From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Filled with plays on words and similes, this delightful offering will encourage children's creativity. The narrator makes a line drawing of her family but explains that it doesn't do them justice. "And what about this drawing of my mom? Sorry, but it doesn't tell the whole story. My mommy is as soft as the softest FLUFF and as bright as the brightest LIGHT." This section ends, "That's my yummy mommy!" The gouache-and-watercolor illustrations are embellished with glued-on objects like a lightbulb for a nose, a croissant for a mouth, and a boa for hair, in this case on Mom. The pictures support the text and add to the subtext. The book ends with an invitation to readers to create images of their families. Younger children will enjoy the story, but older kids will love the nuances, the opportunity for individuality, and the challenge of portraying their own relatives in this style. An author's note describes a workshop that Piven conducted for children hospitalized with cancer; their wonderful creations adorn the endpapers.—Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA
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In his previous books, author-illustrator Piven created portraits of presidents and famous athletes with found objects. In this book, the portraits are of a fictional family, including their dog, Schmutz. Objects here stand in for physical characteristics tied to the similes used to describe each family member. Dad is as "jumpy as a spring," "as playful as a spinning top," etc. Poor Schmutz is as "stinky as one onion" (pictured as his tail), "as nasty as canned fish" (his front paws), "as icky as pepperoni" (his snout), and so forth. The final two pages show objects children might use to make their own family portraits. Childlike line drawings are paired with the more creative portraits, in which representational objects are glued on gouache-and-watercolor backgrounds to make the figures. Children will get caught up in this playful, fun, creative, and easy-to-do art concept and will want to follow through with their own creations. Randall EnosCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved