Doctor De Soto

by William Steig

Paperback, 1987



Call number




Scholastic (1987), 28 pages


Dr. De Soto, a mouse dentist, copes with the toothaches of various animals except those with a taste for mice, until the day a fox comes to him in great pain.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cmiersma
Doctor Do Soto is a dentist, but he is also a mouse. When a fox who is in terrible pain comes to Dr. Do Soto, the doctor decides to go ahead and help the fox. By the end of the fox’s treatment, he decides he is going to eat the mouse and his wife, but the doctor has come up with a plan. He knows
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foxes eat mice, so he tricks the fox and he is unable to open his mouth to eat the mice.
This fantasy shows a variety of animals talking and sharing emotions. The events that take place, such as a mouse being a dentist, could never take place in the real world.
The story could be used in a classroom for appreciative listening. Children could draw out certain events in the story and compare pictures to see what was meaningful in the story to each student.
The setting in this story is necessary for the storyline. The fact the mouse is a dentist makes it appropriate that the setting would take place at a dentist office. The mice also are illustrated as being so small, that when they work on larger animals, they much use a ladder to accommodate. This shows the size of the mice compared to other animals and how vulnerable they are to animals such as a fox.
Media: Oil Paints
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LibraryThing member Philip413
Book Summary: Two mice, Dr. De Soto and his wife run into an interesting patient. A fox comes into their dentist office with a tooth ache. On any other basis this may not be a problem, but Dr. De Soto is a mouse. Going on the fox's mouth was very dangerous. What if the fox wanted to eat him? The
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doctor decided to take the risk and treat the fox as he felt bad for him. But, he was not so sure about the fox and after he pulls the tooth out, the doctor glued the fox's mouth shut.

Personal Reaction: This book first of all is funny thinking that a mouse could be a dentist. At least he did not work on human's mouths. It kind of reminds me of the Disney movie "Ratatouille." Authors must like trying to connect with children by writing about small creatures that accomplish big things.

Classroom Extension: This book could be a good discussion starter. Talk about trusting people and being aware of the situation. You can teach children that it is good to help people in need, but they need to be careful. Tell them that Dr. De Soto had an assistant; he didn't face the customer alone. It is always good to have a buddy with you. Also, this book could be a good imagination spinner as after reading the book you can have children think about tasks that may seem hard that they want to conquer. Have children write their thoughts in their journal.
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LibraryThing member tshrum06
This is a good example of fantasy. It personifies animals. It gives them real human characteristics which makes them believable, but also gives them characteristics that are similar to their animal-likenesses, like the fox being predatory, which adds to the believability.
Age Appropriateness:
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Media: Watercolor and Ink
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LibraryThing member dylantanner
A kind hearted mouse dentist must decide between his job as a dentist and his role on the food chain when a hurting fox comes to get a tooth fixed. He has to outfox the hungry fox to save his life.

Children's fantasy picture book

This book is terrific. Dr. DeSoto's bickering with his wife leaves me
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in stitches. He is a terrifically kind animal and does what needs to be done. Hippocratic oath extends to Aesops' world too, i guess.

The first grade kids loved this book. I was worried it may have seem dated (Steig has that 1980's feel) but we had a lot of fun with this book, and it's animal protagonist is a classic. He is so civic minded and bright, what a perfect role model.
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LibraryThing member ericarhenry
I thought this book was incredibly smart and funny. It's about Dr. Desoto, a mouse dentist, and his wife, his assistant. They treat a variety of animals and he's a well known dentist, however, they refuse to treat dangerous animals. One day, a fox comes in with a terrible toothache and they debate
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about whether or not to treat him. They decide to let him in and they extract his tooth but see that he is tempted to eat them. He needs to come back the next day to get his new tooth and they formulate a plan. After the fox has his work done, they offer him a new treatment that will prevent toothaches forever. He agrees and they paint his teeth with glue so he can't open his mouth for a day or two. They outfox the fox. It's a really cute book and the illustrations are great. I love how William Steig uses animals as characters and he is abl eto give them so much personality.
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LibraryThing member michelleknudsen
Charming story about a mouse dentist and his wife/assistant who agree to help a fox and then have to outwit him in order to avoid being eaten. It’s satisfying read but I’m kind of surprised about the Newbery Honor—it doesn’t seem quite that amazing of a story to me.
LibraryThing member edtech5
Steig, W., & Puncel, M. (1997). Doctor de soto. City: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR).
This is a book about a dentist written in Spanish. It is a library media book that come with a CD.
LibraryThing member aflanig1
A cute book about how a fox is outsmarted by a mice.
LibraryThing member Ms.Penniman
Retelling: Dr. De Soto was an excellent dentist who compensated for the fact that he was a mouse using his exceptional ingenuity and problem solving skills. When a fox came to his door, hungry and hurting, Dr. De Soto and his wife were faced with a new problem: How to help the fox without being
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Thoughts and Feelings: I admire Dr. De Soto for helping a patient he knew might harm him, but also for taking extra, thoughtful precautions given the his special circumstances. This book reminds me of the Hippocratic oath and the ethical practice of medicine, only with "animals" replacing all "human beings."
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LibraryThing member candicebairn
Cute illustrations, kids would like it.
LibraryThing member ashleywoody
This book is about two married mice and the husband is a Dentist, while his wife is his assistant. Together they work on animal’s teeth, except they don’t accept animals that could eat them. One day a fox comes wanting a tooth worked on, and the couple reluctantly let him in. The fox
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has plans to eat the mice once they’re done fixing his tooth, but in the end of the story the mice outsmart the fox by gluing the fox’s mouth shut.

