Saturday, November 19, 2011

Doctor De Soto- By William Steig

Doctor De Soto, a favorite book from my childhood, tells the story of a mouse dentist who works with his wife to outsmart a fox. Doctor De Soto is a well respected dentist who treats animals of all sizes. Doctor De Soto typically stays away from animals who are dangerous to mice, however one day when a fox comes to Doctor De Soto’s office crying and begging for help, Doctor De Soto decided to take a risk and take the wolf on as a patient. While Doctor De Soto was working in the wolf’s mouth to help fix his toothache, the wolf realized how delicious the mouse would taste. That night, the De Sotos figured out a plan as to how they would keep the fox from eating them the next day when he comes back for his appointment. The clever De Sotos used a special formula in the fox’s mouth that would keep him from

opening his mouth for a day. Therefore, the fox would not be able to eat the De Sotos.

William Steig not only wrote this fantastic children’s book, but he illustrated it as well. The illustrations are simple yet clever and really help to bring the story alive. The illustrations have a cartoon-like quality to them, which would definitely appeal to children of all ages.

This is a great book to have in the classroom and to have at home. Doctor De Soto is a great read aloud book because it would interest tosuch a wide range of children and it is also a great book to read to children at home.

Click here for some classroom activities that could be used after reading Doctor De Soto


  1. I am so happy to see that you have written about Dr. De Soto: This is one of my favorite books from childhood as well! This book would be a great addition to an author study on William Steig (as he has written many great books that have a variety of story lines). This would also make a fun reader's theater! This book is great for students, as it is a great example of creative storytelling: It also has value in inspiring kids to think about problem solving (Dr. De Soto and his wife are great problem solvers). I agree that this is a great addition to any classroom.
    -Margaret Koehler

  2. William Steig is such a wonderful author! Sometimes I feel "Dr. De Soto" is overlooked for his Caldecott-winning "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble." This would be a fun book to include in a kindergarten or first grade unit on different jobs. Hopefully children are starting to go to the dentist around that age. Students might benefit from making a class-wide T-chart comparing/contrasting the wolf's experience at the dentist with their own. For example, the wolf has to stand up so Dr. De Soto can climb on a ladder, but students might recognize that they typically lie down in a chair at the dentist. They would enjoy applying their previous knowledge to the text to further enrich their reading experience - which would typically be done out loud due to their young age.
    Great job!
    Claire Wescott