The Sign Painter by Allen Say - 2000 First Edition - Vintage Child Book, Caldecott Medal Author

Sorry, this item has sold.

First edition of The Sign Painter by Allen Say. A sign painter and young new employee receive a curious commission to paint a series of billboards across the desert, creating tension between the young artist's idealism and practical reality.

Written and illustrated by Allen Say. 2000, first edition, first printing. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston. Walter Lorraine Books.

Allen Say (1937 - ) is a Caldecott Award-winning children's book author and artist admired for his quiet but powerful story-telling and poignant artwork.

A young man steps off a train into a dusty town with only a backpack and his talent and finds a job as a sign painter. His employer recognizes his talent and idealism but encourages the practical reality of doing the job they're asked to do. Like the one that drives up and hands them a curious commission: paint a series of billboards across the desert with a picture of a blonde woman and one word, ArrowStar. The billboards lead them to an immense roller coaster and a city, both built on top of isolated mesas. The visionary developer of the project represents the conflict between artistic vision and practical reality. Ultimately, the young artist chooses to follow his own vision.

Other books by Allen Say:

The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice

Grandfather's Journey - Caldecott Award, first edition
Visit for more first edition children's books.

Condition*: Near Fine/Fine. The previous child owner wrote his last name on the front endpaper, and there's a very faint finger mark on the front and back of the cloth coverboards.

Shipping from United States

Processing time

1-3 business days

Estimated shipping times

  • Australia : 1 - 3 business days
  • United States : 1 - 3 business days
  • North America : 1 - 3 business days
  • Europe : 1 - 3 business days
  • Australia, New Zealand and Oceania : 1 - 3 business days
  • Asia Pacific : 1 - 3 business days
  • Latin America and the Caribbean : 1 - 3 business days
  • North Africa and the Middle East : 1 - 3 business days
  • Sub-Saharan Africa : 1 - 3 business days

I'll do my best to meet these shipping estimates, but can't guarantee them. Actual delivery time will depend on the shipping method you choose.

Customs and import taxes

Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

Payment Options

Secure options
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards

Returns & Exchanges

I gladly accept returns and exchanges

Just contact me within: 7 days of delivery

Ship items back to me within: 14 days of delivery

I don't accept cancellations

But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

Conditions of return

Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

Privacy policy

* I will not share your personal information acquired in the process of communicating with you or fulfilling your order with third parties.
* I will contact you only through Etsy or an email address you provide to answer your questions, convey information about your order, and share news exclusive to The Charmed Bookshop.
* In placing your order, please use an active email address to ensure that I can get in touch with you about your order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gift wrapping and packaging

I wrap every book with care and ship it in a padded mailing envelope or sturdy box. If you're purchasing a gift, please advise when ordering and include a gift message.

Care instructions

1. I lightly clean books, as needed, but I don't attempt repairs or restoration. If you'd like a book restored, you'll find trustworthy, qualified experts in your area through libraries or museums.

I also recommend the following care instructions.

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works -

2. Photos are cropped and resized to Etsy guidelines but are otherwise unedited. Please contact me if you'd like additional photos of book details.

3. Descriptions of condition are based on guidelines from the Independent Online Booksellers' Association.

Order processing time

I'll process and ship your purchase in 1 - 3 business days, and I'll ship anywhere in the world via any mail or delivery service that Etsy offers. (Please refer to the Shipping section for average shipping turn-around times by region.) If I encounter any delays in processing your order, I will advise you in advance.