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Rosenthal and Lichtenheld (the team behind Duck! Rabbit! and other titles) give punctuation personalities in this witty calligraphic jaunt. Against a background of lined penmanship paper, an exclamation mark realizes he differs from his neighbors, a neat row of periods. Like them, he consists of a smiley face drawn in swooshes of expressive black ink, but above his head stands a resolute vertical dash. He twists and curls his topper to no avail, until-"Hello? Who are you?"-an inquisitive question mark appears. Bothered by the newcomer's incessant queries ("When's your birthday? Know any good jokes?"), the hero bellows a spread-shaking "Stop!" and discovers his talent for assertions, from "Hi!" to "Wow!" and "Look what I can do!" Thanks to savvy design, the exclamation mark's announcements are printed in different sizes and colors to subtly indicate emphasis and tone, yet the mark never meets others like himself and therefore never suffers from overuse. With a restraint that's more declaratory than exclamatory, Rosenthal and Lichtenheld cleverly raise awareness of the ways punctuation conveys mood. Ages 4-8. Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency, (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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Gr 1-5-Through a perfect pairing of clever design and tongue-in-cheek humor, Rosenthal and Lichtenheld effectively demonstrate the function of the exclamation mark (as well as the period and question mark) in this tale about a depressed punctuation mark that just doesn't fit in. On an unadorned backdrop of lined paper, several periods and one exclamation mark are lined up in a row. Clearly, he stands out in a crowd. Like Elmer in David McKee's classic tale, the exclamation mark struggles with his difference and tries to blend in. When the downcast punctuation meets a question mark who overwhelms him with inquiries, our hero finally finds his voice and tells the other to "Stop!" From there, he builds his confidence in making declarative statements and leaves the group "to make his mark." Rosenthal shines in her play on words ("It was like he broke free from a life sentence"). Lichtenheld's minimalist style is deceivingly simple; a curlicue or crumpled line, combined with an amazingly impressive circle with eyes and a mouth, is all that's needed to convey emotion when the exclamation mark is "confused, flummoxed, and deflated." This fun-to-read tale will find a ready home in language-arts lessons, reminding burgeoning elementary-age writers which punctuation personality belongs in which type of sentence-without the tedium that accompanies traditional grammar lessons. This one is a must-have!!!-Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, Farmington Hills, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* From the dynamic team that brought you Duck! Rabbit! (2009) comes this introduction to the most exuberant punctuation mark of all: the exclamation point. At first, !, a round circle with a face, doesn't like standing out in a crowd; in a line-up of seven smiling faces, which look like period marks, he's the only one with a line above his head. ! tries clever ways to fit in (flipping himself upside down, thereby squashing his tail) and even thinks about running away, until he meets a formidable force: the question mark. After a barrage of questions from ? ( Do you like frogs? Can you hula-hoop? ), ! finds his voice and tells him to STOP! From there, !'s confidence begins to grow and, soon, there's no stopping his unbridled joy. The spare, clever illustrations all round, black-outlined punctuation marks with faces are set on the kind of thick-lined paper kindergarteners use, and the overall design effect is lovely. The text is similarly simple, but a change in the size and color of the font signifies important moments. With the celebrating-your-strengths angle, fun grammar lesson, and many classroom tie-in possibilities, this picture book deserves a !!!.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist