Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“When she was at her saddest, she would take one of her baby teeth from the carved box…and hold it until it revealed its memories” (Joyce, 96).

Chapter Thirteen

After losing her parents, Toothiana is subjected to more sadness: “she belonged nowhere – not among the creatures of the jungle and certainly not among the humans of the village” (96). The animals in the jungle being her food, but she is still sad and alone. Her only comfort is her gift from her parents: her baby teeth.

As the years pass, she sees how “the village children lost much of their innocence and some of their goodness as they grew up” (96). That’s sad . I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, but I suppose, in the context of the Toothiana’s story, it’s a lost that might have them turn into their parents. Growing up is one thing. But growing up to be crueler is dishearteng. 

Seeing this, Toothiana took to collecting their teeth to “give them back their childhood memories and remind them of their kindness” (96).  And that, right there — that gives a reason for her progression to Tooth Fairy. She collects baby teeth to remind people of who they are and who they’ve been. Of a time when goodness really did seem, well, real. And that idea — memories, especially — just really gets me me emotional. Just, yes, you do your thing, Toothiana. I’m for it. It’s beautiful.

Unfortunately, Toothiana begins to leave treasure from the jungle for the children, who begin hiding their teeth from their parents (as they don’t want them to know). Of course, their parents notice the treasure, and [o]nce again the hearts of the grown-ups filled with greed” (97). Oh, come on! Really? Can’t Toothiana have a few moments that don’t result in people (grown-ups) being greedy jerks?

A trap is lain for Toothiana and she is caught in a cage by the Mysterious Hunter. (Have I mentioned him yet?)

He and his minions take her to Punjam Hy Loo where he reveals that he was the Maharajah who Toothiana’s father had been friends with, and has now turned into a giant monkey: the Monkey King. He wants revenge for what happened to him. But before he can shoot Toothiana through the heart, “[s]he was no longer a single entity, but several smaller versions of herself” 103). 

What caused this change? I’d guess when she, clutching her ruby box, “pictured [her parents] clearly in her mind, letting herself feel the bond they had shared so deeply, letting herself remember how much they had sacrificed for her”, she was filled and filed by the memory of love (103). It made her stronger. It made her more of herself. 

I wonder how it affects her consciousness or sense of self?

Either way, the Monkey King is thrown by Toothiana’s new abilities. With help from the Sisters of Flight and the elephants and the wild animals, Toothiana, merging back into a single body, seizes the Monkey King. He is unable to escape, for Toothiana seemed to have “the strength of a dozen (105). A likely result of multiplication of selves; there’s more of her, so there’s more strength.

The memory of her parents halts Toothiana’s rage and she lets the Monkey King go.

And that, as Mr. Qwerty closes, his pages, is the end of Toothiana’s story.

After listening to it, Katherine feel “a twinge of envy” because “Toothiana had memories of her parents” (106). That which Katherine lacks. It’s what Katherine desires. I have in my notes that it’s more tragic to lose and never know. I suppose this means Katherine’s parents. Her lost is that she’s never known them. (But does she need to?)

This ties Toothiana’s story to Katherine’s. The latter is growing up, which ties to Toothiana’s motivation in becoming the Tooth Fairy. But even more so, Toothiana’s ability to remember is linked to parents. And that has been gnawing on Katherine — her own parents, Pitch as a father — since she’s begun to feel betwitx. Katherine is not only growing up, but she wants to know about where she came from, who had her. 

This nexus of parents, memories, children, growing up, and how they intersect, is what makes Book 3 so tightly tied together. Not only with how it’s used to introduce Toothiana or pull on threads of Katherine’s character arc, but how both tie in with Pitch.

Words:

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no words

Book Quote:

“A boy named Akela had lost his two front teeth, and Toothiana had a special treasure saved for him: two beautiful uncut diamonds” (97).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“If you have them under your pillow as you sleep, or hold it tightly, you will remember that which you need — a memory of happy days, or of deepest hopes, or even of us in better times” (Joyce, 93).

Chapter Twelve

Last week Mr. Qwerty told Katherine and the other Guardians about how Toothiana’s parents, Haroom and Rashmi, met. Because there are no children in Pujam Hy Loo, the family moves to live among mortals. Their lives are peaceful for a while, until Toothiana turns twelve and loses her last baby tooth.

Then she sprouts wings, much to the delight of the other children.  But their parents, the grown-ups “were bewildered… [and] [s]ome thought she was an evil spirit and should be killed; others saw ways to use her, as either a freak to be caged and paraded about, or to force her to fly to the palace of the new maharaja and steal his jewels” (86).

I don’t have the words to express how angry this makes me. She’s a child and all the adults can think of is how to use to her to increase their fortune or to kill she defies what is normal. It just…it makes me furious. As the text sums up concisely: “The grown-ups of the village had gone mad with fear and greed” (87). Basically, they’re jerks. And it won’t get any better.

