Friday, October 24, 2014

Exclamation Mark - a book review

Punctuation Marks
The period is a busy man.
A small round traffic cop. 
He blocks the helter-skelter words 
And brings them to a stop. 

The question mark's a tiny girl, 
She's small but very wise; 
She asks too many questions 
For a person of her size. 

Of all the punctuation folk, 
I like the comma best. 
For when I'm getting out of breath 
He lets me take a rest. 

Quotation marks are curious. 
When friendly talk begins 
You'll always find these little marks 
Are busy listening in. 

The exclamation mark's an elf, 
Who is easily excited. 
When children laugh or cry or scream 
It's then he's most delighted. 

Whenever you come to the end of a thought,
You sign it off with a polka dot.

Today's featured book:

Title: Exclamation Mark

Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Illustrator:  Tom Lichtenheld

Let's take a peek inside shall we?

About the book:

Exclamation Mark is a sweet picture book about a punctuation symbol that cannot find his place in the grammar world.  No matter what he does or where he goes he feels he is a misfit.  He bends and contorts and tries to blend in like everyone else but to no avail.  He is just too different from the others around him, causing him great anxiety, confusion and stress.  Why?  Why can't he be like everyone else and have purpose and meaning in his life? 

He befriends the Question Mark who can only (you guessed it) ask questions.  Finally getting overwhelmed by the constant barrage of rapid-fired questions he yells, "Stop!" With that one word his whole world comes into focus and he discovers why he is created and why he is important to the word world around him. His difference offers Exclamation Mark the potential to be exciting, wonderful, and expressive.  "He broke free from his life sentence."

Question Mark found his voice because the world IS full of bold statements and exclamations!  This clever, humorous book teaches you to like yourself, be yourself and be proud of who you are. This splendid and important metaphor is for anyone who feels they don't fit in.  No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go are important and you belong.  Go shout it from the rooftops...... "I am me! I am significant! Period!"

About the author:  

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a person who likes to make things. Some things she likes to make:
Children's books.
Grown-up books.
Short videos.
Connections with the universe.
Something out of nothing.
According to The New York Times, Amy's award-winning children's books "radiate fun the way tulips radiate spring: they are elegant and spirit-lifting."
As for her adult work, Amazon named ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE one of the top 10 memoirs of the decade. She is also the creator of a specialty line of keepsake journals.
Her viral videos include THE BECKONING OF LOVELY, THE KINDNESS THOUGHT BUBBLE, and THE MONEY TREE. You can also find the videos of her three TEDx talks online.
In the summer of 2013, she embarked on a year-long project to create and launch a new website every Wednesday (

About the illustrator:

I've always loved to draw pictures and make up stories, and I've been lucky enough to make a living by using my imagination for over 25 years.
My earliest childhood memory is of sitting in the kitchen, drawing pictures of ships and trucks on a blackboard. I also remember spending hours staring at the illustrations in National Geographic and thinking how wonderful it would be to be one of the people who got to make all those incredible pictures.
My venture into children's books was a happy accident. It happened like this:
Back in 1995 I got a letter from my nephew Adam, who LOVED pirates, asking me to draw him a picture of a pirate. I sat down at my drawing board to draw a few pirates and ended up creating 20 pages of silly pictures and nonsense about pirates. It was enough to fill a book, so that's what I did. I called it Everything I Know About Pirates. I sent it off to my nephew and saved a copy for myself. After four years of submitting the idea to editors, it was accepted by Simon & Schuster and published in 2000.
The question I hear most often from readers is "Where do you get your ideas?" I get ideas by keeping my eyes and ears open, especially when I'm around kids. Then I try to see things as a child would and write from their perspective. I always write with a specific child in mind, as if we're just having a fun conversation. I try to remember how smart kids are, which is why my books also appeal to older kids and adults.
For inspiration, I have a bunch of photos of kids on my wall. Whenever I'm stuck for an idea, I look at one of those photographs and think to myself, "What would make THAT kid laugh?"
My books start out as rough doodles. An entire book can come from a simple observation and one drawing. For instance, What Are You So Grumpy About? was inspired by a grumpy guy I was sitting next to on an airplane. I did a few doodles on the spot, sitting next to Mr. Grumpypants, and they eventually became a book.
My illustrations are done in watercolor and colored pencil. The first step is pencil sketches, then I create black line art and print it on watercolor paper. (It's kind of like a home-made coloring book!) Then I paint a layer of watercolor and build up the shapes with colored pencils. I get a lot of help from our cats, who lay on my pencils, my drawings, my hands and anything else that puts them in the way of what I'm trying to do.
I couldn't do any of this without my wonderful wife, Jan. She helps edit my ideas and often comes up with ideas for the endings for my books, which is the hardest part. She also helps keep me organized and on schedule. Thank you, Jan!
Until I come up with a better one, that's my story. Thanks for your support..

Book Review Rating:  9 (Close to perfection!)

Read on and read always.

"The way you live each day is a sentence in the story of your life.  Every day, you make the choice whether the sentence ends with a period, a question mark, or exclamation point."

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