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Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference! Hardcover – July 25, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3–Truss's picture-book version of her adult bestseller tackles the topic of commas and what can go wrong when they are misused. The title is derived from an old joke in which a panda misunderstands correct panda behavior after reading a poorly punctuated wildlife guide. Versions of two identically worded sentences are presented side by side, demonstrating the difference in meaning achieved when a comma is added or subtracted. Timmons's humorous watercolor cartoons bring the point home. In one spread, the sentence on the left (Look at that huge hot dog!) is illustrated with a gigantic sausage, while that on the right (Look at that huge, hot dog!) shows a tall, sweltering canine. The author cleverly selects examples with the potential for comical (and grammatically correct) revisions. Endnotes elaborate on comma usage in more technical terms. While a title on grammar may need hand selling, both read-aloud audiences and independent readers will discover the potent possibilities of punctuation. More specific than Robin Pulver's Punctuation Takes a Vacation (Holiday House, 2003), Truss's work is sure to spark creative assignments in elementary composition curriculums.–Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
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Among popular nonfiction titles for adults adapted for younger audiences, this picture book based on Truss' 2004 best-seller about punctuation may be a surprise, considering most kids' indifference to the topic. Yet it proves very effective, thanks to entertaining repackaging that narrows the original's broad purview to the comma, and focuses on cartoonist Timmons' interpretations of humorous comma-related goofs akin to the one referenced by the title (the punchline of an old joke about a panda, here set in a library rather than a bar). While dissolving into giggles over the change in meaning between "Eat here, and get gas," or "Eat here and get gas" (likely to be the most popular of the 14 sentence pairs given), children will find themselves gaining an instinctive understanding of the "traffic signals of language," even without the concluding spread explaining the whys and wherefores. This is a no-brainer for language arts class, but also recommend it to fans of Jon Agee's books of palindromes, William Steig's delightful alphabet rebuses, or introductory grammar books by Brian Cleary. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved