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Distinguished Author & Artist Award, 2014

First Place Award, Great American Song Contest, 2014

Second Place Winner for Poetry

Many Honorary Mentions

The Smile Plant

The Smile Plant (c) Jon Duguay

Original story by Silvana Goldemberg

creatively interpreted by Robert Max Tell Stelmach


Once upon a wiggly tooth day, Micah woke up in tears. “Mommy, my tooff is loose. My tooff is loose.” Then she buried her face in her pillow.

“Don’t cry, my little one?” said Mother, her voice as soft as a kitten’s purr.

“I’m going to lose all my teeff,” said Micah, sitting up with a sniffle.

“But, you’ll get new ones,” said mother.

“Brand new teeff?” said Micah, her eyes brightening through her tears.

“Brand new teeth,” said Mother. “First, you lose your baby teeth, then new, grownup ones grow in to take their place.”

“Brand new teeff,” said Micah, trying to get used to the idea.

“And money too!” shouted her little brother, Bibs. Bibs was bobbing up and down behind Micah.

“You don’t need to shout,” said Mother. “We can hear you.”

“Money?” asked Micah.

“Oodles of cash,” bubbled Bibs, doing his best to whisper, “from the tooth fairy. And it’s all free.”

“What’s this about a loose tooth?” said Father looking in from the bathroom across the hall.

“It’s my baby tooff, Daddy,” said Micah. She opened her mouth wide and wiggled her loose tooth with the tip of her tongue.

“That’s gross,” said Bibs, making a face.

“Be careful, Dear,” said Mother, turning to Micha. “If it falls out at school today, don’t loose it.”

“Wrap it in this,” she continued. She folded a clean white tissue and handed it to Micah. “Keep it in a safe place. When you get home, put it under your pillow. Next morning …”

“You’ll be as rich as rich!” shouted Bibs, pushing in, hoping for another look in Micah’s mouth.


“Yes, Dad, “he said. The look on his father’s face told him everything. “But, Micah can buy stuff! Neat stuff!”

“Maybe she’ll want to put her money in her piggy-bank,” said Father.

“Or in a real bank,” said Mother.

“Or in her pocket,” said Bibs. “She can play with it in her pocket all day long.”

“She’ll decide that for herself,” said Father.

“It’s getting late,” said Mother. “Time to get ready for school.”

“This way, young man.” Father took Bibs gently by the hand and led him, struggling, into the bathroom.

“What are you going to buy with all that money?” shouted Bibs, calling back over his shoulder.

“I don’t know,” Micah thought to herself. “I’ll have to think about it.” As she got dressed, she thought and thought and thought.

“Don’t forget your rain gear,” said Mother.

In the car, on the way to school, Micah could think about nothing but her loose tooth.

Bibs poked her in the ribs. Micah was thinking so hard she didn’t feel a thing.

She watched the windshield wipers as they played with the raindrops on the windshield. “I’m going to plant my tooff in a pot and let it grow,” she said. She thought she was speaking to herself, but Bibs was listening.

“Ridickilis!” he said, poking her again.

“The word is ridiculous,” said Micah.

She thought about her tooth plant all the way to school.

In class, she thought some more. “My tooff plant will grow and grow.” Once again she thought that she was talking to herself, but she wasn’t and everybody laughed.

“A tooth plant? said all the boys snickering. “Impossible!”

Her teacher, Mr. Molar, hushed the boys, then said, “Micah, what’s four take away three?”

Not meaning to, she said, “One loose tooff.”

Everybody laughed again.

“You’re a lucky girl,” said Mr. Molar, motioning to all the boys and girls to settle down. “Micah, you are growing up.”

“Yes,” she said to herself. “I am growing up.” But this time, no one heard her.

During recess, Micah thought some more about her loose tooth. The rain had stopped.

While all the other boys and girls were playing together in the school yard, Micah sat by herself.

She moved her tongue. She wiggled her loose tooth where no one else could see – with her mouth shut. Then she thought some more about her tooth plant.

“The wind,” she said, “will blow the seeds of my tooff plant all around the world.” Once again, she was not talking to herself and everyone heard, especially the boys.

“That’s dumb!”

“Buy candy,” said her best friend, Jane, who had thoughts of her own. She shook her candy-coloured hair. “Do you like candy? I love candy.”

Micah moved her tooth again. “Ouch!” she said. Out popped her tooth.

Jane shrieked, “Oh, no, you’re bleeding!”

Bibs was playing nearby with the kindergarten class. “That’s gross,” he shouted. He shouted as loudly as he could, so everyone could hear.

“Micah,” said Mr. Molar, running up to her. He handed her a clean handkerchief from his pocket. “Don’t lose that tooth.”

As Micah wiped her mouth, she had another idea for her tooth plant.

“Whenever a boy or girl looses a tooff, the wind will blow a tooff seed into the hole and the girl or boy will smile and not feel any more pain.”

“What a lovely idea,” said Mr. Molar.

“Micah’s crazy,” shouted all the boys.

She wrapped her tooth in her mother’s tissue, then slipped it deep inside her pocket.

No matter what anyone else said, Micah liked her idea about her tooth plant. She liked it so much that she smiled showing a great big hole between two of her white front teeth.

All the boys made faces and said, “That’s gross.”

“Don’t listen to them,” said Mr. Molar, soothingly. “You’re a big girl now.”

“I am big, aren’t I?” said Micah. This time she made sure that she only spoke to herself. And that is when she really figured out what to do with her tooth.

Back home, Micah piled coloured paper, magic markers, a pair of scissors and a glue stick on the kitchen table.

“Use this, Dear,” said Mother. She handed Micah some newspaper to keep the table clean.

Micah cut and pasted, and cut and pasted, while Bibs pestered her constantly.

“What are you going to buy? What are you going to buy?”

Micah never heard a word. Finally, Bibs gave up bothering her and asked his mother to read him a story.

“Look what I did,” said Micah excitedly as she ran into the living room.

“I wrote a poem," she smiled. "And I made my own smile plant.” She pointed at the different parts of her smile plant that she had cut and pasted into her picture. With her heart pounding, she read her poem.


My Smile Plant

“Here’s the ocean, big and blue.

Here’s my poem just for you.

Here’s a pot coloured brown.

Here’s the stem up and down.


These are leaves all in green,

Very shiny, very clean.

Here, I drew a little ant.

This, I call my smile plant.


Here’s the flower, apple red

With a tooth from my head.

If you ever loose a tooth,

Johnny, Sasha, Joon, or Ruth,


Think of what I did with mine,

How I made the sun to shine,

How I made my smile plant.

Don’t you think it’s elegant?”

Illustrated by Jon Duguy

Available on CD with Audio Book

Original Spanish (c) Silvana Goldemberg

(c) Robert Stelmach 2009

Max Tell is the pseudonym for Robert Stelmach

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