By Bethany Keeley, Chronicle Books, $14.95, 176 pages

10What hidden price must one pay for something marked “free”? “Fresh” salad bar? Not so appetizing after all. Food and ale, “not far”…means you’ll never find it in your lifetime! You’ll enjoy signs like these in Bethany Keeley’s The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.

The author illustrates the confusion caused by the common misuse of this tricky form of punctuation. Each funny entry is displayed in a color photo and includes a witty comment. To help readers understand the correct use of the quotation mark, the author outlines various accurate ways to punctuate with “ “, and then explains why a phrase becomes funny or filled with irony if the punctuation is incorrectly used.

This charmingly funny book both entertains and teaches us how to properly use the quotation mark. We also can finally understand how to humorously interpret signs like this: “We Care.” Tell us what you think of our restaurant. The truth? Please don’t leave a comment. “Live” lobsters…hmmmm. After reading Keeley’s book, you’ll find yourself hunting for examples of this punctuation phenomenon.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin