Doctor De Soto

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Doctor De Soto Book Poster Image
Clever twists of plot keep kids interested.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The fox is a bad apple, but he gets his just and gentle desserts.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the artwork's cartoon-strip clarity and soft coloring is inviting to the eye, and the story has both the pacing and expectancy to keep readers absorbed.

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What's the story?

Never trust a fox! Mouse dentist Doctor De Soto and his able assistant wife don't, but they do take pity on the wily one that pleads for them to yank his rotten, aching tooth. The ungrateful beast's ensuing plans to eat the mice are thwarted in author/illustrator William Steig's typically imaginative fashion.


Is it any good?

Few writers rival William Steig when it comes to short but compelling stories. His work is gentle, yet he keeps the reader's imagination hopping with clever twists of plot and resourceful, often courageous, actions by characters. Steig doesn't shrink from challenging words -- "the fox caressed the new tooth with his tongue" -- and at times they can be outright demanding. But his tinder-dry humor, guarantees an attentive audience.

Steig's artwork is lyrical, washed with color, and imbued with a tangible presence. The characters float on the white background of the page, which sets off their expressions like firecrackers. And what marvelous expressions they are, signaling to the reader exactly how a character is feeling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the dentist's kindness. Why does he help the fox? Does he expect the fox to try to eat him?

Book details

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