A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Gail E. Haley (A Story, a Story, The Post Office Cat).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Sterling North (1906â€“1974), Rascal.
- Birthday greetings to librarian and former First Lady Laura Bush, who established Washington D.C.â€™s annual National Book Festival in 2001.
- Poet T. S. Eliot wins the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948. Read Old Possumâ€™s Book of Practical Cats with illustrations by Edward Gorey.
- In honor of the tomb of Tutankhamunâ€™s discovery in Egyptâ€™s Valley of the Kings, itâ€™s King Tut Day.
This week has been designated World Communication Week to remind us that computer access has made worldwide communication possible. Even this blog, read around the globe, and my national and international friendships on Facebook and Twitter would not be possible without all the technological breakthroughs that have sustained the Internet. If Twitter were a country, it would be the twelfth largest in the world!
But when I think of communication, I usually focus on the building blocks upon which it restsâ€”words and punctuation. Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver and Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss and Bonnie Timmons have been the picture-book staples about the use and misuse of punctuation marks. But this year, picture-book Gurus Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld combined forces to give the exclamation point a starring role in its own drama.
In the bare-bones style that makes Rosenthal so special, we meet our hero: â€ś! He stood out from the very beginning.â€ť On paper that has been designed to resemble a childâ€™s notebook, readers are introduced to the difficulties the exclamation mark faces. He always stands out, except when asleep. He tries to be like others, but just isnâ€™t. He even considers running away. But then one day, he makes a fortuitous friend, a question markâ€”one who, true to its nature, asks questions all the time. Finally, our tortured hero finds his own voice, full of bold statements. As the text tells us, â€śHe broke free from a life sentence.â€ť
Clever and funny, the book, of course, explores a greater truth than the appropriate use of punctuation. For anyone trying to communicate, finding your own voice often does feel like breaking out of jail. The fact that Amy Krouse Rosenthal can make readers interested in such seemingly mundane topics as spoons, chopsticks, and a form of punctuation, attests to the power of her own unique voice.
However you mark World Communication Weekâ€”on the computer, on the typewriter, or on a yellow padâ€”I hope you celebrate your own inner voice. And if you simply want to laugh and enjoy a well-executed picture book, pick up Exclamation Mark.
Here’s a page from Exclamation Mark:Â
Originally posted November 4, 2013. Updated for .