! (exclamation mark) — Perfect Picture Book Friday

9780545436793_xlgTitle:     !

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.”


  1. I tend to enjoy using ! so I suppose reading a fun book about it would be awesome! (see what I mean lol!!)

    1. I use ! a lot, too, Angela. I think you’d enjoy this book!

  2. I’ve enjoyed Ms. Rosenthal’s other books. Thanks for pointing out her new title, Beth! (had to use one)

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book, too! (Just can’t help using them!)

  3. Amy has written a very creative book! It’s entertaining but loads of fun! And Lichtenheld’s illustrations are perfect for the book. Excellent collaboration between Amy and Tom. Nice choice.

    1. Loads of fun, and a great message sneaked in. Thanks, Pat!

  4. GAH! I passed this book by an hour ago at the bookstore! I’ll catch it next time. We always played Punctuation Sounds when I was a teacher. The kids loved making up their own sounds for each mark. The exclamation point was the best!

    1. Genevieve, I love hearing that you played Punctuation Sounds with the kids in your class! You will love this book.

  5. Great find. Amy does come up with some cracking topics, which she so cleverly weaves into great picture books.

    1. She does indeed. What an incredible imagination that woman has!

  6. I use them a lot too. Great looking book.

    1. Thanks, Catherine!

  7. This book is brilliant and perfect for someone who’s been struggling with her own copy editing challenges this week. 🙂

    1. Perfect for us all, I’d say, Julie! 🙂

  8. My husband talks about Victor’s routine often. Hilarious!

    1. I loved that Phonetic Punctuation!

  9. What a great book to go along with your new venture! I am all about exclamation marks! I’ll have to find this book! Thanks!

    1. You’re going to love this book, Rhythm! Thanks!

  10. I’ve been meaning to read ! !!! I like the trailer! WOO!!!

    1. You’ll love it, Erik!!!!

  11. This looks terrific, Beth. Proof once again that the team of Rosenthal and Lichtenheld can do no wrong! 🙂 All those rules you hear about not writing picture books about inanimate objects? AKR is my go-to example of how to make those stories work! Thanks so much for adding this one to our list!

    1. AKR is an amazing writer! Thanks, Susanna!

  12. I love anything Amy writes. She’s so original. Love this one as I use ! a lot, too.

    1. She’s incredible. This is yet another great book from her marvelous imagination.

  13. I’ve wanted to read this one. Thanks for all the links and ideas!

    1. You’re welcome! Enjoy the book!

  14. I read this over the summer. Outstanding choice! I was very surprised by its cleverness and originality.

    1. AKR is so good at coming at things from a totally different direction. Glad you enjoyed the book, too!

  15. I love all of her books! She’s a genius!

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