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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Exclamation Point! By Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. Scholastic, 2013. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"He stood out here.

He stood out there.

It seemed like the only
time he didn't stand out
was when he was asleep."

Poor exclamation point! He just wants to be like everyone else. He doesn't like being different, and then he meets question mark. All her questions make him crazy until he finally tells her to STOP! His outburst does nothing to deter the question mark, thankfully. We need her, don't we?

Now that he's found his calling, the possibilities are endless! Now that he knows what he is cut out for, he makes his presence known.  It can be a lot of fun, and he takes great joy in practicing his art.

As is the case with other books by this witty and accomplished pair of artists, much of the joy in sharing comes from the punny language and cheerful art. It's a wonderful way for new writers and learners to SEE the effect of the exclamation point, all while having fun with the learning. Never is it heavy-handed in its presentation; it is, in fact, quite charming. It is a terrific way to help those young writers who LOVE to use them get the real scoop on emotional punctuation.

There will be some giggling and many cheers as this book is shared again and again. I love the familiar, lined printing book pages. They help show the power to be found in writing, and offer a spirited lesson on the use of punctuation in early writing. The punctuation mark has an expressive face, evoking his feelings as he doubts, mourns, and is finally deflated by attempts to fit in with everyone else.

Once freed from concern for his lot in life, he is off to share his excitement with others. With this much fun, who knew there was also powerful learning involved? The exceptional design, using changing colors and fonts for emphasis simply adds to that power.


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