Early Sign Language Series: Food Signs


The Review

Food Signs is a clear, easy-to-read board book that teaches common usage of ASL signs for 104 familiar foods, accompanied by colorful photographs.

Each page contains two foods with a photograph and an illustration. Each illustration has clear arrows to depict motion and direction of the sign. Some come with an additional caption. For instance, for the sign BANANA, the caption says, “Like peeling a real banana.” This is helpful for older children or adults. For signs with several motions (e.g., BANANA), there is a dotted hand marked ‘1’ indicating the first motion (the first peel) and an outlined hand marked ‘2’ indicating the second motion (the second peel).

While most of the signs are accurate, a few are either outdated or seem to be false. For example, BROCCOLI is signed similarly to plant but with the letter ‘B.’ These signs should either be updated or replaced with another food if they are typically fingerspelled. The facial expressions in the illustrations are monotonous and repetitive. Adding lip movements would make these illustrated signs seem more realistic.

The author, Stan Collins, intended for his books to be used in different settings by people of all ages. However, this book seems to be geared toward young children. Perhaps a paperback or hardcover version would make this more appealing to adults. 

Food Signs is a cute resource for deaf babies and toddlers as well as hearing children and adults who would like to learn basic sign language. As deaf toddlers age, the book can be used to discuss never-seen-before signs, which could lead to a discussion on regional signs. There are not many board books on food signs available, and this seems to be the most accessible of all.

In a nutshell:

  • Can be used in various settings and by a wide range of people
  • Easy-to-follow illustrations
  • Over 100 food signs
  • Some signs need to be updated
  • Only available in board book version

More Information

  • Book Review: Early Sign Language Series (Food Signs)
  • Publisher: Garlic Press
  • Author: Stan Collins
  • Board Book
  • Type: Dictionary/Vocabulary
  • Publication Date: 2002