Houston resident Hope Martin and her son, Dale, sit with the recently published children's book Hope produced after Dale asked a question as a 6-year-old.

Back in 2003, a 6-year-old boy living near Houston asked his mother a question that she wasn’t able to answer at the time.

But 17 years later, a series of answers is now in book form.

The mom was Hope Martin and the boy was her first-grade son, Dale.

“What does the tooth fairy do with all those teeth?” Dale asked.

“Uh, I’ll get back to you on that,” Hope said.

This past January, a children’s book was published that bears the same name as that fateful question: “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do With All Those Teeth?” Many of the ideas for the book resulted from interaction between mother and boy.

“When I thought of something, I would jot it down,” Hope said, “and he would giggle and give me ideas as well. We’d sit and laugh about it, and before we knew it, we had a book.”

Now a 23-year-old, Dale said he can’t recall exactly where he got the question from.

“But it was either because someone asked me the question, or maybe it was from a cartoon,” he said.

Hope wrote all the rhymes and drew the illustrations on the book’s pages, depicting things like teeth strung around a Christmas tree like popcorn or being used as baubles on a necklace.

“It took me about a half hour to write it and six months to do the illustrations,” she said.

Hope's book's art

Hope Martin drew the illustrations for her recently published children’s book.

After Hope figured the writing and drawing was complete, she took samples to Dale’s class for a show-and-tell session.

“I told them I need their opinions, but of course they’re first-graders who had no clue what opinion means,” Hope said. “So I said, ‘OK, let’s say your mom and dad have Brussels sprouts for dinner, and you’re like, yuck, we hate Brussels sprouts! That’s an opinion. But then after you eat it, your mom gives you ice cream for dessert and you’re, like, yay!’

“I said, ‘I need to know if this is like a Brussels sprouts thing or an ice cream thing.’ I got all ice creams.”

Getting the book published took so long largely because the company Hope worked with back in the early 2000s supposedly had connections with publishing firms, wasn’t really on the level.

“Back then, you didn’t just go straight to a publisher or publishing company, you had to go to someone who would help push your book, so to speak,” Hope said. “But they pretty much took our money and ran. Apparently they did that to a lot of people. I didn’t realize that until a lawsuit came up.”

After the sour experience, Hope more or less gave up. But in June of 2019, her husband, David, heard a radio commercial for Page Publishing (of Conneaut Lake, Penn.) and called the company to share information about his wife’s book.

Young Dale Martin

This photo of 6-year-old Dale Martin appears toward the beginning of his mother’s children’s book.

“He made the call on a Thursday and I got a call on Saturday,” Hope said. “The man asked what the book was about and I said, ‘I don’t even know if you do children’s books.’ He said they did and asked again what it was about.

“I said, ‘What does the tooth fairy do with all those teeth?’ There was about 10 seconds of silence, and I thought he wasn’t interested and had hung up. But I said, ‘hello?’ Then he said, ‘I’m sorry, I was just thinking about that question.’

“I said, ‘whew, I thought I lost you.’” 

The process then began, and Hope was pleased with how it progressed.

“They made it look real nice, but they won’t change anything unless it’s OK with you,” she said. “I was surprised with how many steps there were; I must have proofed that book a zillion times.”

The book was done by late last year and was published on Jan. 6.

“It was such a relief,” Hope said.

“After all this time,” Dale said.

“And if wasn’t for my husband,” Hope said, “we wouldn’t have gotten this far. I didn’t want to go through what happened the first time again.”

Hope intends to do some book signing appearances once the COVID-19 situation allows.

“What Does the Tooth Fairy Do With All Those Teeth?” is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, eBay, Kindle and Walmart.com.

Hope said a second book is in the works.

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