One Cool Friend

( 7 )

Overview

2013 Caldecott Honor Book.
 
From New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo and Caldecott Medal winning illustrator David Small, comes a cool tale about an unlikely friendship.
 
On a spontaneous visit to the aquarium, straight-laced and proper Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. When he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his ...

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Overview

2013 Caldecott Honor Book.
 
From New York Times bestselling author Toni Buzzeo and Caldecott Medal winning illustrator David Small, comes a cool tale about an unlikely friendship.
 
On a spontaneous visit to the aquarium, straight-laced and proper Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. When he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad was probably thinking of a toy penguin, not a real one… Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale a kid-pleaser from start to finish.

A 2013 Caldecott Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Elliot’s father wears a dorky plaid suit and works as some sort of naturalist. He’s also pretty absentminded, so when Elliot—a quiet, rosy-cheeked boy who prefers tuxedos—brings home a Magellanic penguin, he doesn’t notice. Small’s (Elsie’s Bird) ink-and-watercolor drawings are as urbane as Elliot’s bow tie, and he creates a magnificent mansion for Elliot and his father. Elliot fixes up a bedroom ice rink with the air conditioner and hose, puts Magellan to bed in the freezer, and takes him swimming in the bathtub. Buzzeo (the Adventure Annie books) gives Elliot courtly manners (“Thank you for inviting me” is his response to his father’s suggestion they visit the aquarium) and a quick wit. The book’s humor is built on gentle misunderstandings between father and son (when Elliot asks for a penguin, his father assumes he means a stuffed one from the aquarium gift shop). Though very much a boy-and-his-pet story, it’s just as much about two gentlemen who appear to be orbiting entirely different planets. The revelation that they’re not so dissimilar after all is about as sweet as it gets. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
Library Media Connection
"Elliot, clad in a proper black suit, discovers the perfect pet when he and his dad visit the aquarium . . . Charming illustrations [draw] the eye to funny little details . . . Highly recommended." (starred)
Booklist
“This charming picture book has many humorous details throughout, and kids will likely laugh out loud at the surprise (particularly for father!) ending.”
Horn Book
“Suitable for both story time and closer observation, the illustrations (including the comical Magellan) complement the child-friendly premise and will certainly attract young readers to this quirky tale.”
BCCB
“The comic characterizations of Elliott and his father, and Small’s lively ink, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations […] will make this a popular choice for both reading aloud and reading alone.”
From the Publisher
“The surprise ending has the same satisfying sensibility as Jules Feiffer’s Bark, George. A real kid charmer that will elicit ‘Read it again!’ responses.” (Starred) — School Library Journal

"The book’s humor is built on gentle misunderstandings between father and son (when Elliot asks for a penguin, his father assumes he means a stuffed one from the aquarium gift shop). . . A boy-and-his-pet story [that's] about as sweet as it gets." (Starred) — Publishers Weekly

"Elliot, clad in a proper black suit, discovers the perfect pet when he and his dad visit the aquarium . . . Charming illustrations [draw] the eye to funny little details . . . Highly recommended." (starred) — Library Media Connection

“This charming picture book has many humorous details throughout, and kids will likely laugh out loud at the surprise (particularly for father!) ending.” — Booklist

“Suitable for both story time and closer observation, the illustrations (including the comical Magellan) complement the child-friendly premise and will certainly attract young readers to this quirky tale.” — Horn Book

“The comic characterizations of Elliott and his father, and Small’s lively ink, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations […] will make this a popular choice for both reading aloud and reading alone.” — BCCB

“A happy tale of domestic amity, with a well-set-up punchline.” — Kirkus Reviews

2013 Caldecott Honor Book
2013 Notable Children's Book
New York Times Best Seller
Junior Library Guild Selection

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Elliot's father asks him if he wants to go to the aquarium, the suited and bow-tied youngster reluctantly agrees. But there he is delighted to discover penguins, "properly dressed" like him. He asks his dad if he can have one. His father agrees, giving him twenty dollars to buy what he thinks will be a stuffed toy. Instead, Elliot pops a live one in his backpack and brings it home. Naming it Magellan, Elliot provides it with a skating rink in his air-conditioned room and does some research about penguins. When his father finally discovers Magellan in the bathtub, both he and Elliot come to a surprising, happy agreement. Pen and ink, ink wash, watercolors, and colored pencils produce various size light-hearted illustrations to accompany the brief, matter-of-fact text. The up-tight youngster and his loosely academic father live comfortably parallel lives. The zoo penguins have a great time cavorting in their pool; boy and bird also enjoy their skating in the improvised frozen "old wading pool." Each scene has details and conversational exchanges set in speech balloons sure to amuse readers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
: $16.99.PreS-Gr 2—Elliot's father often seems less than focused. So when they visit the aquarium and Elliot asks for a penguin, his father doesn't even blink as he brings one home in his backpack. Elliot gets to know his new friend, and reports on the experience to his seemingly muddle-minded father. But perhaps Dad has more in common with his son than you might suppose. This sweet and unexpected story by Toni Buzzeo (Dial, 2012) is read clearly and crisply by Chris Sorensen. No sound effects or music come between the listener and the text. The book is highly dependent on David Small's delightfully subdued watercolor illustrations, with a fun surprise ending that you literally have to see to believe, so make sure to have it available. Paired with the book, the audiobook would make a dandy listening center and bring a grin to the face of any listener.—Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Boy and Antarctic bird bond in a tongue-in-cheek tale keyed by artful misdirection. Drawn to an aquarium's penguin exhibit because the birds resemble his own tuxedo-wearing self, young Elliot secures permission from his (seemingly) distracted single dad to get a penguin. Rather than hit the gift shop, though, he pops a live one he dubs "Magellan" into his backpack. Using a hose, a backyard wading pool and an overpowered air conditioner, he sets up a rink in his bedroom. He stashes his diminutive new buddy amid frozen seafood in the fridge overnight, then leaves him splashing around in a tub of extra-cold water the next day. Crisis looms when Elliot's still strangely oblivious father heads for the bathroom--but, as observers sharp enough to have picked up some subtle visual clues will understand, Magellan isn't the only exotic animal in the house, and the old man has good reason to be more surprised than shocked to find himself sharing the tub with an interloper. In line with Buzzeo's elegantly spare text, Small uses neutral washes with loosely drawn lines and highlights of restrained color to depict the urbane lad and his equally dapper companion making themselves comfortably at home in upper-crust digs. A happy tale of domestic amity, with a well-set-up punchline. (Picture book. 6-8)
Rachael Brown
Small's energetic colored-pencil, ink and watercolor illustrations aptly convey the scale and urgency of a child's perspective and provide plenty of playful details leading up to a last-page twist that will delight kids and parents alike.
—The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803734135
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 164,596
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Buzzeo

Children's book author Toni Buzzeo is the creator of The Sea Chest and Dawdle Ducking, two picture books for young readers.

Buzzeo was raised in Dearborn, Michigan and moved to Maine 23 years ago. She holds a Masters degree in English from the University of Michigan and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Rhode Island. She has worked as a high school and college English teacher, a public children's librarian, and a school library media specialist. Currently, she is a Library Media Specialist at Longfellow School in Portland, Maine. Buzzeo was named the 1999 Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year. She lives in Buxton, Maine amid wild turkeys and black flies with her husband, Ken Cyll, her son, Chris Cyll, 19.

Her first book, The Sea Chest (Dial Books for Young Readers, September 2002) (ages 5-up), is set on a fictional midcoast Maine island and is based on the Maine Hendricks Head Light baby-in-the-sea chest legend. The book, illustrated in oils by Minnesota artist Mary GrandPré who has also illustrated the popular Harry Potter novels, is both Maine historical fiction and a touching adoption story. The title earned Buzzeo the 2000 Barbara Karlin Grant for Picture Book Writing from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection and will be featured in Scholastic Book Fairs

Her second book, Dawdle Duckling (Dial Books for Young Readers, January 2003) (ages 2-6) is the story of a small duckling who swims to the beat of his own drummer—until danger threatens. The book, illustrated in pastels by California illustrator Margaret Spengler, is a cheerful reassuring tale of youthful rebellion and parental protection—with an exciting surprise ending.

She is also the author of four professional books: Terrific Connections with Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers: Real Space and Virtual Links, co-authored with Jane Kurtz (Libraries Unlimited 1999), 35 Best Books For Teaching U.S. Regions, co-authored with Jane Kurtz (Scholastic Professional 2002), Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships for K-6 (Linworth, March 2002), and Collaborating to Meet Standards: Teacher/Librarian Partnerships for 7-12 (Linworth, September 2002).

Read more about Toni Buzzeo on her website

David Small grew up in Detroit, studied Art and English at Wayne State University and completed his graduate studies in art at Yale. He went on to teach drawing and printmaking at the college level for fourteen years, during which time his first book Eulalie and The Hopping Head was published. David no longer teaches but has continued illustrating.

David has illustrated twenty-seven picture books, and has also provided the text for six of them. His Imogene’s Antlers has been featured for fifteen years on PBS’ “Reading Rainbow.” Fenwicks Suit presently is in production by Fox 2000 Four of David’s bestselling picture books were written by his wife, Sarah Stewart. Their book The Gardener was the recipient of 17 awards including the Christopher Medal and the 1998 Caldecott Honor Award.

David’s books have been translated into six languages. He also has worked years as a freelance editorial artist, with his drawings appearing regularly in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. His reviews of picture books appear frequently in The New York Times Book Review.

