Review of It’s a Sign!

It’s a Sign!It’s a Sign! [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!]
by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems
Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.   g
5/22    978-1-368-07584-8    $10.99

Fox-like animal friends One and Two, art supplies in hand, are working together to create “a sign for our new club!” Two more friends appear on the scene, contributing ideas, offering encouragement, and engaging in wordplay (including some decodable phonics). Membership is booming—and the sign’s real estate increasing—but what actually is the club? The Pumphrey brothers, whose picture books (The Old Truck, rev. 3/20; The Old Boat, rev. 3/21) are so beautifully evocative and contemplative, here show off their sillier side, as befitting an Elephant & Piggie ­spinoff series entry. Color-coded, all-speech-bubble banter is snappily enjoyable and easy to comprehend, culminating in a very humorous, word-centric, twist ending. The art, made from “hand-cut foam stamps and colored digitally,” features subdued hues (goldenrods and raspberries, with soft-blue backgrounds and lots of white space) and eye-pleasingly simple shapes. The friends are individuals, with unique colors and markings (including the number of splotches on their bushy tails), but united in enthusiasm for being together, creating art, and sharing their expertise. For example, One can’t yet read but can sure fold a mean paper hat!

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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