Sharon Reads: Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Exclamation Mark is a picturebook written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (a favorite of mine) and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. The exclamation mark stands out, no matter what he does or where he goes. He would really like to be more like everyone else, but he is just too different. Finally a friend shows him that being different is a good thing, and that he has endless potential. It is his differences that make him special, make him wonderful, and gives him his abilities. I know I have gone through moments (or years) where I thought I had to twist myself to fit other’s expectations to some degree, and I think that everyone regardless of age can remember going through it as well.

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Exclamation Mark


Exclamation Mark seems like a simple enough story, but like in Little Pea, Spoon and Chopsticks, we see that it can be the simple things that can really change us. I highly recommend Exclamation Mark to everyone. That’s right, everyone. I also recommend taking a peek at Rosenthal’s other books and enjoying the combination of a simple of the story with the impact larger concepts hidden in that story. Liking yourself and being yourself is something that readers of all ages might need to learn, and be reminded of on a regular basis. This book can help with that, and make you smile about it the whole time.

An Unexpected Picturebook

Just about everyone has heard of, read, or watched the movie adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. Now this celebrated author has teamed up with Jon Klassen, the author and illustrator of This is Not My Hat to create a unique new picturebook called The Dark.

The Dark is a fabulous picturebook that deals with a very common fe[Cover]ar. Laszlo is a young boy who is afraid of the dark. In his house the dark is alive, but usually stays in the basement. One night it comes to Laszlo’s room, but not to scare him. Laszlo follows the dark and finds nothing that he needs to fear. I really enjoyed the simple economy of text, and the illustrations that give the words and the dark life throughout the story. This might be just the tool to help some children overcome their fear of the dark, however the notion of the dark as a sentient being might just freak out some children a little bit.

I highly recommend The Dark to those that enjoy picturebooks, and those that enjoy the slightly twisted writings of Lemony Snicket. It would work well read at home and in a storytime or classroom setting. The story and illustrations are simplistic, but carry some extra power because of that, rather than seeming to lack because of it.