Runaway Signs

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Jun. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399172250.
K-Gr 2–Along the streets that run by Sunnyside school, the signs are different. They might look the same as those of other towns, but these have a life of their own. Near Sunnyside, the two silhouetted children on the sign audibly tell children to ”cross here” each day. But as school ends for the year, it’s clear that their help has been ignored. There’s no “thanks,” no “goodbye” for the summer—leaving them puzzled. “I feel kind of underappreciated, don’t you?” Minutes later, they decide no one would miss them and it would be a great time to take a long, much-needed vacation. With a leap off their sign, they find other town signs to join them: signs for Bike Path, Street Crossing, Animal Crossing, Dangerous Turn, Roadwork, and Detour. Town streets revealed in gouache and ink illustrations wind across the pages, turning into roads crossing country bridges, while characters from the signs stand in black silhouette in contrast to the colors of nearby Adventureland amusement park. Many jump at the chance to leave their “work” and take a ride on a ferris wheel that gives them a panoramic view of the town library, school, streets—and the posts they left. Realizing that the town was now “in a tangle,” the signs all rush back to their stations.
VERDICT A suggested general purchase for all libraries, this title gives young readers a detailed look at common street signs with an inventive story to highlight their importance.

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