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The Case of the Incapacitated Capitals Hardcover – July 1, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Pulver and Reed add to their children's grammar franchise by teaching the rules of capitalization. Mr. Wright's students have stopped using uppercase letters (he alludes to texting as a possible cause), and so they have become weakened through underuse-"incapacitated." In the course of correcting a letter they have written to the principal, the students (and readers) learn all the ways that capital letters are used in properly written English. Reed's childlike gouache, acrylic, and collage illustrations are charming and feature speech bubbles of running commentary-always a hit with children, but a challenge for a read-aloud. Every capital letter in the text and speech bubbles is prominently featured in colored font. There are a couple of instances in which the author has chosen to use ellipses instead of starting a new sentence (so as to avoid an uppercase letter) and this could confuse readers. An addendum gives a history of capital letters, notes on correspondence, and a list of capitalization rules. An additional purchase for those libraries that circulate the series.-Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NCα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Mr. Wright’s students write a letter to cheer up their despondent teacher, but the idea backfires when they use no capital letters. “You’ve forgotten something important,” he prods them, noting that letter writing is different from texting. After a couple of lame guesses and an off-topic discussion of Mr. Wright’s childhood nickname, the now-fuming teacher informs them that certain words need to be capitalized. When the classroom’s capitals are found to be incapacitated (paramedics diagnose “a case of serious neglect”), the children learn their lesson, use the capitals properly, and earn a hilarious prize. Three appended pages explain why capital letters are called “uppercase,” show why each capital is used within a color-coded letter, and list some “useful rules” for capitalization. In the funniest picture book yet from Pulver and Reed’s Language Arts Library series, the students are well meaning, easily distracted, and not without cunning. Childlike acrylic paintings combine with digital elements to make the artwork vivid and colorful. From the conversations between uppercase and lowercase letters to the comedy within class discussions, it’s hard to read the story aloud without laughing, and the humor makes the lesson more likely to stick. A madcap grammar book for kids to enjoy. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
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