It’s A Sign by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

Mo Willems is a staple in our household, so when I (belatedly) discovered that he had an imprint called Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! I knew I had to check it out. More importantly, I had to check it out with my kids. Jms grew up on Knuffle Bunny, while Joseph had always seemed more partial to Elephant and Piggie (tho that latter might have been because he wanted to read more about trumpet players like Jms, who took the instrument up for a year in fourth grade.)

It’s A Sign begins and ends with short (and hilarious!) vignettes featuring Elephant and Piggie, with a cameo from Pigeon at the end. The book itself is about four friends who decide to start a club but run into various sorts of trouble naming it. Each of the friends has a strength, however, that they can all combine to this purpose. Perhaps they can even… find a sign as to what they ought to do next?

I read this first with Jms, and he and I fell about with laughter at the lighthearted antics depicted here, even if Jms did precede his appreciation with a “Dad jokes!” proclamation. To which I said, “Excuse me, Mom jokes, too!” Joseph was insistent on reading the book himself out loud, but I had to read the book to Theo in order to engage him with it. Not the fault of this very entertaining book, which even Theo admitted was “okay good” when I asked him whether the story was okay or good. He’s a fairly reluctant reader to begin with, alas.

But Jms, Joseph and I really enjoyed it. The jokes were funny for all of us, with adorable, tho fairly minimalist, illustrations perfectly underscoring the script and emotions. The sixty or so pages are also a perfect length for young readers, and the E&P bookends are a terrific way to get Willems’ fans into something new. As a grown-up (who is, coincidentally, baby stepping her way through learning a foreign language,) I really appreciated the sneaky way in which beginner-to-intermediate language skills were introduced, as well as the brief, humorous biography of the Pumphrey brothers who wrote and illustrated this.

This is a terrific picture book for advancing readers wanting a quick, lighthearted read that rewards revisiting. I read it once with each kid and was tickled every single time. I’m so very glad I was able to pick this up at ALAAC2022.

It’s A Sign by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey was published May 10 2022 by Hyperion Books for Children and is available from all good booksellers, including

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