Of his beginnings as an artist David has this to say: “Detroit is not where I would have lived given the choice as a child. Then, I would much rather have lived in Candy Land. But the fact is Detroit—a harsh, industrial—made art and music all the more sweet in my young life, more urgent and more of a necessity. Seen in that light, Detroit was the perfect place for me to grow up.”

David Small and Sarah Stewart make their home in Michigan in an 1833 Greek Revival house on ten acres of land along the banks of the St. Joseph River. Their house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and their property marks the northern boundary of the Great Tallgrass Prairie.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 8, 2013

    Elliot loves to dress to impress.  He loves formal wear and is a

    Elliot loves to dress to impress.  He loves formal wear and is always impeccable no matter where he goes.   One day his father suggests they get away from their normal routine and attend a Family Fun Day at the local aquarium.  Elliot who doesn't like crowds, and especially noisy kids, is too polite to refuse the invitation so he graciously accepts and says, "Of course.  Thank you for inviting me."  His father sits down and reads a magazine at the aquarium (so much for father/son bonding time) while Elliot takes off by himself to explore the many exhibits.   While on his journey of discovery he stumbles upon the Magellanic penguins area.  He instantly identifies with their elegance and their tuxedo-attired (just made that word up)  black and white wardrobe.  Elliot seeks out his father and asks if he could possibly have a penguin for himself.  His father thinking Elliot wants a stuffed penguin, agrees and hands him over twenty dollars, while he remains sitting and looking at pictures of plush penguins.  Elliot has other ideas...he is going for the real deal.  He finds the smallest penguin in the group, gives him the name Magellan, and quickly steals him away from the rest,  stuffing him in his red backpack and then taking off.  When he finally reaches home Elliot busies himself trying to make his new pet comfortable and feel right at home.  He tries making him anchovy pizzas, fills the bathtub with ice cold water for him and even makes him his own skating rink to play on.  His father encourages Elliot to take a trip to the library to research how to best look after Magellan and adds, "When I was in third grade, I got Captain Cook."  The book ends on a funny, twisted note which I will not spoil here.  When you read it you will chuckle I am sure. 




    The story is humorous and fun.  Elliott seems tuned in to life around him but his father seems to be oblivious to what is happening around him or to what his son is up to.  Small's hand drawn illustrations are created out of pen and ink, ink wash, water-colour, and colour pencils.   The expressions and emotions are so well captured and executed that they bring the text alive.  All in all it is a cute simple story that kids can identify with and would make a great read aloud. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Cool Ending--Must Check it Out

    The illustrations are unique; almost totally in black and white. The story leaves you guessing. You never know which way its' going to take you. The ending is surprising. The kids will love it.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Highly recommended. Lots of fun word play. Great read aloud.

    This book is loaded with lots of fun word play. Our very proper and polite young main character, Elliot, is invited by his father to family day at the aquarium. Elliot is quite an explorer. Not wanting to follow the crowd, he goes off to discover penguins and is totally intrigued. He asks his father if he can have a penguin and then the real fun of this story begins. Lots of misunderstandings later the reader is delighted in a great surprise ending. This is one that will be asked for over and over. David Small's playful illustrations put the finishing touches on this great new picture book by an author who has given us so many great books to engage students in the library. Check out Toni's website for the companion theater script for One Cool Friend!

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    One Cool Book!

    What makes a great picture book? Lots of action, subtle hints of a mystery, clear compassion for others, and a story that keeps you thinking once you are through reading. That’s what Toni Buzzeo’s new book, One Cool Friend, is all about! It’s a great flip – flopping whopper of a tale! But really, it is Elliot’s lucky day. His father is taking him to the aquarium! While his father is absorbed in his National Geographic, Elliot takes off exploring. He is fascinated by the live penguins, and of course, this aquarium has a gift shop with stuffed penguins on sale today! Wait till you see what Elliot gets when his father hands him money! Buzzeo moves the story along with great action verbs, as the story knocks, skips, empties, pops, dials, drags, and more. A surprise is just beyond the door, when Dad yells, “ELLIOT!” Readers will delight at the camaraderie between father and son and be amused at what happens!

    Famed illustrator, David Small, adds his winning touch to this comical story, with hints of “things to come”. The shades of blue and green, the scribbles and broken lines, and the shadows and pictures on the wall clue the reader!

    One Cool Friend is useful in the classroom for teaching how to write story conversations. The illustrator uses a great technique of bubbling the conversation between father and son. Additionally, this story connects to the curriculum in the areas of geography, history, and science! Students may want to research the Magellanic Penguin and other sea creatures, as well as read about great voyages of discovery in world history.

    Buzzeo’s story stimulates creative thinking! It is inevitable that the reader will begin to think, “If I could have a dream pet, it would be…” What a great writing activity or the start of a new story.

    vanhookc (Teacher Librarian in Iowa)

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    Posted June 20, 2012

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    Posted July 15, 2013

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