Meet My Famous Friends

Non-Fiction - Humor/Comedy
36 Pages
Reviewed on 01/08/2017
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Author Biography

Rich DiSilvio is an author/artist of YA/Children's books and an award-winning author of adult non-fiction and novels.

His recent foray into the YA/Children's market has yielded "Meet My Famous Friends," and "Danny and the DreamWeaver," the latter being penned under the pseudonym Mark Poe, paying homage to two great American authors, Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe.

His YA/Children's books combine wit and humor with subtle messages that inspire and stimulate young minds to think differently, investigate further, and inevitably expand their horizons.

    Book Review

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!


This book is a humorous look at many famous people throughout history, with a play on names and words. A wide range of famous people are covered in this book, from George Washington to Hieronymus Bosch, Amelia Earhart to Marie Curie.

There were a few names I didn't even know myself. My nine-year old daughter read this book with me and got a kick out of the pictures and illustrations. She is in the third grade but reads above grade level; however, this was her first introduction to most of the famous people in this book as sadly, they do not push history in the lower grade levels of elementary school. She's very curious and wanted to know more about some of the people mentioned in this book, so we looked them up on the internet to learn more about them.

"Meet My Famous Friends" is a good introduction to a variety of famous people and their contributions to society. The book is witty, and the colorful illustrations help keep kids' attention. This is a fun book to read and educational as well.


The kids loved it and so did I! It's an educational book about famous people, but it's done with lots of fun pictures and written carefully to make it exciting! Would highly recommend it for your grade school kids or nieces or nephews!

Vicki Goodwin

This book is a clever book which makes you think while snickering at the pun-like names. I love a good pun, so I was in hog heaven. I liked how he told facts with a dash of humor and cleverness. I am going to check out more of his books to see if the same humor is as prevalent in them.

From the silly names he gives the famous people to the imagery he uses to convey those names, he had me laughing all through the book. Poe, Einstein, MLK were all treated with history and humor. I loved it.

Sharing this book with my grandchildren. They can learn facts, and giggle too. Some of my favorite historically famous people were included. Excellent book for children of all ages.

Carol Flythe

I thought this was a very fun and clever way to teach children about those who helped make our world what it is today. The book covers artists, scientists and some royalty. The illustrations keep it fun as well and I thought it was very creative.

The names that the author chose to help make it fun are also quite creative and he does include their actual names at the end of the book. I actually learned a few new names myself that I don’t remember learning in school so it was a learning experience for me as well as my son.

My son asked me to read it to him at least two more times so it is great for younger kids. This would also be good for those who homeschool or teachers as an additional way to help teach history and offer kids a chance to learn in a fun way.

Pearl Angeli

I’ve delved into this children’s book without any idea what I am getting myself into. Surprisingly, I found myself enjoying it immensely. This children’s book introduces the famous iconic figures in the world in a cool, fun, and creative way. I applaud the author for being able to come up with this idea which I think would really entertain not just the children but also the people of all ages.

“Meet My Famous Friends” does not only introduce famous personalities but also the things that they have contributed to the world. I love how the sentences were constructed. They are simple and easy to understand. Aside from that, the pictures are hilarious and eye-catching. They certainly attract everyone’s attention. This work of art such a fun creation. Very informational and certainly useful. Reading this book will not just give you entertainment but it also gives additional knowledge. I would never hesitate to recommend this to my friends, especially those have children.


Who says this is a children’s book… no way, it’s as interesting for the adult as for a child. That’s my opinion.

A picture comic with inspiration and 27 characters (representing the most famous person in history) to remember is how I describe the book. It is informative, creative, challenging with trivia facts, humorous, entertaining, varied characters and brings smile to face. You can read it over and over again and will learn something new.

Nice job by the author- a unique style!

Scarlett Jensen

I want young and old to join in this adventurous short pictorial and clever journey, this creative artist takes us with his writing and imaginative genius while he explores the depths of his art with words. He takes historical persons of fame in the field of literature, music, culture, art, politics, science and illuminates the inventions and their work or status of fame adresses that with interesting descriptions.

And despite their whimsical appearances or peculiar settings, in which the characters are featured page by page, we do realize that beyond the smiles and laughter, his work may arouse the luminous souls for what they have indeed offered the Western civilization in the form of enormous contributions that deserve our attention.

The author says: "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. Additionally, as Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Meanwhile, Steve Jobs asked us to think differently and indeed we must.

Nothing new and inventive can materialize without the human imagination, and this book celebrates that. Well, it looks like Mark’s train is steaming along, so time to hop aboard and move on down the line. Enjoy the ride, and let your imagination loose!

