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


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My Best Friend Is As Sharp As a Pencil: And Other Funny Classroom Portraits + My Dog Is As Smelly As Dirty Socks: And Other Funny Family Portraits + You're Toast and Other Metaphors We Adore (Ways to Say It)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375853383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375853388
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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.

Website: www.pivenworld.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Put them all together and you have Mrs. Jennings!
D. Fowler
Plus, there is a great use of color, so the outcome is a really happy, imaginative type of book.
www.firrkids.com
This is a great book to use for teaching students about similes in a very creative way.
Elizabeth T Pruett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By www.firrkids.com on September 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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!
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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By Jax on February 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great for teaching similes! My class enjoyed it. Illustrations were perfect.
Will use year after year. Happy with purchase. Get it.
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By Pauline C. on 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
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