Belinda Ellis. Punctuation Mark, Scholastic (NZ) 2014 unpaged $19.50pbk ISBN 987-1-77543-184-8
This quirky picture book is a wonderful resource for every primary school teacher who teaches middle school children punctuation as part of written language. It is clever, informative and, believe it or not, funny! The idea of teaching punctuation (everything from brackets to colons and hyphens to emoticons) through the power of story is clever. Young Mark is a quirky character too who is passionate about writing and punctuation and when the teacher says that “punctuation saves lives” and demonstrates this, we as readers are taken on an informative journey about how punctuation can make a difference to what a text means. Do you know that parents like parentheses? You can see now what I mean when I say (with apologies to Lewis Carrol) that this book is a fun play with words and language. The illustrations carry much of the pleasure of the text as the play with font, word games, and shape add much humour to the “story”. Teacher notes can be found on the Scholastic NZ website. Recommended.
reviewed by John McKenzie