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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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Toohiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“He was so confused by all that was happening and how close he’d come to losing Katherine” (Joyce, 66).

Chapter Nine – Chapter Ten

There’s not a lot to be said for these chapters. (Also, if this post and the last few of Book 3 seem tonally dissonance with the others, it’s because there’s a gap of a couple years between writing them.)

Last we learned, North shared his new dream, fostered from Katherine’s dream (yay!). This sets the stage: everyone is talking about it. Katherine, while pleased by their enthusiasm, wonders where Nightlight is. She hasn’t been able to feel him or his friendship as easily recently. She follows him up to “the highest tower of the Lamadary” (59).

When she finds him, she’s surprised that he looks sad. Of more interest to me is this: “In his hand he held something. She leaned forward even closer. It was a tear. A single tear” (60). He still has it. Her Dream Tear.

Unfortunately, Nightlight is startled by Katherine, who crept up beside him on the ledge as quietly as she could. Startled herself, Katherine “teetered for a moment, windmilling her arms for balance” and then “fell from the ledge” (60).

Yikes! She falls and as she does her mind whirls through a flurry of thoughts.

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“this was the dream she had given him when all seemed lost during one of their first great battles with Pitch!” (Joyce, 55).

Chapter Five – Chapter Eight

In the morning, the entire village of Santoff Claussen boards Bunnymund’s egg-train and journeys to the Lunar Lamadary. There’s another hint at the time frame of the story as “[t]rains were still not invented yet (Bunnymund would secretly help the credited inventors some decades later)” (31). This indicates that the story occurs prior to major, widespread modern industrialization, and additionally that it takes place a couple decades prior it. To me that would be three to four decades, so still probably in the 1700s.

This chapter prominently serves to re-introduce the Lamas, the yetis, and what exactly the Lunar Lamadary is. This is conveyed through Katherine answering the other children’s questions. But near the end, Katherine is suddenly uneasy. She no longer feels quite right with her old friends. Specifically, “[s]he didn’t really know where she wanted to be — with the children or with North and the other grown-ups. Even Kailash didn’t comfort her. She was betwixt and between” (37). It has become about Katherine’s change and growth.

Katherine eventually joins the other Guardians, ruminating on why Nightlight seems distant. She speculates it’s because he misses the battles. She also wonders the same about North, but in contrast to Nightlight the former bandit has changed a lot. And while it isn’t what Katherine notices about North’s change, I loved how he

“still loved conjuring up new toys for the children. (Just that morning he’d brought the youngest William a funny sort of toy–a round biscuit-shaped piece of wood with a string attached to it’s middle. When jerked, it would go up and down almost magically. North call it “yo-yo-ho”) (43-4).

And that’s just adorable! I love it. North created a yo-yo, and I just–I really like Santa Claus, okay?

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Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“So Nightlight felt most perfectly at peace when watching over Katherine as she slept” (Joyce, 17).

Chapter Two – Chapter Four

Although Santoff Claussen is in spring and a rewarding sense of peace has descended on the characters, the Guardians have enough sense not to take it for granted that Pitch has truly been defeated. They all continue to be on the look out for Pitch:

“Nightlight…scoured the night sky for signs of Pitch’s army” and “Bunnymund kept his rabbit ears tuned for ominous signs while burrowing his system of tunnels, and Ombric cast his mind about for bits of dark magic that might be creeping into the world” (13-4).

The chapter revisits the mental/emotional connection the guardians formed in Book 2:

“Their bond of friendship was so strong that it now connected them in heart and mind. Each could often sense what the others felt, and when it felt like time to gather, they would just somehow know (15-6).

For some reason here it seems less nonsensical as it did originally. It’s sweet now. The kind of comradeship that comes from understanding and being in sync with others. Also, I’m also a sucker for friendship. In particular, it makes a point to remind us that “[Nightlight] and Katherine’s bond was the greatest” (16). After what happened at the Earth’s core, I can believe it.

The chapter expands a bit on how it feels to them and I wanted to share:

“The two never tired of the other’s company and felt a pang of sadness when apart. But even that ache was somehow exquisite, for they knew that they would never be separated for long” (17).

Unfortunately, or so Nightlight feels, the one time he cannot join her is when she is sleeping or dreaming. Since he never sleeps, the whole experience is foreign to him. But the part that worries him is that, while asleep, “Katherine was there but entirely. Her mind traveled to Dreamlands where he could not follow” (17).

This strikes me as an interesting way to interpret dreaming; it’s like being somewhere. Not necessarily a dangerous place, but being asleep is not the same as being awake. When you dream/sleep there is a part of you that isn’t quite there. It’s a different state.

