Punctuation Takes a Vacation
Illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed
Oh no! Mr. Wright's class can't believe it. Every single punctuation mark in the classroom has gone on vacation! What will it be like without question marks, apostrophes, periods, and commas?
It wont be easy thats for sure says Mr Wright
Children's Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection (a dual selection with Nouns and Verbs Have a Field Day)
-Starred Review, SLJ
Full NYTimes Review by Patricia T. O'Conner:
As the book opens, the hard-working punctuation marks on Mr. Wright's blackboard perform their thankless tasks day after day without complaining. Then one hot, sticky day, the teacher gives them a vacation. Periods, commas, exclamation points, question marks, colons, apostrophes and quotation marks fly out of the classroom and head for Take-a-Break Lake (''where the water is as clear as a well-punctuated sentence''). When the children come back from recess, of course, nothing they read or write makes sense, not even the eagerly awaited next chapter of their favorite book, ''Ace Scooper, Dog Detective.'' Finally they borrow some disobedient punctuation from Mr. Rongo's class next door and write a contrite message: ''We, will, never? take punctuation for! granted again. Wont you please come back before 10 00 on Friday:'' The vacationers return, tanned and rested, and all is forgiven.
Pulver, the author of the ''Mrs. Toggle'' books, gives each punctuation mark its own personality. The quotation marks can't stop talking, the colons are always telling time, and the exclamation points stand on their heads in excitement. A helpful listing at the end (''Punctuation Rules!'') summarizes everybody's job. And Lynn Rowe Reed's childlike acrylic paintings perfectly capture the mood of whimsical fantasy. Try to imagine a bikini-clad comma on water skis.
It all started with an image that came to me in my light sleep: an image of a sweet little comma, wrapped in a shawl, sitting halfway up the stairs, waiting for me.
I decided the comma was waiting for me to write a story about punctuation. It took me 3 years of struggling to figure out how to do that. This book doesn't have a comma wrapped in a shawl, but it does have a comma wearing a bikini!