My Best Friend Is as Sharp as a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits

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Overview

Here's the perfect back-to-school gift for budding artists. Like the creator's previous picture book, My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks, this picture book encourages children to be creative and make their own object portraits. It's a fun activity for home or for the classroom. You can even check out portraits made by other readers in the "kids' gallery" of author Hanoch Piven's Web site, www.pivenworld.com—and while you're at it, send in your own!

Learn how to create a funny ...

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My Best Friend Is as Sharp as a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits

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Overview

Here's the perfect back-to-school gift for budding artists. Like the creator's previous picture book, My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks, this picture book encourages children to be creative and make their own object portraits. It's a fun activity for home or for the classroom. You can even check out portraits made by other readers in the "kids' gallery" of author Hanoch Piven's Web site, www.pivenworld.com—and while you're at it, send in your own!

Learn how to create a funny librarian, a colorful art teacher, or your best friend by seeing how one girl does it in this simple, playful picture book that's comprised of portraits made of objects. Once the girl has talked about—and drawn—the key figures in her school, she ends with the pièce de résistance—a class portrait!

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—When a girl's grandmother comes to visit, she is filled with questions about the child's teachers, friends, and school. Instead of simply answering, the girl decides to show her grandmother what she likes about the important people in her life. She gathers up piles of objects and then sorts through them to find representative objects and collages them into portraits. The girl's friend Jack, who is geographically inclined and "sharp as a pencil," ends up having globes for eyes, magnifying glasses for glasses, a microscope nose, and a pencil mouth. Her art teacher has an artist's palette for a face, wears mysterious dark glasses, sports a colorful Mohawk, and wields a paintbrush. The layout encourages a guessing game of sorts as the audience will wonder how and where each object will be incorporated in the portrait. This book is ideal for projects involving descriptive language. Readers can create their own portraits of friends and teachers using various objects and this book as a guide. Use it with Piven's What Presidents Are Made of (2004), What Athletes Are Made of (2006, both S & S), and My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks (Randon, 2007) for classroom or crafting activities.—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City
Publishers Weekly
This book’s narrator, sketched in charcoal, uses objects and similes to illustrate her answers to her grandmother’s questions about school. Mrs. Sheila, the librarian, is as “interesting as a book full of stories. When she reads them, her eyes shine like marbles.” There’s a photograph included for each object, and on the next page, Mrs. Sheila’s portrait is enhanced with the objects used to describe her (her eyes are indeed marbles). Other portraits include “Sofia (the wildest girl in my class),” whose smile is made from a string of jingle bells, and Mildred, the class turtle. Like its predecessor, My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks, this is a gleeful fusion of collage and figurative language. Ages 4–8. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
An exuberant and intriguing way to answer Grandma's questions about school. The young girl narrator starts with her teacher, whose voice is "as sweet as candy (except when she is very excited)" and who smells "lovely as flowers." These and other attributes of the teacher are illustrated with found objects: blue flower-shaped buttons, plastic letters, a piece of hard candy in a red wrapper. On the next page, against a bright, fuchsia background, there is a portrait of the teacher: Her face is a chalkboard, her mouth is that piece of candy, her hair is the jumble of letters and so on. The girl's best friend has a sharpened-pencil mouth and a plastic microscope for a nose. Each figure-including the librarian, the art teacher and Sofia, "the wildest girl in my class"-is created on a matte gouache background with body and features made of collaged photographic images of these familiar objects. Great, inventive fun. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375956294
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Hanoch Piven is the illustrator of several children's books, including My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks; What Presidents Are Made Of, a Child Magazine Best Book, a Parents' Choice Award recipient, and an ABA Kids' Pick of the List; and What Athletes Are Made Of. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and the New Yorker. Hanoch Piven received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his object portrait of Barbra Streisand, which appears on the cover of Faces: 78 Portraits from Madonna to the Pope.

Over the past five years, Hanoch has been giving "drawing with objects" workshops in the United States and abroad. He works in classrooms, hospitals (in art therapy programs), and museums. Learn more about him at www.pivenworld.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2013

    Funny book

    AWSOME

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Great book for kids like me,I'm 9 years old!

    Good book must read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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