Semicolons, Cupcakes, and Cucumbers by Steve Newberry

Grammar doesn't have to be boring. 

Introduce common punctuation marks to your kids with this silly book -- and grab a free printable to use for a related activity, too!

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I received a free copy of this product from Innovation Press in exchange for writing a review.  All opinions are my own.

As a former elementary school teacher, I naturally have a small collection of grammar-themed books. Several of these books attempt to tackle the subject of punctuation in a fun way, but they all look like failures when compared to this new little gem:

This is the story of four friends.

Period's the serious one, Question Mark is always confused, Exclamation Point is hyped-up on caffeine all the time, and Comma's brain can't get past the breakfast table each day.

You connect with these guys immediately from their descriptions!

All this selfish thinking creates plenty of problems for these buddies and almost breaks the party up for good, until a newcomer arrives to show them how much better life can be when they all work together.

I love the shifty eyes on the period -- so much personality in these little guys!

This book is loads of fun -- the minimalistic illustrations allow the characters to ooze personality and are the perfect vehicle for a book on grammar.

A trampoline backdrop is the ideal activity to showcase these guys' personality!

I love how the silly story keeps young readers engaged, but demonstrates proper use of these punctuation marks at the same time.

See the speech bubbles? The punctuation marks in them match the colors of the speakers, making it easy to see them in use!

Each turn of the page will have your kids giggling.

Food. It's all about food with this guy. He cracked us up!

And as if the fun examples throughout the book weren't enough, at the end is a special 4-page section to reiterate the rules for each punctuation mark along with additional examples. 

Even this little "lesson" at the end is fun!

I wish I'd had this book back when I was still in the classroom, because it would have been the perfect way to introduce these special marks to my students.

I would have loved to extend things with a few fun activities. I'll still have the opportunity to try them out with Gv when she gets a tad older, but my favorite idea would be so much more effective with a passel of kids.

The idea is to glue the characters onto simple headbands for the students and then have them use the text of this book for a reader's theater performance.

Just print this page out onto card stock, cut out the characters, & glue or staple them onto paper headbands. Voila! Instant punctuation costume! Get your printable for FREE here!

This idea could even be taken further by doing a "talk show" with the kids, where an interviewer asks the panel (again, the students wearing the character headbands as a costume) questions about their story of how they came to know this semicolon fellow. Be sure the children answer with the proper inflection for each character.

I would have totally done this with my class. It would have been easy to break the kids into groups, let them each choose a character, and then create videos of this "show" to share on our class website!

Maybe I can still try this with Gv by having her just be one character at a time and then interview her myself.

Of course the first character she wanted to play was the period, because "he likes books!"

This book is a wonderful addition to your personal (or class) library. It is definitely my new favorite title to use when introducing punctuation marks to young learners!

Grab your own copy of the book here and have a blast with these punctuation pals!

Do you dread tackling the subject of grammar with your kids? This book will help -- plus, don't you just love the reader's theater or talk show idea for an extension? I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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