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).
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.
“A boy named Akela had lost his two front teeth, and Toothiana had a special treasure saved for him: two beautiful uncut diamonds” (97).
Joyce, William. Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies. New York: Atheneum Books, 2012. Print.