The Sign PainterFall 2000 Picture Books
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Allen Say
Illustrator: Allen Say
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Hardcover Price: $17.00
Review:Caldecott Medal winner Allen Say has a genius for revealing moving—even haunting—autobiographical snippets in picture-book form. Here he looks at a young artist, unquestionably himself, trying to find his place in the every-day world. We see him arriving in a small Western town and getting a job with a sign painter. Because he is an artist, the boy is able to provide the billboard-size woman’s face ordered by an unseen client for a dozen billboards. The sign painter and his able new assistant complete their mysterious task, the older man satisfied with having been well paid for their work, the younger one wiser for realizing that this is not his artist’s dream. Our last view is of the young man leaving the small town to seek his own future, uncertain both to him and the reader/viewer. Say’s newest work lingers in the memory and raises provocative questions about confronting choices as well as our inner selves.
Selma G. Lanes ©2000 Parents' Choice
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