Personal Reaction:
I thought this story was cute and very clever. I really enjoyed that the mice fixed the fox’s tooth, knowing they could be eaten, and then tricked the fox so that he couldn’t eat them. I think it would be a fun book to read to a class and I think the kids would enjoy it.

Extension Ideas:
1) Have the students draw their favorite scene from the book and write a couple of sentences about what they like about it.
2) Have the students write in their daily writing journal what they would have done to outsmart the fox instead of gluing his mouth shut.
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LibraryThing member kidlit9
Doctor Bernard De Soto, assisted by his wife Deborah, treat animals with toothaches. Since they are mice, they don't accept cats and other mice eaters as patients, until a fox in pain appears at their office.
LibraryThing member KaydeeParrish
Personal Reaction:
This book is about a dentist who is a mouse. He is very careful to treat only aminals who aren't a danger to mice. One day a fox comes to his office with a bad toothache. Dr. De Soto feels bad for the fox so he lets him in. The fox is good while Dr. De Soto pulls his tooth. The
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mice worry that the fox will harm them the next day when the fox returns for his new tooth. When the fox comes back, the Dr. puts in his new tooth and then puts this stuff in his mouth that keeps it shut. The fox had been outsmarted by the mouse!

Personal Reaction: Very cute book! I love when authors use animals as characters in books. I feel like it adds so much more to the story. I also like how the author kept you thinking at the end of the story of what the mouse was going to do to the fox.

Classroom Extensions:
1. I would have students draw pictures of what animal they would use their dentist (the mouse) and what animal they would use as their patient (the fox).
2. I would teach students about their teeth and the importance of cleaning them.
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LibraryThing member TheMightyQuinn
Doctor De Soto is a mouse dentist who treats all size of herbivore, but one day a fox shows up with such a terrible tooth ache the Doc takes pity on him, but then must cleverly avoid becoming dinner when the fox's tooth is fixed. This may be the best Steig book and emphasizes using your head to get
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out of trouble. Great illustrations filled, but not cluttered, with fun details. Highly recommended for all readers and all collections for children.
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LibraryThing member hcurrey
Another creepy Steig book. If foxes and mice both wear clothes and talk and live in the same civilized society, then if the fox is contemplating eating the mouse, that is cannibalism in my mind. Either way, a fun read.
LibraryThing member brandonachey
This story was clever and interesting but lacked any sense of theme or positive lesson that child readers could take from it. I enjoyed the character of Doctor De Soto, who is not only intelligent but also willing to put his life on the line to help others in need. I think he sets a good example
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for child readers to follow. However, the overarching narrative of this story demonstrates that by helping others you may be hurt in the process and should always watch your back. This message, although it reflects some peoples experiences, is not necessarily the best message to give to children. So, as a source of entertaining literature I give two thumbs up, but its message of being overly cautious when helping others I am unsure of.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
In a story that is strongly reminiscent of the Aesopic fable concerning the wolf and the crane, murine dentist Dr. De Soto agrees to go against his standing policy, which states that he will not treat dangerous animals (like cats!), and accept a fox as a patient. Correctly interpreting his vulpine
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patient's desire to eat him, and his assistant (his wife, Mrs. De Soto), the good dentist is torn between his duty as a medical practitioner and his desire to remain in one piece. Fortunately, creative thinking, and a little cunning, allow the mice to outfox the fox, and escape unscathed.

