About the Holiday
Founded in 2004 by Jeff Rubin, National Punctuation Day promotes the correct usage of all those little marks that make reading clearer and more meaningful. Do you ever wonder just how to use the ; and what’s the real difference between – and —? It can all get a little confusing. But misplaced or misused punctuation can result in some pretty funny mistakes—or some serious misinterpretations. Whether you love punctuation, would like to understand it better, or just use it to make emojis, today’s holiday will make you : – ). To find information on the day, resources for using punctuation correctly, and a fun contest to enter, visit Jeff Rubin’s National Punctuation Day website.
Thanks to Sleeping Bear Press for sending me a copy of The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar for review consideration. All opinions on the book are my own.
The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar
Written by Leslie Kimmelman | Illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Afraid you’ll never find a grammar guide that’s effective, hilarious, and that kids will want to read just for the fun of it? Your search is over! The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar is packed with rules on punctuation, contractions, possessives, capitalization, tricky homophones, and more all explained with laugh-out-loud example sentences and milk-snorting illustrations.
Leslie Kimmelman introduces each type of grammar with sound and clear descriptions that will help children to understand what its purpose is and to recognize it when reading and writing on their own. She follows this up with sentences full of puns and macabre situations that will tickle kids’ funny bones. Mary Sullivan then does an outstanding job of reinforcing the lesson with her community of monsters, zombies, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and kids interacting in funny, spellbinding illustrations. Her typography calls out the particular punctuation mark or words of the lesson in red.
Here are two excerpts to show what I mean:
“Commas are tricky. They have many jobs. Just like periods they can tell you when to pause, but they come in the middle of a sentence, not at the end. Commas can separate items in a list.”
Example sentences include these:
To demonstrate the series comma: A ghost standing in line at the school cafeteria complains about that day’s lunch offering: “Oh boo! Brains, guts, and blood again.”
To show the importance of correctly placed commas: “Vanessa Vampire loves cooking, her parents, and her baby sister. Uh-oh! Without commas, Vanessa’s family is in big trouble!” How big? Vanessa’s shown stirring up a boiling vat of family stew. The ingredients? “Vanessa Vampire loves cooking her parents and her baby sister.”
About Contractions and Possessives
“Contractions are two words shortened and combined with an apostrophe to make one word. The apostrophe takes the place of a letter or two. / Possessives use apostrophes, too. But they have a different job to do. They show ownership. Where you put the apostrophe can make a big difference.”
Example sentences with accompanying illustrations include these:
A little green ghoul is sitting on his bed eating popcorn and surrounded by trash, bugs, and open bureau drawers: “Ghoul’s really gross bedroom. (The room belongs to just one ghoul.)” And the same room, now occupied by seven ghouls: “Ghouls’ really gross bedroom. (Many ghouls share this bedroom.)”
Featured contractions and possessives also show up in the discussions of tricky pairs and homophones, which include “It’s and Its,” “Who’s and Whose,” and “They’re, There, and Their” – a triple-threat that gets a two-page spread of a graveyard dance, where enthusiastic onlookers exclaim, “They’re doing the tombstone tango,” while two newcomers shout, “There they are!” and “Their tango is terrific!” The definitions of these three words read: “They’re is a contraction meaning they are. / There means at that place. / Their is possessive, meaning it belongs to them.”
A short quiz at the end asks the reader to find the one sentence out of four that has no mistakes – a fun way for kids to show what they’ve learned.
It’s hard to overstate how comprehensive, captivating, and educational The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar is for its target audience, whether the reader is an avid grammarian or struggles with the rules. Leslie Kimmelman knows how kids learn and what makes them laugh, and Mary Sullivan uses her cartoon-style art to create eye-popping spreads that will get kids lingering to catch all the ghastly details while they soak up the lesson. In addition the text and illustrations on each page can easily be used by teachers, homeschoolers, parents, and other educators as prompts for extended writing practice to reinforce the rules of grammar. The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar is a must for home, classroom, school, and public library collections.
Ages 5 – 8 and up
Sleeping Bear Press, 2021 | ISBN 978-1534110953
You can find an Activity Guide for The Ghouls’ Guide to Good Grammar on the Sleeping Bear Press Website here.
Discover more about Leslie Kimmelman and her books on her website.
To learn more about Mary Sullivan, her books, and her art, visit her website.
National Punctuation Day Activity
Pick Out the Punctuation! Word Search
Have fun finding the twelve types of punctuation in this printable puzzle!
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