Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

Illustrated by William Joyce
(Book #3 of The Guardians)
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About The Book

Beware a tooth fairy queen scorned in this, the third chapter book of Academy Award winner William Joyce’s The Guardians series. There’s a lot more to this tooth-swiping sprite than meets the eye!

When last we heard, the Guardians were resting easy with the knowledge that the children of Santoff Clausen were finally safe from Pitch’s dastardly plans.

But is it all a ruse, a scheme, a lull the evil Nightmare King has deviously concocted?

Whatever Pitch’s plans, what he doesn’t know is that there’s a new Guardian in town, and she’s not the type to forget old grudges. Actually, she’s not the type to forget anything--because this Guardian is none other than Toothiana, the Tooth Fairy herself. She’s fierce and fast and crossing her will lead to a multitude of troubles. And, it turns out that, well, all those teeth she has been collecting? They contain memories. The forgotten memories of childhood… including the memories of how to fly. Young Katherine is hopeful that these memories might help her to remember her parents. The Guardians hope they’ll offer even further protection from Pitch.

You can see how this information would be invaluable to our heroes. ?But it could also be invaluable to Pitch

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

The Changes That Come with Peace

WILLIAM THE ABSOLUTE YOUNGEST galloped through the enchanted village of Santoff Claussen on the back of a large Warrior Egg, a gift from E. Aster Bunnymund. “I can’t stop or I’ll be scrambled!” he shouted over his shoulder to his friend Fog. In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had lost a point.

Sascha and her brother, Petter, were in hot pursuit, riding Warrior Eggs of their own. The matchstick-thin legs of the mechanical eggs moved so fast, they were a blur.

“Comin’ in for the scramble shot!” Petter warned. His long tag pole, with the egg-shaped tip, was inches away from Sascha.

“Eat my yolk,” Sascha said with a triumphant laugh. She pushed a button, and suddenly, her Warrior Egg sprouted wings. She flew over the others, reaching the finish line first.

William the Absolute Youngest slowed to a trot. “Wings!” he grumbled. “They aren’t even in the rules!”

“I invented them yesterday,” said Sascha. “There’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t use ’em.”

Soon Sascha was helping the youngest William construct his own set of eggbot wings. She liked the youngest William. He always tried to act older, and she appreciated his determination and spirit. Petter and Fog, feeling wild and industrious, catapulted themselves to the hollow of a tall tree where they had erected a hideout devoted to solving ancient mysteries, such as: why was there such a thing as bedtime, and what could they do to eliminate it forever?

Across the clearing, in a tree house perched high in the branches of Big Root—the tree at the center of the village—their friend Katherine contently watched the children play.

The air shimmered with their happy laughter. Many months had passed since the battle at the Earth’s core during which Pitch, the Nightmare King, had been soundly defeated by Katherine and the other Guardians: Ombric, the wizard; his apprentice, Nicholas St. North; their friend Nightlight; and their newest ally, the Pookan rabbit known as E. Aster Bunnymund. Pitch, who had hungered for the dreams of innocent children and longed to replace them with nightmares, had vowed with his Fearlings to make all the children of Earth live in terror. But since the great battle, he had not been seen or heard from, and Katherine was beginning to hope that Pitch had been vanquished forever.

As for Katherine and her battle mates, their lives were forever changed. The Man in the Moon himself had given them the title of “Guardians.” They were heroes now, sworn to protect the children of not just Santoff Claussen, but the entire planet. They had defeated Pitch, and their greatest challenge at present was how to manage the peace. The “nightmare” of Pitch’s reign seemed to be over.

The other children of the village now filled their days with mischief and magic. Bunnymund, who could burrow through the Earth with astonishing speed, had created a series of tunnels for them, connecting the village with his home on Easter Island and with other amazing outposts around the world, and the children had become intrepid explorers. On any given day they might journey to the African savanna to visit the lions, cheetahs, and hippopotami—Ombric had taught them a number of animal languages, so they had numerous stories to hear and tell. Many of the creatures had already heard of their amazing adventures.

The children also regularly circled through Easter Island for the latest chocolate confection Bunnymund had invented, and could still be back in time for dinner and games with Bunnymund’s mechanical egg comrades. The eggs were once Bunnymund’s warriors; now they helped the children build all manner of interesting contraptions, from intricate egg-shaped puzzles where every piece was egg-shaped (a nearly impossible and frankly unexplainable feat) to egg-shaped submarines. But no matter where the children roamed or what they did to occupy their days, whenever they returned home to Santoff Claussen, it had never seemed so lovely to them.

