Inspired by a classroom election, punctuation marks decide to run for office in this picture book.
It’s the start of a new school year, and Miss Marks tells her students that they’ll begin by choosing a class president: “We’ll have a campaign and an election just like our country does every four years.” The kids decide on some important presidential qualities—strong leadership, kindness, and intelligence, for example—and the class nominates Bridget and Noah. Looking on, the punctuation marks think it would be fun to have their own election, so they convene in the coat closet. Apostrophe nominates Exclamation Point for his power and confidence (“I will be the best President ever!!!”) and Comma backs Question Mark (“Do you really believe in my leadership?”). The marks notice that the children’s campaign signs, lacking the proper punctuation, are confusing, so they quickly vote and return to the classroom; the corrected signs now make sense. Two final notes explain more about punctuation and democracy. By anthropomorphizing punctuation marks and linking them to the election drama, Reed (Thomas Turkey’s Terrible Tricks, 2017, etc.) is able to make a rather dry subject entertaining and fun, giving each mark an appropriate personality. The period, for example, is fussy and likes to put a stop to things: “Let’s stop the madness. Now.” The author’s faux-naïve illustrations, showing both humans and marks in a range of skin shades, are bright and fairly bounce off the page.
Solid information presented with humor and energy.