A Sign

A Sign

by George Ella Lyon, Chris K. Soentpiet

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lyon's (Dream Place) lyrical, autobiographical poem and Soentpiet's (Peacebound Trains) glowing paintings unfold quietly, articulating with deft simplicity the complex relationship between an artist's childhood dreams and adult achievements. Using three extended metaphors, Lyon tells of her childhood ambitionsfirst, to be a maker of neon signs like her neighbor, "each letter buzzing, beautiful," then to be a tight-rope walker who can "work the silver line./ So high/ so strong/ each step/ her life/ in the balance," and finally to be an astronaut who blasts off "writing a road to the stars." Though the choice of the cover painting is a bit uninspired, Soentpiet's interior watercolors are splendid recreations of small town scenes in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as dazzling circus lights and the black-and-white view via a television screen of Alan Shepherd's launch into space. The book initially appears to be simply a nostalgic look back, until Lyons expands on her three childhood aspirations and, with great simplicity, shows readers how elements of each have influenced her as a writer. Both Soentpiet's shimmering depiction of flickering stars in the vast rosy darkness and Lyon's musical poem glow with beauty and a hopeful message for readers that dreams really can come true. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Shalini Murthy
As a child, George Ella Lyon dreamed of making neon signs when she grew up, just like her neighbor did. When she saw the circus, she dreamed of being a tightrope walker. When she saw a rocket take Alan Shephard to space, she dreamed of doing the same. All these dreams helped her become the successful author she is today. In this autobiographical picture book, the author pays tribute to the power of dreams. Through the power of her words, George Ella Lyon captures for the reader the magic of dreams. Soentpiet's brilliant watercolors echo the magic of the words. This book is an excellent addition to any child's bookshelf as an enduring reminder that one's dreams can shape what one becomes.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3A child sees her future in signs. First comes the glowing neons made by neighbor Leon. She will be a sign maker. As she grows older, other things seem to distract her from this initial vision. She visits a circus and wants to become a tight rope walker. She sees a rocket launch and wants to be an astronaut. What is her fate? She is a writer, making words glow like the neon, balancing them on the high wire, and sending them out like a rocket to the hearts of her readers. Soentpiet's realistic watercolors are suffused with light and bring this very brief autobiographical essay to colorful life.Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Lyon (Counting on the Woods, p. 115, etc.) writes of all the things she wanted to do or to be when she was a child, attempting to bring those youthful ambitions together to account for the career she ultimately chose. The miraculous colors and curves of neon signs, the old- fashioned thrill of tightrope-walking, and the modern marvel of space exploration are all part of Lyon's childhood dreams: to make the signs, walk the line, and ride a rocket to the moon. Soentpiet's illustrations of young George Ella are laden with nostalgic scenes from America 40 years ago. The setting leaps precipitously forward to an illustration that is startling in its frank modernity after the more tender evocations of the past: Lyon in the present, staring out at readers from her computer, where she tries "to make words glow," to "put one word in front of the other," and "hope the story won't fall," etc. These comparisons between the art of writing and those long-ago wishes may be patently linked for her, but are more tenuous for readers. Those who love Lyon's books will have a too-brief glimpse of her childhood; those seeking a lesson about finding one's purpose will find that and nothing more. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.39(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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