Where Are the Words – Perfect Picture Book Friday

As a fan of writing, including punctuation and puns, I got the biggest kick out of:

When we first encounter our hero, Period, that little piece of punctuation is inspired:

Period asks Paper and Pencil for a little help, but then realizes:

Enter Question Mark, who decides to—what do you think Question Mark does?

I’ll give you time to think….

As we follow along, Question Mark continues to pester Period with questions. Enter Exclamation Point, saying:

“I want to help too!”

At this point, I have only one quibble with the text. Where is comma??? Where is that pause, when you want it?

The banter between the punctuation marks , including Quotation Marks, Parentheses, and Colon, as they search for and find words, is hilarious, punny and spiked with visual gags.

In the end, they write their story, but decide that something is still missing! What do you think it is? I’ll give you a clue. Pencil can provide the answer.

And while I’m on the topic of pictures, the illustrator, Denise Holmes, brings these inanimate punctuation marks to life in wonderful, anthropomorphic ways. I wish my photos did the colors justice, as they are much more saturated than can be seen here.

Read this book to a classroom of kids (or to just one), and I guarantee they’ll be inspired to fill their paper with stories, proper punctuation, and pictures. I would, however, ask them to identify and use that one pesky piece of punctation that’s missing from this book, the comma.

Happy Writing!

Title: Where Are the Words?

Author: Jodi McKay

Illustrator: Denise Holmes

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2016

Ages: K-3

22 thoughts on “Where Are the Words – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Lady Fancifull says:

    Well, just maybe this is one for us big ones too. Because punctuation seems to have gone feral, generally, I’m appalled that even those of us who learned the rules properly an age ago, founder. I’m speaking personally here, and as one with a degree in Eng. Lit – but I find myself gauche and tongue-tied, like some socially inept pre-teen, in the presence of semi-colons and colons. How do I make meaningful conversation with them…I just don’t know what to say!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Ah, yes, I believe semi-colons and colons should not be held responsible for their lack of user friendliness when it comes to conversation. And I believe your point about the feral qualities of punctuation, in general, is legitimate. What to do about all this? We cannot merely roll over and give in to the Tweeting down of communication. Perhaps mandatory re-reading of Strunk & White every year?

  2. Laura Fineberg Cooper says:

    Julianne: I love this review and look forward to reading the book. As a writer and ELA/SAT tutor, I spend a lot of time teaching punctuation. Boo boo about the missing comma! I’m such a fan of properly used commas and am thrilled to find a kindred spirit. I invite you to check out my post on Writer’s Rumpus called Commonly Confused Commas.

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