The Upper Case: Trouble in Capital City

Disney-Hyperion. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368027656.
Gr 1-4–In this second title starring Private I, all of the uppercase letters—with the exception of our hero—have disappeared. “This was serious…If all the capital letters were gone, there’d be incomplete sentences dangling everywhere.” Private I tries to question Hyphen, Period, Ampersand, Apostrophe, and Comma, but they are all busy “dashing around,” stopping traffic, minding p’s and q’s, packing belongings, and listing chores, respectively. Only the Quotation Twins are available: “‘Yeah, something’s definitely up, besides us…But don’t quote us on that.’” Worst of all, I’s favorite waitress, B, never showed up at work that morning. A mysterious glow from an abandoned part of town finally rouses his attention. Following B’s trail of order slips, Private I discovers the missing letters trapped on a marquee, by none other than …Exclamation! “‘He promised to put us all in the movies…I always wanted to see my name in lights...Lock him up and throw away the keyboard!’” cries B. It turns out, poor Exclamation only wanted a little peace and quiet. “Capital letters are always calling me…They want me to join them. As if they’re not loud enough on their own!” I ties up the case and is reunited with his girl. Clever wordplay and MacDonald’s colorful retro illustrations add to the fun. The anthropomorphized letters and punctuation marks are accessorized with hats, shoes, ties, earrings, aprons, etc. Ampersand pushes her “p’s and q’s” in a double stroller, and the Grammar Police are represented by a pony-tailed Elements of Style and mustached Chicago Manual of Style.
VERDICT This lively introduction to punctuation belongs in every elementary classroom.

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