What-the-Dickens by Gregory Maguire
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fantasy, YA
Review: The frame of this story is that of 3 children in the care of their older cousin. There is a hurricane raging around them, and their parents have gone out to get more insulin for the child's mother. The outside world is a scary place for these children, who live largely separated from everyone else as a matter of faith, and they have no way of knowing whether their parents will make it back to them alive.
To distract them from the terror of the night, their cousin begins to tell them a story, which may or may not be true, about the time he encountered some skibbereen, commonly known as tooth fairies. It's more or less the story of a skibberee born without a clan who must find his way in the world. He finds a friend, they strike out together, etc.
Frankly, I found the story of the children much more compelling than the story of the skibbereen. Both stories are left dangling, with the children never finding out what happened to the skibbereen in the end, and the reader never finding out whether the children's parents returned. I cared much more about the eventually fate of the children. Their story was more than just an excuse for clever puns.