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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Open Wide

Eleven years ago the boys and I visited with Laurie Keller when she signed books at the Red Balloon Bookshop. We all loved her humor in The Scrambled States of America and were eager to buy Open Wide: Tooth School Inside. They loved talking with her, loved how she signed their books, and were astounded that she looked nothing like the photo of herself on the jacket flap (taken when she was in elementary school) - and told her so!

When she returned several years later to sign The Scrambled States of America Talent Show, I purchased Open Wide for my dentist. That book belongs in every dental office, and I wanted him to enjoy it. I was surprised, though, that he kept that personally signed copy in the book basket for kids! I always wondered if anyone actually read it.

When I returned from Vermont, I got the answer. My dentist's receptionist is also his wife and is a friend of mine as well. My husband had an appointment just prior to my departure and took along my adult summer reading list and a mega-brownie for her. A letter told me how "sweet" it was to receive "that big, heavy, yummy-looking brownie," and how after having her portion, almost immediately her "mood and alertness level perked up." I sent her the recipe!

But she also told me this:
"I think of you every time someone picks up Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, and that's happened a lot lately. I especially enjoy observing a youngish father (tattooed, grizzled, smiley, and a great dad) with his eight-year-old twins. They love coming to the dentist (!) and always seem to read that book, even staying after their appointments if they haven't had a chance to read it yet. Dad reads out loud, with a bit of grown-up commentary explaining how it's funny. You would love watching this!"

Her description brought me to the waiting room - and made me glad I shared the book with my beloved dentist and other patients.


  1. What a wonderful story the receptionist related! And how rewarding to know that your gift is being enjoyed by many (and probably easing the fears of the kids who don't love visiting the dentist).

    I'm glad that you were brave enough to give your dentist/receptionist one of your yummy sugar-laden brownies without worrying that they might think it was tooth-unhealthy - and it sounds like they were very appreciative!

  2. A toothsome post, dear Jewel.