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Reviewed by JB McPherson for Readers' Favorite
Meet My Famous Friends by Rich Disilvio is a delightful series of images that combines facts about famous people with their iconic portraits, cleverly modified to create puns on their names. Over two dozen famous friends are featured, and the roll call is a sweeping review of some of the most influential authors, artists, musicians, scientists, activists and rulers in western civilization.
This book is perfect for punsters and know-it-all twelve-year-olds (I have one) who scoop up not only the plays-on-words in the illustrations, but also the puns in the text. Disilvio chooses some of the most interesting people in history, like Mark Twain and Vincent Van Gogh, to create a book that entertains and informs. It might even stimulate further research by young people who are first introduced to these famous friends through the engaging illustrations.
Some of the puns are rather irreverent, like Queen ELizardbreath I and Sergei Procoughiev, which means this picture book is actually more in tune with teens and adults rather than the early elementary children who read picture books. On the other hand, Disilvio delivers solid educational value for teens. I could imagine individual pages being hung in classrooms and libraries because they provide interesting cultural reminders for young people.
My favorite quote from the book is: “So, let’s drink to imagination, because I believe it’s more important than knowledge.” Disilvio has the rare talent of combining rich artwork with cultural literacy to create flights of imagination. Meet My Famous Friends is a book that will inspire young people and the young at heart to make new friends in history!