Sunday, January 14, 2007

What Athletes are Made Of

What Athletes are Made Of by Hanoch Piven, 2006

This book shares "fun facts" about 23 sports personalities. The portraits of each athlete in this collection are created with a collage of toys, objects and illustration. Piven's book is equal parts nonfiction and "I Spy" fun.

Using an odd assortment of objects, he accurately captures each athlete's appearance and comments on their personality and abilities. David Beckham, recently in the news, is captured with gold glitz hair, referee whistle eyes and a bottle of pink nail polish for a nose. The amazing assembly looks just like him. Interesting facts about the sports figures are included in the paragraph on the page and a "Did you know" fact crawl across the bottom.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, of long jump fame, is created with hinged measuring sticks for arms and legs and "leap frog" toys as her feet. Joe DiMaggio is featured as a baseball card, his eyelids are Marilyn Monroe coin keepers and his eyes are a single rose bud. Baseball bats are his eyebrows and his mouth is a classic Greek column (class act, DiMaggio, never talked about his marriage to Monroe.)

Baseball, football, soccer, Olympic champions, Formula I, Nascar, and golf are all represented. One of my favorite portraits is Lance Armstrong, His nose is a bicycle seat, bike gears at the top of his head show the mental workout of the Tour de France (souvineer Tour Eiffel in the background) and a bike chain mirrors the lines on his forehead. His mouth is a "Live Strong" bracelet.

Words do not do the book justice. I can imagine showing this book to a class with an Elmo so they can all see the detail in each portrait. Educators are always looking for material to engage higher level thinking, right? Well, here you go.


Elaine Magliaro said...

I read your review of WHAT ATHLETES ARE MADE OF the other day.
The cover caught my eye when I was at my favorite children's book shop today--thanks to having seen it on your blog. The illustrations are cleverly done! I love the one of Lance Armstrong--and the ones of Babe Ruth with a hot dog for a mouth and Muhammad Ali with a bullhorn mouth. Love Andre Agassi's long hair, too! Hanochi Piven is an inventive artist indeed! Of course, I had to add the book to my collection. Thanks for your review.

Camille said...

I think he was so clever the way he used items to represent the athletes personalities! Thank for letting me know!