Melvin the Martian’s toothtale – A children’s story!


cover page


Sean Mureithi stood in front of the bathroom mirror brushing his teeth. He looked into the mirror and looked at his teeth. Although they were bright white he was without a front bottom tooth. But a new one was on its way, just peeking over the gum.

“Sean, have you finished brushing your teeth?” asked his mother from downstairs.

“Yes mum!” he replied as he gurgled some water, spit it out, and went to his room singing to himself.

“Brush, brush, brush,
Brush, my teeth.
Shiny they must be,
A bright mouth you will see,
Strong and healthy too,
Because I brush, brush,
Brush my teeth.”

Sean’s mother walked into his room just as Sean sat on his bed. His mother asked “Have you brushed all your teeth including all the ones at the back?’’

Sean sighed and said “yes mum, I have! I am not like Melvin the Martin.”

bedtime story

His mother laughed and asked “What story should we read today?”

“Can we read Melvin the Martian’s toothtales please?” asked Sean.

Mother went to the shelf brought out the book and sat next to Sean. She started the story “in Udoria in 2300…”


martian boy


Udoria 2300

Melvin the Martian sneezed. He was trying to brush his teeth but the toothpaste made him sneeze. It was his father’s toothpaste formula. Melvin didn’t like the toothpaste, it was bitter. His father made it from the leaves of the Utok plant. Melvin’s father Atak said the toothpaste was good for removing germs and neutralizing the effect of the slightly acidic water. Melvin hated the toothpaste so much he only brushed his front teeth but not the back ones. Melvin’s cat called Fojo was also on the floor brushing his teeth. He was trying to remove bits of tuna fish stuck between his teeth. Fojo was 8 years old, almost as old as Martin.


Melvin’s father Atak was a botanist*. Atak made robots as a hobby also because he loved machines. 2 years ago an exploring craft had found a plant on Udoria that they called Utok that had medicinal value. Atak was sent to the planet to study the plant and find out what it could be used for. Melvin’s mum said she also wanted to go along so the Martian government built them a house near the plants and a lab under the house.

Atak had 2 assistants some lab rats called Hobo and Smit. They were about 4 feet tall, and looked like a cross between a kangaroo and a large field mouse. That particular morning Hobo and Smit brushed their teeth quickly. As they brushed, they sang:

“Brush, brush, brush,
Brush, my teeth.
Shiny they must be,
A bright mouth you will see,
Strong and healthy too,
Because I brush, brush,
Brush my teeth.”

Hobo and Smit then put on their lab coats and left their room and they were angry. Very angry because Fojo the cat had been very naughty. Fojo the cat had put glum worms in their beds. The worms had claws like crabs and they would bite. Their bite was painful, it would swell and blister. Hobo was so angry he promised that Fojo would one day know just how angry he had made Hobo.

Hobo said “one day that cat will get what it deserves. And I want to be there when it happens.”

cat and mouse

At the lab they meet with Fojo. Fojo smiled and said “morning. Did you sleep well?”

Smit angrily replied “You’re a very bad cat. One day we will get you back! Just you wait”

Fojo smiled and said “I am too clever for you. I am the most intelligent animal on this planet and that’s a fact.” And with a swish of his tail he ran off laughing.
Melvin’s mum Sadia was Singing in the kitchen as she washed the dishes. She was once a famous opera* singer. She gave it up when she came to planet Udoria but she practiced every day. She said that you never knew when something unexpected would come up and she would have to sing.

Sadia commanded the tap “hot water please!” The tap which was a robotic tap made by Atak obliged. As it chugged out hot water, it made such a strange noise. The family called the tap the weeping tap because it sounded as if it was weeping. It had settings for freezing cold water, room temperature water, warm water, and hot water. When Sadia was done with washing dishes she brought out a toothbrush and washed the tap’s mouth. It had small sharp blades at the bottom where the water came out that looked like teeth. The water on Udoria was abit acidic so the taps had to be brushed at least once a day to keep them clean and shiny.

Sadia then went upstairs and brushed her teeth. Then she got out her diary to plan Melvin’s birthday which was next week. Relatives were coming and Sadia had ordered some things for the party. One of the things she ordered was a special surprise for Melvin. A puppy from planet Earth.


Melvin’s birthday.

Melvin woke up very early on his birthday, he was excited. Cousins, aunties, and uncles were coming over and they were going to have a party because it was his birthday. He also knew his mother was getting him a puppy! Oh the wonderful things they would do together with the puppy! Go exploring the planet, play fetch, and go hunting for the field squirrels that lived in the fields behind their house. For today though, he wasn’t allowed to leave his room until 6 am so he played a video game to keep himself busy.


Sadia was already up making some pancakes for breakfast. She was also making Melvin’s birthday cake, a Martian chocolate cake. It was like a normal chocolate cake only that it was green, and it had Martian nuts on top of it instead of strawberries.

Atak, Melvin’s Dad was already up. He was in his lab making final touches to a new toothpaste flavor especially for Melvin as his birthday surprise. It was sweet and fruity just the way Melvin always wished it would be. He had been working on the formula for months.

At 8 o’clock Melvin’s relatives and friends arrived on the shuttle with a lot of hugs and joy, they all happily walked to Melvin’s house ready for the party. Melvin could not wait to taste Auntie Ludia’s candy. She made wonderful candy and Melvin was allowed to have as much as he wanted only on his birthday. His parents always said too much candy would make healthy teeth sick and ugly.

The house had been decorated with balloons and ribbons. Melvin’s birthday was going well. After everybody had eaten lunch and it was time for Melvin to open his presents. The first thing he opened was the crate holding the puppy. Inside the crate was a very distressed puppy.

dog 2

It was only 4 weeks old and it wasn’t used to being away from its mother. It had traveled a long way. First from Earth to Mars, then onwards to Udoria. Melvin lifted it gently and hugged the puppy. The puppy licked his face, finally glad to be out of the crate.

Next Melvin opened the box of candy from his Aunty Ludia. He happily picked a piece of candy and bit into it so hard the whole room echoed “CRACK!!!” He felt so much pain and he cried out very loudly. His mother run to his side to check what was going on. Melvin opened his mouth and then his mum saw what had happened. His front tooth had cracked right down the middle. His mum also saw all the teeth at the back of Melvin’s mouth were sick and looking black.

Sadia asked “Melvin have you been brushing your teeth?”

Melvin who was in pain sobbed and said “I have just been brushing the front ones.”

Atak asked him “why don’t you brush the ones at the back?”

“The toothpaste is very bitter and it makes me sneeze,” replied Melvin.
After that the party came to a close. Sadia got for Melvin a painkiller. Then they all got ready because a broken tooth meant that Melvin would have to go to the dentist. That would mean that they would have to stay on mars for one week because the shuttle only did a trip to udoria once a week.

Sadia quickly packed some clothes for the three of them. Atak went to tell the lab rats that he was leaving them incharge of the house while they were away. The guests and Melvin’s family went to wait for the shuttle. The guests carried goodie bags filled with pieces of cake, and some of Melvin’s auntie’s candy. Poor Melvin, he was sad. They would be no candy for him for a long time.

Melvin had also learnt his lesson; he will be brushing all his teeth instead of just a few at the front. He was scared if the dentist saw all his black teeth, the dentist would pull them all off. At least he got to go to Mars with the puppy instead of leaving him on Udoria. He would show the puppy off to his Martian friends. Puppies from Earth were very rare on Mars. With Melvin’s new puppy, there would be only 2 puppies on Mars.


When the shuttle left Hobo and Smit went back to the house and locked the door. Fojo had been left outside. He had been thinking up tricks to make the dog run away. He didn’t want Melvin to have any other pets apart from him. When he found the door was locked he knocked waiting to be let in.

Fojo shouted, “Let me in your silly rats!”

Hobo shouted through the window “ we don’t want bad cats inside the house! Look for somewhere to sleep tonight. We need to sleep well tonight. That means the evil cat will not get in!” The rats laughed and left Fojo outside in the cold Udorian night. Fojo was not laughing anymore.


(the meaning of words or phrases in the story)

Botanist – a scientist who studies plants.

Opera – a form of singing which has a lot of acting and which is performed in a theatrical setting.


Thanks to the following lovely friends of mine.

Melvin the Martian Cover illustration by Victor Mutuli.
Additional illustrations by Nuru Bahati.
Additional editing by Tindi Ndunda Wa’Mulwa


Facebook Comments