Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!

Eats, Shoots  &  Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference!Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why, Commas Really Do Make a Difference! by Lynne Truss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lynne Truss has adapted her semi-famous book Eats, Shoots, & Leaves into three picture books (so far). What a great way to visually illustrate the impact punctuation has on the meaning of sentences! The rules really are quite simple and greatly enhance communication, and yet so many people screw them up constantly. This book puts the same sentence side by side on facing pages but changes the commas and uses illustrations to demonstrate the different meanings. Then at the end, there are two pages that give a little more info about the rules for each version of each sentence.

The only sentence pair I didn't like was the one with the squinting modifier about the boy & the duck: "Becky teased the boy with the fluffy duck./Becky teased the boy, with the fluffy duck." The second option just feels wrong to me. "With the fluffy duck" is a fragment. In real life, if I had to use that sentence, I probably would have rewritten it to say, "Becky used the fluffy duck to tease the boy." Surely Truss could have picked a better example?

Ah well, the rest of the examples are good. And readers young and old will enjoy the funny drawings by Bonnie Timmons. Readers will also enjoy Truss's other picture books, The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage Without Apostrophes! and Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, Every Punctuation Mark Counts!.

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