Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“Selfless like her father. Pure of heart like her mother. She was named Toothiana” (Joyce, 84).

Chapter Eleven

A big hullabo is made by the Lunar Lamas over Katherine’s lost tooth. Bunnymund is baffled by their reaction. As long as she’s all right, that’s what matters. Besides,

“‘[i]t isn’t actually lost. She holds it in her hand, and now she’ll grow another one. It’s all very natural and, frankly, rather ordinary. It’s not like she lost chocolate truffled egg or anything'” (68).

♥ for Bunnymund and his logic. I can relate to the way he thinks.

But the Lamas reiterate that the value of Katherine’s tooth is that it’s a “child’s tooth” (69). As a result “Her Most Royal Highness” will visit them, which has never happened and they are tremendously thrilled. Hearing this North, bless him, wonders “if this personage on this continent, [for] he’d likely stolen something from her in his crime-filled younger years” (69).

It turns out, no, he never stole from her for she is not simply royalty but is, in fact, ” ‘Queen Toothiana, gatherer and protector of children’s teeth!'” (69). Everyone seems skeptical or surprised except Bunnymund:

“‘Oh, her,’ he said dismissively. ‘She dislikes chocolate. She claims it’s bad for children’s teeth'” (70).

I love this dynamic. One, it shows he’s aware of her. Two, it shows how feels about her principles (and furthermore, what those might be — the value of teeth outweighs chocolate. The reason for this will be explained later). Third, it shows how he thinks of her. (We’ll learn what the Toothiana thinks later). And fourth, it hints at, when they do officially meet, how they might interact: diagonal interests but not necessarily in opposition. (I seriously love all the Guardians’ interactions.)

Katherine, North, and Ombric (who feels that he remembers hearing about her) are curious. Mr. Qwerty, the bookworm-turned-library offers to tell them about her. But the story actually starts with her parents.

Whoo. Okay. Feels time.

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The Book of Flying | “The City in the Mountains” [pt. 2]

a novel

by Keith Miller

“‘No one can live forever,’ said Pico but Zarko was bent over his sketchbook muttering ‘Forever young, forever young'”  (Miller, 141).

I’ll be upfront and say that this chapter was the longest one yet. I also don’t have a lot of love for it. There are interesting questions about artists and creativity going on here, but it feels like it drags just a tad.

Onward.

Remember that jerk who abandoned Solya when she couldn’t be a tightrope walker? Well, he meets him and learns that Zarko’s a pickpocket. It’s how he pays for his extravagant meals and lifestyle. As he tells Pico,

“‘I steal from anyone idiot enough to leave their coins where I can reach them. They owe it to me. I make their lives beautiful. My paintings have changed the way this city sees, their very faces have been altered by my eyes'” (135).

and furthermore that:

“‘All artists are thieves. All art is thievery…Of course a painter would make a better pickpocket than a poet. My fingers are more accustomed to deceit. I don’t lie with my tongue but I lie on paper and canvas and the world succumbs to my untruths so that they become truths'” (135).

As a writer (and therefore an artist myself), I wanted to stop and think about Zarko’s implication.

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The Book of Flying | “The City in the Mountains” [pt.1]

a novel

by Keith Miller

“’My labor is listening to the stories of sad men. Tell me'” (Miller, 119).

Pico finally comes to the end of the forest and as soon as he does, he finds himself in a strawberry field, and from there, he makes his way into a wonderful city. The people there “strode swiftly and wore long coats of blue or black wool against the chill, scarves about their throats, and all held umbrellas aloft” (104).

First, their description (and the environment) gives the impression of individual people, each one wrapped up in their own existence.

Second, the colors seem a bit gloomy, and the fact that they try to keep the rain off, alludes to the strong ambiance of gaiety — cafes, bookstores, artisans — that make up the mood of the city. It’s supposed to be a good place where seeming bad or inconvenient things (such as rain) are kept at bay.

Also, while reading, one factor about the city’s inhabitants that I thought was important was Pico’s observation that they “all were young” (105).

Additionally, when Pico arrives, he sees himself in the steamed glass of a bakery and is struck with how much his appearance has changed. He’s thinner, has earrings and a tattoo. But it’s not just a visual change; he now has to assess himself anew after all the experiences he’s had, for

“The journey through the forest marked on his skin as his footprints had marked the skin of the forest. The words of the forest inside him as he had left words behind. A long time he stood before the glass, turning this way and that, trying to enter the new body before him, this body of scars and angles, this foreigner” (105).

Even Pico recognizes that he’s changed from the librarian poet who set out to acquire his wings. And I might agree with him.

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