Doctor De Soto

The hero of Doctor De Soto by William Steig, is a dentist.  He’s not an ordinary dentist – he’s a mouse dentist, and a good one at that.  All the animals come to see him, and he has various solutions for working on the mouths of animals bigger than he.

However, Doctor De Soto does not accept certain patients.  Can you guess which ones?  His sign says it all: “Cats & other dangerous animals not accepted for treatment.”  He has to look out for his safety, after all.

One day a pathetically ill fox rings the doorbell, and against his better judgment, Doctor De Soto decides to treat him.  You can imagine how the fox is tempted to eat the mouse dentist and his lovely assistant, who is also his wife.

But the two are determined to finish fixing the fox’s tooth – and save their own skin.  So they concoct a brilliant solution.

You want to know what it is?  You’ll have to read the book!

Doctor De Soto is a fine example of finishing what you start, being smart and prepared, and having compassion.  Once you’ve read Doctor De Soto, you’ll want to read Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa.  In the sequel, an elephant summons Doctor De Soto and his wife to fix his painful tooth.  Once there, an evil rhesus monkey, named Honkitonk, kidnaps the good dentist because of a grudge against the elephant.  Through it all, the doctor maintains his professional demeanor – and is able to escape and finish fixing the tooth.

Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa is full of alliteration which is fun to read.  My favorite one is:

He (Honkitonk) hadn’t emigrated from India just to be insulted by an ill-bred pachyderm with a preposterous schnozzola.

Children will enjoy reading both these books again and again – and perhaps enjoy visiting a real dentist too.

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