I love puns and punctuation, and this book is the perfect combination of the two: it’s clever, funny, adorable, and full of endless opportunities for discovery within its pages. It’s one of those books that parents will read and love as much as their children will.
Our hero, exclamation mark, just doesn’t fit in. He finds himself constantly out of place in a sea of periods, and attempts to be the same in all sorts of uncomfortable ways (like trying to erase the long line that comes from the top of his head by squeezing himself into a tiny ball). Then, he meets question mark and learns that he has a unique—and really cool—job to do at the end of a sentence. Exclamation Mark manages to be both a concept book and a fantastic story about self-discovery, which makes it absolutely delightful to read! It also got a starred review from Kirkus this year, which certainly doesn’t hurt its status as great new picture book.
This book is all about celebrating one’s differences, and it celebrates the quirky exclamation mark in a charming and very clever way. It’s full of wonderful lines like “But he just wasn’t like everyone else. Period.” Exclamation Mark is beautifully simple in both writing and illustration, which is what makes it so satisfying to read. Readers follow exclamation mark from dejected and different to ecstatic as he finds out that his friends, the periods, didn’t doubt him for an instant. What I love about this book is that it follows the natural progression of a child learning about punctuation, which will make it quite entertaining–and funny–as kids discover the small visual and verbal puns on each page.
The authors, Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, are a great team. We have Duck! Rabbit! by the two, and we have Shark vs. Train (illustrated by Lichtenheld), and favourites Chopsticks, and Plant a Kiss (Rosenthal), to name a few. As for Exclamation Mark, this charming little book is definitely worth the read.