Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: New York: Scholastic, 2013
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 4 to 8 years
Theme: punctuation, self-esteem
Opening Sentences: He stood out from the very beginning.
Synopsis: !, surrounded by simple, ordinary, unassuming .s, stands out no matter what he does. He tries to scrunch up, he tries to stomp his long waving top into oblivion, but nothing helps. He doesn’t fit in with the others. Then, out of the silence of all those periods, a ? bounces in, full of questions. In dealing with all those non-stop questions, ! finds his own voice, and his own purpose.
Activities/Resources: People who are younger than I may not be familiar with the pianist and comedian Victor Borge. He used to do a wonderfully funny routine called Phonetic Punctuation, in which he indicated all the punctuation in his speech with vocalized sounds. Children would have a great time doing this, either using his sounds, or making up their own to correspond with the different punctuation marks. Recordings of this routine are available on iTunes — search for Victor Borge and look in the list for Phonetic Punctuation.
The blog Deceptively Educational has a printable board game about missing punctuation that looks like fun.
The blog The Educators’ Spin On It has an entire Amy Krouse Rosenthal virtual book club for kids.
Scholastic’s website has an interview with Amy and the illustrator, Tom Lichtenheld.
And here’s a link to the trailer, which will show you just what a delight this book is.
Availability: Readily available in hardcover.
Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”