Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil


It seems like children have already headed back to school this week in many states, though not here in Michigan.  We start back after Labor Day so we can snatch those last few tourism dollars. Even still, we are still being hit with back to school fever, hitting the school supply sales for fifteen cents notebooks and quarter glue sticks. Hanoch Piven puts those school supplies to use in a whole new fashion, making up all sorts of funny classroom portraits.    

The main character of this book, a little girl, grows a bit weary of her grandma's incessant questions about school.  Instead of giving the same old boring answers, she decides to spice it up a bit with some unique homemade illustrations.  She gathers up all sorts of supplies from around the house that exemplify the people in her life. 

On each page, she answers one of her grandma's questions by describing who she will be illustrating by naming their characteristics and laying out the supplies she will be using. With a flip of a page, we see the assembled creation!  We loved looking at the finished projects and noting where she used each piece.  Magnifying glasses become eyeglasses, a handful of colored pencils are transformed into a wild hairstyle, and walnuts form a turtle shell. 

This is the sort of book that strikes me as being incredibly clever. Kids can learn how to apply descriptive adjectives - happy as a balloon, graceful as a ballet slipper, etc, to the people in their own lives.  Plus, there is a great use of color, so the outcome is a really happy, imaginative type of book.  We loved it! 

But when the author's previous book was "My Dog is as Smelly as Socks" - we knew to expect good things. Hanoch Piven has received countless portraits from classrooms all over the world that have been inspired by his collage portraits.  His artwork has appeared in the New York times, Entertainment Weekly, and Rolling Stone.

Review copy provided by Random House.


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