Atypically, Dr. De Soto was chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 1983 - "atypically" because the Newbery is a writer's award, and is usually given to longer works, rather than to picture-books - but although I found the story engaging, and appreciated the interactions of text and image, I can't say that I thought this was a particularly award-worthy title. Still, I did enjoy it, and was charmed by Dr. and Mrs. De Soto, and their sangfroid in the face of danger. Seeing the "little guys" triumph is always fun, especially when the narrative and artwork are so full of humor.
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
Clever story here! I like how Dr. DeSoto and his mouse wife outfox the fox--AFTER they help him! Cute!
LibraryThing member LeviLloyd
This witty and charming book is about a pair of mice that are dentistry field. They were the best in their field. Animals of all sizes came to see them, except for the feline type, of course. One day a fox came to their office and was in terrible pain. The mice decided that they could not
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let the fox be in pain and helped him. The fox had thoughts of eating these mice as they worked to fix his tooth. The little mice were worried about being eaten by the fox and came up with a plan. Witty, delightful, and shows decision making, at its best.

Personal Reaction:
Loved this book! Intelligent and creative little mice. A great read for my children. Fell right in the book and heard my self telling them not to treat the fox.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Can use this book as an introduction into a discussion into bullying.
2. The creative minds of the mice and the contraptions the mice made can easily been added to any cut and paste or big project for older children. Shows that big things happen from little sources.
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LibraryThing member DakotahEpple
This book is good for having students make predictions.
LibraryThing member Fjola
I liked this book more than my son (almost 4) did. He'll probably enjoy it better in a couple of years. It was a bit tricky in places to adapt the text to his level of understanding and innocence, and I felt ambivalent about a couple of things. Not quite sure what the message of the story is, but
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the pictures are really funny and detailed, such as the ones which illustrate how Doctor De Soto goes about caring for large animals, or the picture of the split up stairs (one side for large beasts the other for small).
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LibraryThing member TSmith23
Summary: This book is about a doctor. He was very small. When he worked on little animals they sat in a chair. When he worked on big animals they sat in the floor. When he had even BIGGER animals he had to be lifted up to their mouths. He was a mouse so he didn’t accept patients who were a danger
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to mice. He looked out the window to find a fox. The mouse rejected him. Since the fox was in awful pain the mouse decided to go ahead and treat him. He pulled the tooth and made the fox an appointment for the next day. After the fox left he wondered if he should eat the Desoto’s. After the next appointment he teeth were glued together for a day or two. The Desoto’s got to help and not get eaten.

Personal Reaction: I think this is an interesting story for children. It is helping them learn about what dentist do. It is informational. I think this story is unique and I have never read one like it.

Classroom Extension: I think this would be a good book in the category of what career choices there are. I love how it shows so much information. I would like to read this on career day. This is such a cute book!
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LibraryThing member JessShaffer

This is a book about Doctor De Soto who is a mouse dentist. He treats all animals except cats and dangerous animanls. One day a fox came by in a lot of pain and the Doctor broke his own rule to help fix the fox. He thought the fox might eat him and his wife when he was finished helping him
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so the Doctor glued the fox's mouth shut when he was finished so the fox could not eat him or his wife.

Personal Reaction

This is a children's book that shows that you should never try to trick someone into doing something for you if you are not grateful. The fox wasn't grateful and in the end he had his mouth glued together. This was a funny book with good illustrations.

Classroom Extension Ideas

1. Have the students research what is in a fox's diet and learn about his natural habitat.

2. Have the students add onto the ending of the story and change up the ending.
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LibraryThing member Kbernard
This book is about a fox who thinks he can outsmart the neighborhood dentist. He thinks he can pretend to have a toothache, he can eat the dentist and his wife easily. To his surprise, the dentist is on to his tricks. In the end, the fox leaves with a mouth glued shut and the dentist and wife are
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pleased with the results.
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LibraryThing member bfried10
I really enjoyed this book for many different reasons. The main idea of this story is that you should help everyone. The story is about two mice that are dentists. They are the best dentists in town because they are so small and can work in all the tight places. However, the two mice have a rule
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about doing dental work on any animal that might eat mice. One day a fox comes and pleads them for help. Eventually the mice break their rule and help out the fox. This book shows the reader that even you toughest enemies need help sometimes. Another main idea that was demonstrated was that the underdog could be wiser. Because they didn’t trust the fox, the mice glued the fox’s mouth shut after the operation. This shows that good thinking can outsmart bad intentions.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

9.25 inches


0590414623 / 9780590414623
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