As Katherine sat in her tree house, she put her arm around Kailash, her great Himalayan Snow Goose, and looked out on her beloved village. The forest that surrounded and protected Santoff Claussen had bloomed into a kind of eternal spring. The massive oaks and vines that had once formed an impenetrable wall against the outside world were thick with leaves of the deepest green. The huge, spear-size thorns that had once covered the vines grew pliant and blossomed with sweet-scented flowers.

Katherine loved the smell, and drew a deep breath of it. In the distance she could see Nicholas St. North walking with the beautiful, ephemeral Spirit of the Forest. She was more radiant now than ever before. Her gossamer robes were resplendent with blooms that shimmered like jewels. North was deep in conversation with her, so Katherine decided to investigate. She climbed on to Kailash’s back and flew down into the clearing, just in time to see William the Absolute Youngest try out the new wings with which he’d outfitted his Warrior Egg. He landed and trotted over to her.

“Want to race with us, Katherine?” he asked. He gave Kailash a scratch on her neck, and the goose honked a hello.

“I will later!” Katherine said, smiling. She waved to her friends and headed into the forest, realizing that it had been quite some time since any of the children had asked her to play, and an even longer time since she had accepted. In joining the world of the Guardians, she was in a strange new phase of her life—where she was neither child nor adult. As she watched the youngest William fly away with Sascha close behind him, she couldn’t help but feel a bit torn.

Then she heard North’s hearty laugh and, underneath that, the more musical tones of the Spirit of the Forest. Katherine hurried toward them, thinking that it was hard to believe that when North first came to Santoff Claussen with his band of outlaws, it had been with the intent to steal its treasures. The Spirit of the Forest, the village’s last line of defense, had turned North’s crew of cutthroats and bandits into stone statues—hideous, hunched elves. But she had spared North, for he alone among them was pure of heart.

When Katherine caught up with the Spirit and North, they were standing in that most strange and eerie part of the forest—the place where North’s men stood frozen in time, like stones in a forgotten burial site. With the Spirit’s help, North was bringing his bandits back to human form.

As the Spirit touched the head of each statue, North repeated the same spell, “From flesh to stone and back again. To serve with honor, your one true friend.” And one by one they emerged from their frozen poses. To North’s great amusement, they hadn’t regained their size. They were still the same height as their stone selves—about two feet tall, with bulbous noses and high, childlike voices.

“Welcome back,” North called out, slapping each of the elfin men on the back.

The men stamped their little feet and waved their little arms to get their blood flowing again, and soon the children, drawn by North’s laughter, arrived. They were shocked; they often played among these small stone men, and now that they were moving—were alive, in fact—the children were most intrigued. Tall William, the first son of Old William, towered over them. Even the youngest William was overjoyed—at last he was taller than someone else.

While the children watched, the little men kneeled before North. They took on new names as they pledged to follow their former outlaw leader in a new life of goodness. Gregor of the Mighty Stink became Gregor of the Mighty Smile. Sergei the Terrible was now Sergei the Giggler, and so on.

It was an odd but auspicious moment, especially for North. He remembered his wild, unruly life as a bandit and the many dark deeds that he and these fellows had committed. He’d become a hero, a man of great learning, good humor, and some wisdom. So much had changed since that moment when he faced the temptation of the Spirit of the Forest, when he had rejected her promises of treasure and had chosen to save the children of Santoff Claussen.

North turned and looked at young Katherine. He felt the full weight of all they had been through. They had both changed. It was a change he did not fully understand, but he knew he was glad for it. For though these dwarfish fellows in front of him had once been his comrades in crime, North, in his heart, had been alone. But that was past. This was a different day. And through the friendship he now knew, he could change bad men to good and stone back to flesh.

North gently asked his old confederates to rise. They did so gladly.

Peace had indeed come.

Katherine took North’s hand, and together they welcomed these baffled little men to the world of Santoff Claussen.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies
By William Joyce

Discussion Questions

1. Katherine often thought about Pitch and his daughter. She remembers the look of anguish on Pitch’s face as he looked at his daughter’s picture. She longs to be loved as deeply as Pitch’s daughter had been loved. She wonders if this love can only be felt between parent and child. She believes she has no family and compares herself to Nightlight, who also has no family. Discuss Katherine’s beliefs about families. Does Katherine have a family? What constitutes a family?

2. Katherine describes herself as “betwixt and between.” What does that mean? Is this a normal feeling? What is happening to a person during this particular time of one’s life?