At the end of the book the author gives a list of the characters ' true name and lifetime, that is to get the historical facts correct and demonstrate the actual twist he gave to this work of art.


Meet My Famous Friends is a sort of small encyclopedia of famous personalities. Every page contains a single personality with pictures and a little bit of description.

The names are twisted a bit, but, the information is short, true and delivered in an engaging manner. It could easily be presented to kids to develop their knowledge of people and their works. The little learners would have absolutely no difficulty in learning about these personalities since they are written in such funny and engaging manner.

Kate S.

This is a short and really funny book! I enjoyed the names of the characters (I mean how did you come up with MichaelanJello?!).

This was a really enjoyable read, and the characters (although they have their names slightly changed) such as Lionardo Da Vinci (has a lion's head) or Mark Train (rides and engine), are telling some of the funniest things.

This is a really cool and funny way to introduce some of the most important historic people to younger readers and not bore them. Really smart and interesting idea, I really had fun reading it. It is not too long, and I believe that younger readers will have lots of fun reading it.

Anamaría Aguirre Chourio

One of my best buys of this year: I bought it to read it with my 6 year old nephew and enjoyed it a lot with him.

The text is precise and funny and the collages are awesome. If you are looking a book to introduce any kid to the arts in general you should totally buy this book, I think the age doesn't matter because me, a 30 year old woman, enjoyed the book from the first to last page, I hope the author is willing to publish more of this in the near future.

Amanda Shepard

Rich DiSilvio makes history fun in this comedic biography of important historic figures. DiSilvio brings a humorous twist to big names from history, like Mark Train, George Washingmachine, and Virginia Wolf. His images complement his word play throughout, and kids will always be able to find something new every time they pick up this book. Children and adults alike will find humor in DiSilvio's take on history.

Billy O.

This peculiar and cool children’s book has an original way of getting one’s attention. I liked the weird descriptions and the likewise surreal illustrations picturing 27 of the most famous persons from human history, including Nobel-winning scientists, celebrated inventors, and renowned painters and writers.

Just to get the picture of the caliber of the people included - here is a hint:. Mark Twain is presented riding an engine and called Mark Train, while Leonardo Da Vinci is named Lionardo and has the head of a lion!

The quirky distortions of the characters do not always have a connection with the personality profession but make them nevertheless memorable and funny.

I had a grin on my face while I was flipping the pages: ”Meet my favorite Friends” amused me. It would definitely be purposeful for a kid to remember those prominent people all at once.

Still, what I liked about this book is not only the value of learning general knowledge or trivia facts. It has a multi-layer presentation, challenging kid’s imagination with word play, humorous images made with some sort of a digital collage technique and entertaining facts - each time your kid gets the book, it will discover a fresh perk. It is a book that may be left on the shelf for a while but taken again and again as time goes by.

Grady Harp

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 the book is for informing adults.

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.

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 appreciate the creative approach that the very fine artist/author Rich DiSilvio shares. Highly recommended on every level.

Ivan Hecimovic

When I first saw “Meet My Famous Friends’’ on Amazon, the very first thing that came to my mind was “this could be awesome.’’ And the book is awesome!

After reading another great book from the same author (“My Nazi Nemesis’’), which was a lot more ‘serious’ I was positively shocked with this book.

We have Mark Train, “Michelanjello’’, Martin Luther Kingpin Jr., Edgar A. Poet and many more historical characters whose names are twisted so that the book becomes more humorous and fun to read. And it was fun to read, at least for me. The only, let’s say ‘drawback’ was that the book is a little bit too short. But forty pages of fun will suffice.

After “My Nazi Nemesis’’, it was both a bit surprising and refreshing to see that DiSilvio wrote this. This only proves that pen and paper can show the clear genius of some writers. And this short and fun to read book proves that DiSilvio knows how to write so we can expect more in the future.
I love it.

JoJo Maxson

My teenagers and I read Meet My Famous Friends together. We had fun explaining to each other the different twists on their names, and their photos. Rich DiSilvio obviously doesn’t take life too seriously and enjoys looking for humor all around him. So don’t be offended if he distorted your favorite historical figure.

Some of our family favorites were: Vincent Van Goat, I have always been fascinated with his work, but I also learned he really did only have one ear. Teen son showed me up on that one!

We were impressed to learn that Guglielmo Macaroni developed Wi-Fi so long ago. Lastly, I keep going back to MichelanJello. Why Jello is so funny, I don’t know, but I will never think of Jello the same now.

