardee is invited to stay. Life soon settles down again into a comfortable togetherness, and the two teef have excellent adventures together: they have a soak in the bath, they make cupcakes, they sunbathe by the swimming pool. All that is needed by way of text are the one-liner captions to the delightfully enchanting and meticulously set-up photographs. The teef themselves are (I think) clay models and handmade, as are as quite a few of the props used in the stories (including teef sized Y-front underwear and Halloween costumes).
Sadly, the author appears to have abandoned her imaginative milk teef project several years ago; the last time that their blog was updated was in 2015. Thankfully, we have our little book of pictures to remind us of the intrepid pair. May they be safe from cavities forever.
For ages 5 and above.