Also, literal dreams — not simply dreams of what one wants or wishes — take root in the story.

While watching Katherine sleep, Nightlight spies a tear on her cheek. He can’t understanding why she would be crying. Everything  is good now; what is there to be sad about? Additionally,

“[h]e knew about the power of tears. It was from tears that his diamond dagger was forged. But those were tears from wakeful times. He had never touched a Dream Tear. But before he could think better of it, he reached down and gently plucked it up.

Dream Tears are very powerful, and when Nightlight first tried to look  into it, he was nearly knocked from the tree” (18-9).

Dream Tears are strong stuff. Which makes sense. Sleep is when we rejuvenate from our lives and dreams can be inspirational, therapeutic, frightening — so it’s easy to imagine they would pull a powerful punch. Here, they are undiluted windows into the sleeper’s self.

And what does Nightlight see in Katherine’s Dream Tear? Something that “[f]or the first time in all his strange and dazzling life,” made Nightlight feel “a deep, unsettling fear” (19)? Pitch himself, “haunting her dreams” (19).

At the guardians current meeting to discuss any news of Pitch, Nightlight remains silent on what he saw in Katherine’s Dream Tear. Every other guardian says there has still been no sign of Pitch. But “[i]t was the first time Nightlight had ever lied” (22). Will that effect him? Being a lighthearted spectral boy of laughter, will doing something that can create weight (via guilt or worry) create any changes?

This detail being unknown to others, Ombric declares that “‘It’s now been eight months since we last saw Pitch. I think before we declare a victory, it would be best to consult the Man in the Moon” (22). Which means a a visit to the Lunar Lamadary in the Himalayas.

But this time, the whole village joins the guardians. They turn it into a big pre-visit party. celebration.

Before the story gets to that, the text reminds us of the five relics and how, if Pitch really is defeated, might there no longer be a need to retrieve them. My question: When will the rest show up? And further more, how do they get or decide they need them?

I do want to say that I think (so far) Book 3 has the strongest emotional throughline of growing up vs. Nightlight and Katherine.

Now the party! It full of wonderful treats and decorates and is just ♥! To list some of the delicious and delightful parts that I loved:

“eggbots whipped up frothy confections…[f]ireflies circled their heads, making halos of green-tinged light…Bunnymund’s newest chocolates–a delectable blend of Aztec cacao and purple plum…[and] [e]ven the crickets came out into the moonlight to play a sort of insect symphony to the delight of everyone” (26-8)

It’s the best.

Afterwards when everyone has gone to bed, Katherine cannot sleep. She is worried about Nightlight. He was the “only one who had not joined the party that night. And it bothered her” (28). But aside from Nightlight’s odd behavior, Katherine has found that at quiet times, her mind will wander to Pitch.

Katherine muses on Pitch’s relationship with his daughter, and how “Ombric and North were like a father and brother to her. But that wasn’t the same as a real family, was it? (29). That’s a significant question. How will it be answered? In this book (if it will be) and in The Guardians Series at large. Where does the family line exist? How significant is blood in the definition of family?

She also decides that “[s]he would find out what” was wrong with Nightlight. In doing so, “[s]he would make him happy once more. And then maybe she’d be happy too” (30). And this right here — this is why  said this book has such a beautiful plot. Katherine is working through her own feelings: what family means, what Pitch means as a father and an enemy, and why Nightlight is unhappy. But he’s unhappy because of her preoccupation with Pitch. Their feelings are a cause and effect of each other. Katherine’s decision is motivated by what Nightlight has learned but won’t tell. Everything is stacked so beautifully to make sense. I utterly love.

Finally, Katherine drifts to sleep but if she had been awake she would have “felt uneasy, as though she were being watched by a force nearly as ancient as Pitch” (30). I won’t say anything except: It’s HER. It’s striking in a re-read since Katherine was just thinking about Pitch and his daughter. I also, as I recall, believe this detail is relevant to the plot. I will wait and see.

Words:

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no words

Book Quote:

“Bunnymund’s ears twitched. These humans and their emotions, he thought. They are so odd. They are more interested in feelings than chocolate” (21).

Works Cited:

Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.

Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“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” (Joyce, 12).

Chapter One

This book has a beautifully structured plot.

Like E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! this one begins in Santoff Claussen with the children. They are playing games and it’s actually cute: “In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had a lost a point” (1). There’s a touch of cleverness with the children’s game-naming.

This opening, rather than feeling out of place, works for me. I don’t mind the other children so much. My previous association and attachment to them from Book 1 and Book 2, makes me glad to see them happy. Additionally, the peaceful, happy set-up into story is a relief after the battle at the Earth’s core and North’s near death. I feel good seeing the characters this way.

The chapter proceeds to explain what the children and the Guardians have been doing since their last fight with Pitch. One thing I liked was how

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