cover image The Signmaker's Assistant

The Signmaker's Assistant

Tedd Arnold. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1010-8

When young Norman, assistant to the town's respected signmaker, paints a few unorthodox signs of his own, he generates hilarious havoc in this larky picture book. For this lad's handiwork--unlike his mentor's, which conveys such sensible information as where to eat and when to stop--mischievously proclaims ``No school today,'' ``Stop, ants crossing'' and ``Buy Norman a present.'' And the townsfolk, accustomed to obeying signs dutifully, follow instructions. The author/illustrator of No Jumping on the Bed! and Ollie Forgot here presents an escapade certain to tickle funnybones: What child could resist the sight of grown-ups blithely obeying a ``Knock Heads'' sign, or cars following a detour marker through a house , of all places? In Arnold's exuberant artwork--perhaps his finest to date--William Joyce meets Richard Egielski with scintillating results. Both the frenetic commotion and the urban calm before and after the storm are expressively depicted in luminous, crisply outlined colors. The signmaker's work itself is smartly designed; indeed, style and verve mark the entire enterprise. Ages 4-8. (May)