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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 8 months, 4 weeks ago

2 May 2019: 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 joining 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 away. 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.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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