While I thoroughly enjoyed doing my first book review last month, I've been thinking for a while about a slightly different type of review, centered around the visuals of a picture book based on a single spread, the "perfect pages" of each book that capture the essence of the book. I will do my best not to include spoiler pages.
So I will start with a bang! ...or an exclamation!
Book: Exclamation Mark
Author: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Scholastic Press
There was only one possible choice for me when I read this book. While the entire book is sheer genius in its simplicity of design and complexity of concept, I need not go further than the title page--excuse me, title SPREAD--to find my perfect pages. You can't not love an 18-inch exclamation mark! This is honed simplicity at its finest, and it is carried on through the entire book, to the very last page that you won't want to miss.
The author-illustrator duo uses a make-the-rules/break-the-rules placement of both words and pictures to ensure that the reader vividly experiences exactly what the characters experience as the story grows. This is a story teaching both punctuation and individuality in a boldly visual way. Parents can happily read it to their children knowing that it is educational as well as it is fun!