Sunday, February 3, 2013

! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

56 p. Scholastic Inc., March 13, 2013. 9780545436793. Reviewed from arc obtained at ALAMW.

Poor exlamation mark, hm-m, should that be capitalized? It is, after all his name. Sadly, this isn't the punctuation dealt with in this darling new collaboration brought to us by the genius team that created Duck! Rabbit! (A book I somehow never reviewed but which I feature frequently in my "never too old for picture books" display. I even had a poster for the book. Come to think of it, I wonder where it got to after my library renovation? I digress yet again.)

Exclamation mark stands out everywhere he goes, except when he's asleep. No matter what he tries to do to fit in, "he just wasn't like everyone else........Period." 

He felt a myriad of emotions and thought about running away (hysterical illustration for this one btw) until he meets...

Question mark! Oops, ?

Question mark peppers him with, wait for it,... lots of questions! So many questions, as a matter of fact, that exclamation mark loses it and yells, "STOP!"

"He didn't know he had it in him."

Question mark helped exclamation mark find himself! The possibilities were endless!! He shared his news with his friends, period. Question mark asks them, "Isn't he something?"

They replied, "There was never any question in our minds."


This is a must purchase folks! It's a no-brainer for elementary school libraries, but middle school libraries would do well to purchase it and school librarians should hand it over to LA teachers to spice up a lesson on punctuation. (They should also take a gander at Lichtenheld's E-Mergency!) Personally, I'm getting one for my home library as well. It's just ingenious from its design, short and wide, with, oh, what's that paper called when it's ruled with the dotted line? Ack! Can't come up with it. It's funny. It's punny. It's endearing. It's a must purchase!!!! Do the extra exclamation marks help?

I fell in love with the book when I viewed the Scholastic Librarian preview. Click on the link at right to the Picture book preview. It's the first book featured, but listen to the entire preview anyway. There are some great books in the pipeline from Scholastic. 

I found an arc at the Scholastic booth and grabbed it. Then, I was thrilled to learn that the Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld were going to speak at the preview that I was invited to attend. There were amazing snacks and terrific original art arranged on easels all around the room to view while munching. 

Then, we listened to Sharon Dennis Wyeth read from her touching book, The Granddaughter Necklace, followed by Stephen Savage's hysterical take on the perils of sequels while describing his own sequel, with Lauren Thomson, to  Polar Bear Night, Polar Bear Morning

Amy and Tom finished the presentation with a wonderfully choreographed presentation about the evolution of the book. Near the end, Tom showed a slide of a cool bulletin board created by an elementary school principal who read an arc and loved it. I was just thinking, "Isn't that clever," when he added the name of this principal and I realized that I knew the guy! He was vice-principal at the elementary school in the district where I work. He was about to switch schools and come to mine, when he was offered a principal position in a nearby school, where, ironically, all the librarians were let go. He is heroically trying to fill the void.

I just had to share this "six degrees of separation" moment with the authors, so I made my way to the front of the room to share this excitement. Unfortunately, by the time I went to claim one of Scholastic's famous red gift bags, They. Were. All. Gone! I was told to email my woes to them. Fingers crossed because the bag contained finished copies of the speakers' books. Squee! I can't wait to share these gems. I will most likely send the Polar Bear book to the elementary school, but the other two fit in quite nicely into my middle school library. There was a rumor that I, Too, am America was in the bag as well.

I am a bit perplexed as to how they ran out though... crashers or greedy folks? Let it go, bk. Don't let it spoil all the excitement about the entire event, which was da bomb.

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