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
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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