My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil
written and illustrated by Hanoch Piven
(Schwartz and Wade Books) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
A young girl's Grandma arrives for a visit and asks her granddaughter a zillion questions about school. Rather than give the standard answer (It's good), she uses similes and object art to tell her Grandma about school. The girl's teacher, Mrs. Jennings, talks in a voice "as sweet as candy" so the girl uses a piece of candy as the mouth for her object art portrait of Mrs. Jennings. My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil is full of these lively descriptions and hilarious object art portraits. What I really love about this book is this is an idea that students can replicate. I can see a class of students writing similes about the people in their lives and creating object art. Hanoch Piven's use of language is a terrific model for students to see how figurative language can create images in our minds and liven up our writing.
I also think there is an environmental lesson that could taught using this book. We stress recycling and object art would be a fun way to use items that might get thrown away. You could pair My Friend with Bag in the Wind or Here Comes the Garbage Barge! and have a discussion about landfills and how we can lessen the amount of trash we create.