KATIE COMMA by B.B. Swann

KATIE COMMA

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comma searches for her place in the wide classroom-world.

Whisked away by a breeze, a punctuation mark wearily laments a repeated refrain: “I’m Katie Comma. / I feel so alone. / I must start searching / to find my way home.” She hops into different books but is perfunctorily dismissed from the ends of sentences when there should respectively be a period, a question mark, and an exclamation mark (where the accurate punctuation has gone is never addressed). Finally, she “tumble[s] into the middle of a sentence” in the teacher’s book, which is conveniently open to instructions on when to use commas. This, at long last, is “where she belong[s].” No other examples of proper usage appear within the narrative before the final page of story text. The author’s note stresses the importance of the character’s determination and how that relates to readers more than it does grammar. Tracing Katie’s path via her footsteps may provide some extra amusement for young ones. The pictures’ straightforward, bold designs serve to reinforce the content. Katie and her comma family look like many anthropomorphized characters from grade school cartoons. Since the grammar instruction is so slight and other offerings much stronger, the book’s existential quandary rather mirrors Katie’s.

Belying its title, this uncomplicated journey of discovery barely scratches the grammatical surface. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4556-2461-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Pelican
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019