When Heidi Whitaker lost a tooth when she was a girl, her mother would give her a little pillow to tuck it into so the Tooth Fairy could find it and leave behind a reward. When Whitaker’s own daughters–Annabelle, 10; Mary Jane, 8 and Whitney, 6–started to think about visits from the Tooth Fairy, their grandmother gave them that same pillow to leave out for the Tooth Fairy. Seeing the pillow again gave the Minnetonka mom an idea.
That was the beginning of Tug and the Tooth—a book and a plush toy designed to help kids with the challenge of something new.
Tug and the Tooth tells the story of a little girl who dreams that her doll Tug comes to life. They journey to the Tooth Fairy’s castle. Tug is a funny-looking fellow with a backpack that’s just the right size for carrying a tooth to the castle—and returning with a surprise.
Whitaker says she hopes the story helps kids who are facing anything new that makes them a little bit nervous. “The age when kids are losing that first tooth is a time when everything seems to be new,” Whitaker says. “They are getting on the school bus for the first time, making new friends, learning how to be out in the world on their own. Tug and the Tooth is really a coming-of-age story.”
Being able to read the story and then take Tug along can be a reminder that new things don’t have to be scary. Parents send Whitaker emails or post on the Tug and the Tooth Facebook page to tell her about how the book has helped their child overcome fear.
“Tug goes to the dentist with children who are scared and is a comfort to them.” As a mom, Whitaker knows how valuable that bit of extra confidence can be to a child.
This is Whitaker’s first book, as she previously spent 6 years in sales. Writing the book wasn’t easy and she briefly considered looking for someone to help her, but it was her to story to tell. Getting the book and toy published and created was even more daunting at times. She eventually found a Minneapolis design firm called Replace Inc. They did all the design work on the project, including creating the artwork for the book and the packaging that tied it all together. That creative support let Whitaker fully realize her vision.
How did she manage to do something so completely new and scary? “I took my own advice,” she laughs. “I realized that I just wrote a book about how doing something new is scary! You just have to take it all one step at a time.”
The author also hopes that Tug and the Tooth helps parents create a family tradition. Whitaker says. “Tug and the Tooth offers an opportunity to slow down and celebrate moments that matter with your little ones.”
Order online here and get 30 percent off using the code Tug30.
Tug and the Tooth is also available at area gift shops.