George Washington's Teeth

Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora; Pictures by Brock Cole

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

A tongue-in-cheek dental history of our first President

"Poor George had two teeth in his mouth
The day the votes came in.
The people had a President,
But one afraid to grin."

From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year, and by the time he was elected President, he had only two left! In this reverentially funny tale written in verse and based on Washington’s letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness.

Illustrated in watercolors with subtle humor by Brock Cole, the main story is followed by a four-page time line featuring reproduced period portraits of Washington.
George Washington's Teeth is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Praise for George Washington's Teeth

"A highly palatable historical morsel." --Starred, Publishers Weekly

"This accurate and intriguing slice of history should find a place in any elementary school library." --Starred, School Library Journal

" ...breezy, sympathetic, carefully-researched vignette...[one] that will have readers feeling the great man's pain - and never looking at his painted visage the same way again." --Starred, Kirkus Reviews

" Illustrator Cole is at his absolute best here, totally at ease with the human gesture and expression...This is history for youngsters that will stick; it's wild and fun and factual, without a trace of mockery." --Starred, Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora; Pictures by Brock Cole

  • Deborah Chandra’s previous children’s books include A Is for Amos, which Publishers Weekly called “a charmer” in a starred review. She lives in Altadena, California.

    Madeleine Comora is an author and poet who lives in Glendale, California.

    Brock Cole is the author and/or illustrator of many books, including the picture books Buttons, a Boston GlobeHorn Book Honor Book, and Larky Mavis. He lives in Buffalo, New York.
  • Deborah Chandra
  • Madeleine Comora Photo by Rahul Bhushan


Available Formats and Book Details

George Washington's Teeth

Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora; Pictures by Brock Cole

American Library Association Notable Children's Books, Kirkus Reviews Editor's Choice, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, Booklist Editors' Choice, Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, Parents Magazine, Best Children's Books of the Year, NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List, Arizona Grand Canyon Young Readers Master List, New Mexico Land of Enchantment Master List, GA Picture Storybook Award ML, Arizona Young Readers' Award Master List, Georgia Children's Book Award Master List (University of GA), Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books of the Year
  • Trade Paperback


  • Hardcover



Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)