3. Katherine notices many changes among her companions. North had become quieter and more contemplative when no one was looking. Nightlight was sad and melancholy, and even Bunnymund seemed to change his opinion of humans. What was causing these changes? Are they for better or for worse?

4. Nightlight captures a tear from Katherine. What did Nightlight see in the tear to cause him great concern, and at the same time, confusion? What does Nightlight do with the tear?

5. Nightlight thought in simple terms: things were either good or bad. The Guardians were good, Pitch was bad. What changed Nightlight’s thinking? He thought Pitch lived in Katherine’s dream. Was it possible for Pitch to somehow control Katherine through her dreams? Is it possible for anyone to control another through dreams?

6. What was the significance of the story of the flying elephant of Punjam Hy Lu? Who protected the flying elephant? Who prevented the maharaja from killing one of the sisters of flight? What did the story have to do with Toothiana?

7. What was happening to Nightlight? He never felt fear before, but now he feared Katherine was growing up and he was losing her. His relationship to Katherine was changing. He kept secrets from her. Why, after centuries, did he have grown-up feelings?

8. Is Pitch a bully? What are the characteristics of a bully? What techniques did he use to convince Katherine she had been abandoned by the Guardians and her friends?

9. The Guardians and their friends were determined to kill Pitch to save Katherine and end a reign of nightmares. Katherine saw fear in Pitch’s eyes when he realized his doom was only an instant away. She believed Pitch did not deserve to die. “Even the worst villain needs pity. He was a father and a hero once. He did not chart his past or present.” Do you think Pitch should die? Why or why not? Is killing ever justified?

10. Why did Pitch want the flying elephant to remove all of his humanity? The Monkey King wanted the flying elephant to give back his humanity. How would that change the Monkey King?

11. What is the significance of Pitch’s arm and hand, which holds the locket with his daughter’s picture, turning into human form?

12. Who or what was Mother Nature? What was her contribution in this particular story?

13. Compare and contrast Toothiana’s and Katherine’s stories of losing their last baby tooth.

14. What was the one weapon every animal feared?

15. How does Toothiana’s saving the Monkey King’s life compare to Katherine’s protection of Pitch from the Guardians?

16. Why don’t children wake up when the Tooth Fairy retrieves their teeth?

17. What is so important about Toothiana’s ruby red box?

18. Toothiana discovered that bringing expensive presents to children for their baby teeth caused quite a stir with the parents. Discuss the type of present(s) the tooth fairy brings to children. Have the presents changed over the years of the child’s life?

19. After Pitch and Katherine were whisked away by Mother Nature, the Guardians realized they had lost control of themselves. Toothiana says, “We didn’t fail, but we did lose our way. We wanted to kill.” What feeling did they all share at this time? What was it that Katherine remembered?

20. The title of the book is Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. How does Toothiana summon her army? What is their strength? How many are in her army?

Activities

1. In the beginning of this story, it appeared as if the inhabitants of earth were starting a new Golden Age. North had a plan and he showed it to the others in the form of an origami creation. Have the students research origami and learn the basic folds. Have the students make a village out of origami, with each student contributing a piece to make a whole village.

2. Research, using the library or reliable online websites, the memories of elephants. Is it true elephants never forget?

3. Read aloud the passage of Katherine’s thoughts as she was falling from the ledge of the bell tower. Have someone time how long it takes for the passage to be read, using a stopwatch. Was it 3 1/2 seconds? Have others read the same section. Can anyone read it in 3 1/2 seconds? Chart the results. What do the results mean?

4. As the children of Santoff Clausen requested a wish from Toothiana, have each student write a wish to Toothiana using correct spelling and punctuation. Allow the students to read their wishes to the class.

5. Have the students make a ruby red box to store their baby teeth. Use red paper and follow directions from an origami book or website of your choosing to make the red box.

6. As the children of Santoff Clausen performed scenes from their adventurous lives, have the students recreate a scene from the book, Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies.


Guide prepared by Lynn Dobson, librarian at East Brookfield Elementary School, East Brookfield, MA.

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading

About The Author

photograph (c) Tony Reans

William Joyce does a lot of stuff but children’s books are his true bailiwick (The Guardians, Dinosaur Bob, George Shrinks, and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is also his Academy Award–winning short film, to name a few). He lives in Shreveport, Louisiana. Talk to William Joyce and look at upcoming work at @HeyBillJoyce on Twitter and Instagram.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 2012)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442430525
  • Grades: 2 - 6
  • Ages: 7 - 11
  • Lexile ® 830L

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"The whimsical details and elaborate, old-fashioned illustrations continue to charm."

– Booklist

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More books in this series: The Guardians