Start reading My Best Friend Is As Sharp As a Pencil on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

My Best Friend Is As Sharp As a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits [Kindle Edition]

Hanoch Piven
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $10.00 (56%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $7.99  
Hardcover $14.06  
Kindle Delivers
Kindle Delivers
Subscribe to the Kindle Delivers monthly e-mail to find out about each month's Kindle book deals, new releases, editors' picks and more. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

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,—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.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This engaging book is similar to Piven’s My Dog Is as Smelly as Dirty Socks and Other Funny Family Portraits (2007). Vibrant portraits in words and realia-collage illustrations, purportedly created by the child narrator in anticipation of her grandmother’s inevitable questions about school, will delight readers. One double-page spread gives each new character’s traits, expressed in several verbal metaphors (e.g., “as jumpy as a million rubber bands”) and in photos of objects (such as 8 colored rubber bands). On the next spread, a painting incorporating those objects forms an eye-catching, idiosyncratic portrait. Grades K-3. --Carolyn Phelan

Product Details

  • File Size: 1271 KB
  • Print Length: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; 1 edition (February 23, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004KABE5G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review from September 8, 2010
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.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Hanoch Piven's My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil and Other Funny Classroom Portraits tells how to project the image of a funny librarian, a friend who is jumpy as a rubber band, and more, using everything from marbles to balloons. Kids interested in classroom characters and connections between word descriptions and images will find this a powerful pick.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Grandma was always asking questions about school like, "Who is your favorite teacher?" or "Who is your best friend?" It would be much easier to make portraits to show and tell about things that went on in school or people who were there. For example, when she asked about her teacher, Mrs. Jennings, she gathered up several items and began to work. There was a piece of candy to represent her sweet voice, a small red horn for her nose, letters because she was a marvelous speller, flower buttons because "she smells soooo lovely," and because she never missed a trick, a pair of glasses. Put them all together and you have Mrs. Jennings!

Her best friend Jack was easy. She needed a globe because he was great in geography, a pencil because he was sharp, a magnifying glass because he was so curious, and a microscope because he was "as precise" as one. Naturally, once everything was put together, it formed a perfect portrait of Jack. There were many other portraits to be made including, the librarian, (Shhhhhh!"), a favorite teacher, Sofia, the "wildest girl" in the class, and the class pet. If you can guess all the clues the little girl gives, perhaps you can guess what kind of pet it is.

This is a fun, ingenious book of classroom portraits that will encourage the young student to create their own. The reader will love the ingenuity of these creative portraits that utilize objects that characterize a person and are nicely blended to represent friends and teachers. If you go to Hanoch Piven's website, you will see many interesting, unusual portraits. There are several that were sent in by students. This is an ingenious book that would be a great addition to any homeschool or classroom shelves!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny August 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
That book was so funny all the figures of speech and the pictures at the end it was fun and silly all around
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars My kids LOVE this book! September 10, 2011
By yomo
My kids adore all of this author's work and this new one is no exception! I bring them into school for read-alouds and the children of the class plead for me to bring them back next time. His style inspires my kids to create their own portraits by finding objects that they find inside and outside. Can't say enough! Love it!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Found object art August 8, 2014
By Leah A.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ordered two of Hanoch Piven's art books after I saw an exhibit of his work. Fair price and fast delivery from Amazon! Wonderful illustrations with found objects and collage.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

The colorful and witty illustrations of Israeli illustrator Hanoch Piven have appeared throughout the last 20 years on both sides of the Atlantic: in most major American magazines and newspapers such as Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone and in many European publications from The London Times to the Swiss Die WeltWoche.

Piven's award winning book "What Presidents Are Made of" was elected by Time Magazine as one of the 10 Best Children's Books of 2004.
Several illustrations from that book are in the permanent collection of the Prints and Photographs Division of The Library of Congress in Washington DC.
Piven has published 6 other children's books in the USA, the latest being "My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil" (Schwartz and Wade, Random House - 2010) and "Let's Make Faces" (Atheneum - Simon and Schuster - 2013)

In Israel, Piven has gained great visibility due to his long time collaboration with the daily Haaretz and through his TV show on the pre-K channel HOP TV and on the Education Channel.

His method has been implemented educators in Israel as a means to help develop creativity amongst children.


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category