Richie’s Picks: SIGN OFF by Stephen Savage, Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, May 2019, 56p., ISBN: 978-1-5344-1210-1
“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
-- Five Man Electrical Band (1971)
SIGN OFF is an jaw-droppingly clever picture book. It stars the black silhouette characters that we see everyday on street signs while traveling along public roads and highways. The story features the silhouette characters freeing themselves from their respective signs, engaging in the activities denoted by their signs, and then join forces to achieve a brilliant goal.
Thus, a silhouetted, antlered deer liberates himself from his caution sign to reach up and browse on the tree above the sign. A silhouetted farmer-on-a-tractor abandons his sign and begins cultivating the adjoining field. A wheelchair-bound stick figure on a restricted parking sign bounces off of the hood of a car as he wheels off. The silhouette of a running child on a “SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY” sign launches himself onto a swing before easing on down the road. The stick figure with a shovel featured on an orange construction caution sign hops down and builds quite a nifty sand castle before moving on.
The action builds as more and more silhouetted sign characters free themselves. Then, all of the figures merge into a line and head up a hill toward a sign depicting a traffic light. There, the characters join into an acrobatic pyramid formation in order to liberate the yellow circle from the traffic light sign. They then set up a catapult (utilizing a silhouetted see-saw), and successfully launch the yellow circle upward, which brings morning to their world.
The story concludes with a euphoric celebration and a march of the silhouetted characters back down the hill.
Man, oh man, this is such a novel idea, and Stephen Savage’s illustrations perfectly highlight the action. Getting to experience this one really made my day. I’m sure I’ll be recalling it for quite a while when I pass my own local street signs.
56 pages 978-1-5344-1210-1 Ages 4-7
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
See more of Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.
******** From award-winning author-illustrator Stephen Savage comes a playful wordless picture book about what the figures on road signs do when no one is around!
What do the figures on signs do when no one is watching? Under cover of night, they leave their signs to play and collaborate in this imaginative story by celebrated author-illustrator Stephen Savage.