[This] is a partnership made in heaven. In Everything Is Teeth, a crazily evocative graphic memoir about Wyld’s shark-infested childhood, words and pictures are in perfect harmony, the joins between them so seamless you could almost be watching an old black-and-white film ... What a fantastic book this is. Sumner’s drawings are adorable and acute; Wyld’s words are first wry and then wise. Embracing life and death and everything in between, in Wyld’s hands the shark is a powerful metaphor: it stands for those demons that, when faced down, mostly turn out to be far less terrifying than they appeared at first.
The darkly poetic voice she evoked in her previous work reveals itself in a different way here, working within the constraints of writing text for a cartoon frame. At times limitations can bring freedom, and the very terseness required here offers power, linguistic clarity and dramatic opportunities that draw the reader into an emotionally compelling world ... The anxieties expressed here extend beyond sharks, naturally. The obvious touchstone here is Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, and Wyld likewise delivers an incisive portrait of a father who provides a forceful foil for the main character ... The power of the prose in Everything is Teeth is magnified by Joe Sumner's illustrations, which combine primitive yet delicate portraits of the girl and her surroundings with viciously realistic renderings of sharks swimming through the pages. Readers can feel the heroine's palpable fright as she refuses to enter the sea to swim with her family ... a magical trip into a world that we're happy to glimpse from the shore.
To read their collaboration, though, is to experience Sumner’s artwork at least as much as Wyld’s sparse, reflective narration ... Sumner’s artwork here is mostly as broad and plain as a woodcut, black lines augmented with nothing but pale sand-yellow and sky blue; he draws Wyld and her family with circular heads and blunted triangles for noses. But when the sharks and other scary sea creatures turn up, he renders them in detail, and sometimes with a full spectrum of color ... Her sentences — often just two or three of them on each page — are clean and subdued, with an occasional poetic swerve.