Books by Hanoch Piven

LET'S MAKE FACES by Hanoch Piven
Released: Aug. 6, 2013

"He closes with a spread containing seven more tips to get preschoolers started, the most important of which may be to 'play, play, play!' This whimsical exercise is also a great lesson in reuse and recycling. (Picture book. 3-6)"
The author/artist of several books of portraits made from found objects provides a lesson in how to see and make faces using child-friendly materials found in the junk drawer and elsewhere. Read full book review >
Released: May 11, 2010

An exuberant and intriguing way to answer Grandma's questions about school. The young girl narrator starts with her teacher, whose voice is "as sweet as candy (except when she is very excited)" and who smells "lovely as flowers." These and other attributes of the teacher are illustrated with found objects: blue flower-shaped buttons, plastic letters, a piece of hard candy in a red wrapper. On the next page, against a bright, fuchsia background, there is a portrait of the teacher: Her face is a chalkboard, her mouth is that piece of candy, her hair is the jumble of letters and so on. The girl's best friend has a sharpened-pencil mouth and a plastic microscope for a nose. Each figure—including the librarian, the art teacher and Sofia, "the wildest girl in my class"—is created on a matte gouache background with body and features made of collaged photographic images of these familiar objects. Great, inventive fun. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
Released: May 8, 2007

Pairing similes both verbal and visual, a child characterizes each member of her family—"My daddy is as jumpy as a SPRING and as playful as a SPINNING TOP. He is as fun as a PARTY FAVOR. But sometimes he's as stubborn as a KNOT in a ROPE"—then presents a paint-and-collage portrait in which each named object is incorporated as a facial or other feature. Freer of the strained cleverness that hobbles his What Presidents Are Made Of (2004) and What Athletes Are Made Of (2006), this is more likely to draw a young audience, and Piven includes both starter lists ("Things that say ‘smart': ruler, numbers, owl") and endpaper galleries of examples as enticements for children to create portraits of their own. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2006

Piven follows up What Presidents Are Made Of (2004) with an equally quirky gallery of athlete portraits made from buttons, gears, plastic miniatures and other found items attached to painted backgrounds. He links his 23 choices, most of whom are still active, or at least living, with the titular theme. Athletes are made of "Flash and Dash" (David Beckham), "Tough Stuff" (Joe Namath), "Big Mouths" (Muhammad Ali), "Funny Habits" (Michael Jordan)—and for he each adds an introductory paragraph and a factoid or two, backed up by further stats or records with thumbnail photos at the end. Though the portraits are too stylized to be recognizable on their own, and several text blocks are semi-legibly printed on dark backgrounds, seeing David Beckham's face formed by whistles for eyes and a bottle of pink nail polish (which he's been known to wear) for a nose, or a hot dog standing in for Babe Ruth's mouth and a funnel for Muhammad Ali's may draw chuckles from easily amused viewers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2004

Piven makes presidents, Walter Wick-style, from assemblages of small toys, jelly beans, plastic ears, cutlery, American flag pins, dismembered doll limbs, and other found objects, creating 16 caricatures that riff on Presidential foibles or backgrounds. The combative Andy Jackson's nose, for instance, is a boxing glove; Jimmy Carter's, a pair of peanuts; and the current Bush sports a hot dog (for his baseball connection) beneath broken-bun brows. Piven captions each head shot with a brief anecdote or Presidential bon mot. Capped by a complete gallery of thumbnail-sized official portraits, this helps to put human faces on many of our Chief Executives, though it's neither as richly detailed, nor as politically balanced, as Judith St. George's So You Want to Be President!, illustrated with Caldecott-winning art by David Small (2000). (source list) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

The intriguing cover of a bluebird composed of scissors forming head and beak, two fish forks serving as legs that support an intensely blue painted banana that makes the body, grabs attention and stages the visual game here. A feather poking him in the head awakens a boy. In rhyme, various creatures want the feather each for a different use: the bluebird needs it for a wing; the catty cat to look chic; the ant for a boat sail; an owl for a pen. After a porcupine, centipede, dog, and tiger, last is a tick that uses the feather to tickle an elephant's nose, which sneezes the feather out into the night. The photographs of three-dimensional collages created from found objects are playful: the centipede body's a wooden comb; the owl is made up of computer motherboards; many tools and metal objects form the critters. Originally published in Israel, the story provides the vehicle for the creative artwork. The lines of text in different colors contrast with the dark backgrounds. The gimmick that wraps it up is a purple feather that is enclosed in an envelope inside the book, inviting children to follow their feather on a journey that is bound to tickle their curiosity. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >