Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What If? Sign Off by Steven Savage

What do graphic signs do when the moon rises?

Swathed in darkness, with no built-in lighting, those familiar black-on-yellow caution signs--Deer Crossing, Tractor Crossing, Wheelchair Crossing, Children Playing, Men Working, School Zone--could take on a life of their own. Does the deer stretch for a nibble at the roadside trees? Does the farmer use his tractor to plow some new ground? Do the playing children swing higher under the moon? Do they rearrange the fulcrum of the seesaw to construct a clever catapult and propel the yellow circle from the red-yellow-green stoplight sign into the sky as a pro tem sun?

In a flight of creative fantasy author-illustrator Stephen Savage imagines what those iconic characters do when no one is watching. Author Savage shows how those classic black figures of the running boy, the scampering deer, and those laboring men take a break and socialize when they are off duty, while artist Savage's striking graphic figures break free of their boring yellow backgrounds. Wheelchair Guy slaloms over curvy car roofs and Men Working sculpt edifices with their shovels, while that trudging School Zone schoolboy plucks blooms for a pleased schoolgirl, and then, under a lovely lilac and lavender pre-dawn sky, all cooperate to help the sun rise.

In Steven Savage's newest, Sign Off (Simon and Schuster, 2019), his distinctive graphic style will serve to help introduce pre-emergent readers to road signs, while older youngsters will chuckle as those famous static images from familiar signs take on a life of their own. It's a tour de force of fancy and art, almost impossible to resist. "This is a must-buy for any elementary or juvenile collections," states School Library Journal.

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