Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: 'Meet My Famous Friends' by Rich DiSilvio

New York author Rich DiSilvio, a man as committed to music, art, philosophy and sociology as informed by the fine arts, has previously takes periods of history with all of the fascinating changes, discoveries, triumphs and failures and by introducing some fictional enhancements within the stage setting of this era makes it far more credible. And in DiSilvio's handling of the parallel or concurrent unraveling of historical events with those of the textbook rigidity of his main Titans books he provided not only keen insight but also pauses for the inclusion of the arts, so often ignored by other historical writers.

Now Rich moves in a novel direction – still erudite regarding history and famous people and what made them famous – but now he addresses youngsters in a novel manner of teaching history that is as successful as book informing adults.

He welcomes young minds in the opening page – ‘The journey begins with the inimitable Mark Train. What better way to start this journey than with the witty wordsmith himself? As you continue through this visual feast... wait! Scratch that. I did say I was not offering you any food in the Contents, and I don’t wish to mislead you. So, again, I state: There is no food or feast in this book, just imaginative eye candy. Oops! There I go again. It’s actually quite hard to avoid mentioning food while describing this journey. Mark Train begins this fascinating journey of introducing you to My Famous Friends. Although I have many other famous friends that didn’t make it into this book, all of these special friends have made great contributions to mankind in one form or another, and I at least managed to fit some of them within this edition. So despite their whimsical appearances or peculiar settings, do realize that beyond the smiles and laughter they may arouse are luminous souls that have indeed offered Western civilization enormous contributions that deserve our attention. So if adding a little humor to the mix to get people to stop in their tracks (how do you like the reference to train tracks?) to contemplate these people, then I’m hoping that’s a noble goal…’

By combining art and a keen sense of humor Rich – in full color images and short but pungent quips – introduces Mark Train, Michelanjello, Martin Luther Kingpin Jr., Franz List (with is list of inventions!), Edgar A. Poet, Lionardo da Vinci, Amelia Airheart, Giacomo Poochini, Susan Bee Anthony, Carrotvaggio, Queen Victrolia, Vincent van Goat, Madame Curious, Albert Eine-Stein, Eleanor Rosevelt, George WashingMachine, Queen Elizardbreath, Hippopotamus Bosch, Ronald Raygun, Salvador Dolly, Thomas Edisun, Harriet Tubwoman, Sergei Procoughiev and more and more.

At book’s end Rich lists all the famous people cartoonized with their real names and dates, just to honor and clarify the friends in the book. This is a brilliant combination of photographs, art, creative manipulation of life facts and fame with funny twists of names. Not only will children grow to respect history and the famous one of the past, but they will appreciated the creative approach the very fine Rich DiSilvio shares. Highly recommended on every level. Grady Harp, April 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.