Denise Lucas

Meet My Famous Friends: Inspiring kids with Humor written by Rich DiSilvio is a wonderful little book about famous people from around the world and throughout history, from Mark Twain to Amelia Earhart to Leonardo Da Vinci.

I loved this book and my 8 year old daughter did as well. We read it together and really enjoyed it. The author has a real talent for communicating with a younger audience. There is humor throughout the book and it is entirely educational. Each page has a description of why the person is famous and has a little nickname that relates to their fame. At the end of the book it has their full name and the year they were born to the year they died (or disappeared).

This is a wonderful book to read through with children as it helps teach them about some of the most inspirational people from all walks of life who have contributed greatly to our society. There were a few people mentioned in this book that I didn’t know much about, so I took some information away from this book as well. Great read, very enjoyable, and I highly recommend it!

Beth G.

Memorizing the names of historical people is quite a pain, and so when I was a kid, if the name sounds like something else, it easily stuck. This book is just so on point in doing so, allowing the kids to get an easier grasp on the names of the famous people across the pages of their history, science and art books. The alternate names are fun and wittily created that it would make memorizing names for kids, and even adults, much easier, no doubt.

Meet My Famous Friends isn’t just hilarious. Of course, it is also packed with all of the facts about the famous people it features. To be completely honest, I didn’t know some of the people that were mentioned while I was reading it. I planned on Googling them, but thankfully, the list of the actual names is at the back of the book! So, to those who have kids out there, and even the adult students who are just having a hard time memorizing names for academic purposes (or not), here’s a book for you. You may also want to do this to some other names, or in memorizing the names of your new circle of friends.

S. Clem

This was such a fun book. Definitely surprised me, as I did not expect a children's book to hold my attention. But I was wrong. Great for tweens, teens, and adults. My four year old is a little young for it, (understandably) but I'm sure he'll enjoy it someday.

Meet My Famous Friends introduces young people to famous people and shows them what they contributed to the world in an engaging, funny manner. Rich DiSilvio is a talented author, with a way of making learning fun. The book is fairly short and easy to read, and I recommend it to anyone over about 10 years old.


To be perfectly honest, after reading the book myself, I thought my upper grade school child was going to find it silly and ridiculous. I was hesitant in handing him the tablet. I started off by just flipping through the pages with him and reading the names of the "friends". He got into it immediately trying to guess the actual name for the ones he didn't know. He eagerly flipped back to the beginning of the book and began reading.
Off and on I would hear a small giggle and see a huge smile on his face. By the time he was done reading, he was laughing as he told me about the different people and what they were known for. I asked him his favorite part of the book and he said it was the fact that the information presented in the book was done in such a funny manner it is going to be easier to remember it. So happy that he enjoyed a book so much and he can learn something at the same time.


Rich DiSilvio offers us a book filled with great informative details and an amazing artwork that will surely catch the eye of any reader. Aimed at a younger generation of readers, “Meet my Famous Friends” is a nice way to get to know some of the most brilliant minds the world has ever know, from literature to arts, to science. As an introductory book to some big historical moments, this is a great read: enjoyable, funny and informative while showcasing an impressive artwork.

It’s a great way to motivate young children or teenagers to read a book and learning something about the world. The witty language and the puns delivered throughout the book (not only with the names) make it enjoyable and you’ll be able to have some laughs. As a person who works with children, I found it a great way to introduce them to this important personalities without being too boring. Fun facts, good drawings, and puns are always a hit with children.

Jimmy Ray

This is a great book to teach children about many famous people throughout history. The use of name play and art keeps them interested and wanting to learn more about them. I read this book with my 8 year old daughter. The material in the book and it's presentation held her attention and she asked many questions about the people in the book.

I think Rick DiSilvio has found a great way to offer a book that will be fun for all ages. I recommend this one for everyone. Parents get a copy and read it with your children at bedtime. It is a great way to educate while bonding with the young ones. Awesome book.


My daughter and I both loved this book! It is witty and maybe a little sarcastic, but I found it humorous, and it does have an educational value as well. I literally laughed out loud with almost every turn of the page, and my 11-year-old giggled and thought it was “silly”. She had never heard of some of the historical figures represented, so that gave us a chance to talk about the character and what they were famous for. She recognized Amelia Earhart right away, and I think that was her favorite. I think mine is a tie between Vincent Van Goat and Marie Curious!

If you have even the smallest hint of a sense of humor, you will really enjoy this book! It is cute, and is a good change from most of the books you probably read with your kids! Unique, funny, and educational – you can’t lose! I am still laughing as I write this review!