A Show of Hands

a show of hands cover

A Show of Hands: Say it in Sign Language
Sullivan and Bourke

Submitter: We’re a mid-size Canadian public library with quite a big collections budget, so heaven only knows why we still had this ancient and hilarious book when we have much newer (and less inadvertently hilarious and awful) ones! It also had a spine label done on a type-writer, which is how I initially found it—I scan the shelves for those babies!

Holly: The signs on the pages are for the days of the week. I don’t really get it, though. It takes her a week to get out a sneeze? She sneezes every day of the week? WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE??


a choosy week calendar

days of the week

more days of the week for sign language

days of the week sneezing

who me?

more sign language santa indian priest





  1. I still have this book in my personal library. It was on an episode of Reading Rainbow so it’s even got the “A Reading Rainbow Book” on the cover.

    1. Oh, BTW, it’s not that it takes her a week to sneeze. It’s an old rhyme –

      Sneeze on Monday, sneeze for danger.
      Sneeze on Tuesday, kiss a stranger.
      Sneeze on Wednesday, sneeze for a letter.
      Sneeze on Thursday, something better.
      Sneeze on Friday, sneeze for woe.
      Sneeze on Saturday, a journey to go.
      Sneeze on Sunday, your safety seek—for Satan will have you for the rest of the week!

  2. This reminds me of a bad assembly at a school where I used to teach. There was this hippy dippy couple who did canned assemblies for elementary schools. Well, we had a deaf student with an accompanying interpreter. The assembly included some basic signing to go with the lyrics to their songs. After the assembly, the interpreter asked where the woman learned the sign language for the presentation. Had she taken classes? No, she learned it all from a book. That explained why the deaf girl had a look of shock on her face at one point. The woman had signed that MLKing had a vagina. She thought she was using the sign for the earth Then there is the signing that meant riding a donkey when she meant to sign riding a bus.

  3. I learned some sign language years ago in a class and I thought the girl who was holding back her sneeze was starting to sign “red” as in Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Or had a friend named Rudolph – which is similar, IIRC…

  4. Oh my goodness, I remember reading through this book as a kid. While I didn’t retain much of it, it DID teach me the alphabet…which I performed at show/tell in kindergarten.

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