2017 Winner: Children's Science Picture Book

Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers, by Sara Levine. (Illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth.) Millbrook Press, 2016.

Amazing and bold illustrations, like a floret of broccoli wedged between two molars, make this book a visual and verbal standout. The book is written in engaging terms that spark the imagination. Together, the appealing drawings and text convey lots of accurate information. Young readers learn how to differentiate teeth among mammalian carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. They are shown that humans share similar types of teeth. They are walked through the purpose of specialized teeth like tusks and can visualize the scale of an elephant’s tusk that is accented by a compact, red backpack. In the explanation of the absence of teeth in some mammals, readers are treated to an illustration of ants perched on an anteater’s tongue. Sketches of skulls successfully balance the study of natural history. The book’s accessibility is vital to readers just gaining scientific literacy. The book includes a useful glossary and suggestions for further reading. Because creatures are biologically accurate, yet whimsically presented, readers will enjoy learning about critters’ teeth.

About the Author

Sara Levine is an author, veterinarian, and professor of biology. She also teaches classes on plants and animals for children. Sara lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with two dogs and a cat, all of which have long canine teeth, and her daughter, whose teeth are all around the same height. Her first children's book, Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons, was a 2014 Cook Prize finalist for best STEM picture book.