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4.6 out of 5 stars44
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on January 11, 2012
Upon first reading, you'll think the boy-and-his-pet story at the heart of the delightful ONE COOL FRIEND is driven by gentle misunderstandings between Eliot and his father -- only to get egg on your face at the last page turn. David Small's witty illustrations are a perfect match with Toni Buzzeo's deceptively straightforward text, and the two together usher the reader right down the garden path to the warm and hilarious ending. Both the text and illustrations contain "Easter eggs" that reward multiple re-readings, so this one will entertain again and again and again." (Starred review) ~ Nancy Werlin
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on January 10, 2012
Every school has the "school-wide unit", and in elementary schools in January, that nearly always involves penguins. Let's face it, aquariums, movies and sea/ocean parks have worked relentlessly to make penguins a part of every child's psyche. So, it isn't difficult to imagine that a boy would want a penguin as his personal pet. And when Elliot, a very proper, tuxedo-clad young man, visits the aquarium with his rather distracted father, it is no surprise he finds Magellanic penguins fit him to a "T".

After that, however, surprises, giggles and delight abound. Permission from his unsuspecting father allows Elliot to perpetrate a penguin popping adventure: into the backpack; a bedroom skating-rink; a library research visit; a mid-night freezer caper and a dip in the tub. While we fear that discovery awaits our heroes, we are not disappointed with this ending that is a discovery for us as well.

David Small's ink and watercolor illustrations compliment this quirky story with imaginative and humorous detail. And, in the end, they help us understand how much Elliot and his father have in common.

So, if your school does a Penguin Unit, or if you are driven to provide wonderful literature for your students on topics they love, this is really the must-have book this January.
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on January 25, 2012
One Cool Friend (Hardcover) Elliot and his father have a lot in common. Author Toni Buzzeo writes how they enjoy spending time at the local aquarium. David Small indicates through his whimsical illustrations that both are avid readers and independent thinkers.
In this imaginative story the speech bubbles cleverly advance the conversation between father and son. We follow Elliot, the proper young man, as he problem solves his friendship with his "one cool friend."
I love the David Small artwork with his minimal use of color, offbeat perspectives, especially the inventive facial expressions. This book could be used with an Explorers Unit, Geography, familial relationships, Habitats and a study of pets. [Which animals make the best pets and why !!!]
Toni Buzzeo and David Small together...what an energetic and creative team!
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Elliot was one of those boys who was very prim and proper and he looked the part. In fact, he wore a tuxedo. Yes, a tuxedo. His father sat on one edge of their very proper Victorian couch while Elliot sat on the other end. His father peered over the edge of his glasses and asked, "Family Fund Day at the aquarium. Shall we go?" Elliot answered in the affirmative. "Thank you for inviting me." NOT. It was those "kids, masses of noisy kid" outings. Once they arrived at the aquarium, Elliot's father, who was dressed in a not-so-stylish plaid casual suit, plunked himself on a bench to read the "National Geographic."

Elliot was off and running, but made sure he avoided the "mobs of kids at the Giant Saltwater Tank, Amazing Jellies Display, and Hands-on Tide Pool Exhibit." Nope, that was not for prim and proper Elliot. Instead he moved right on by them and discovered a pool of PENGUINS! Of course they were his cup of tea because they too wore "tidy black feather tuxedos" and had "proper posture." When he went back to ask his father, who was still looking at things in that "National Geographic," he asked if he could have a Penguin. Well, $19.95 wasn't too much to ask for a stuffie, but Elliot had other things in mind ...

This is a prim, proper, and hilarious little tale about Elliot and his pilfered penguin. The delightful, unexpected twist at the end will make both young and old readers break into smiles. Elliot, a boy who was up to a lot of shenanigans throughout this tale, turned out to be his father's son after all. Small's artwork was crisp, bold, and he used light touches of color (loved that suit!) with his usual aplomb. This type of tale is one that children will ask for time and time again, one that is destined to become a classic "Penguin" tale. If you're into penguins and love impish mischief makers, this one should be one your list!
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on January 12, 2012
One Cool Friend is loaded with lots of fun word play. Fun read aloud that gives opportunities for elementary teachers and librarians to use the clever curriculum connections in science and social studies. 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 Buezzo's website for the companion theater script for One Cool Friend!
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on March 15, 2012
One Cool Friend is a delightful story about Elliot, our buttoned-up protagonist, his dad, and Magellan (a penguin). Elliot asks his agreeable father for some money to buy a penguin. His dad assumes he means a stuffed animal, naturally. His dad might be wrong, as it turns out....

Children (or adults!) who love animals will especially enjoy it.

The illustrations (by Caldecott Medalist David Small) are beautiful. I particularly love the gridlines and graceful curves delineating the interior spaces; the cool colors and movement enhance the aquatic theme and the flow of the story.
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on April 28, 2012
A very formal tuxedoed little boy named Elliot gets a penguin for a pet. Often left to his own devices in elegant surroundings, Elliot reminded me of a male Eloise. This is such a cute book! Mostly black and white drawings are accentuated with pops of color. Bonus points for the mannish, pink-haired librarian! There's a funny surprise ending with Elliot's father and another unexpected pet. I highly recommend this one.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 6, 2014
"One Cool Friend" written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small is story about a boy, his father and boy unusual pet that will delight you with its story and mostly with its style.

The main character, a boy named Elliot is a very distinguished young man, who is very polite and even wears tuxedo and tie at home.
When his father invited him to family day at the aquarium Elliot wasn't too excited though he agreed with properly answer "Thank you for inviting me".

Once they came at the aquarium, Elliot will find himself captivated by the Magellan penguins and he will asks his father if he could give him money for a penguin.
Father who thought that Elliot is going to buy a toy penguin will agree and penguin will end in his backpack, but both father and readers can expect great surprise at the end of this entertaining book...

"One Cool Friend" is a well-written piece for young readers that although simple illustrated is full of charm and intelligence.
Illustrations made by known artist David Small are made using pen and ink, color pencils and watercolor, mostly in black and white technique with a bit of colors to emphasize the importance of particular element of the story.

The children will especially be interested by unusual twist at the end of the story that is rare in children's books and this is just one of the reasons why this picture book, although simple, fully deserves all the praises assigned to it last year.
Due to all above-mentioned this beautifully imagined and wonderfully depicted book packed with humor can be fully recommended for young readers.
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on March 1, 2013
What happens when a boy takes home a penguin from the zoo and it becomes his pet? That's what kids will find out in this humorous yet classy read.

The story takes place on a Saturday morning and we meet a young boy named Elliot, who is one very sophisticated person who doesn't socialize with the opposite kind. His father then takes him to an aquarium, but after skipping out on some of the exhibits, Elliot sees something that catches his eye: penguins.

Elliot then asks his dad if he could have one of them and he lets him, except his father thinks that he's want a toy penguin. With nobody watching, Elliot puts a small penguin in his backpack and scurries away. But with a penguin in the house, Elliot will have to keep this pet a secret.

"One Cool Friend" definitely is a cool book that's just fun to read. The illustrations are what make the book more interesting with the black-and-white art with a few colorful specks. The story has the perfect amount of story and wit that kids will not resist about a boy and his penguin.

Final Verdict: A boy and a penguin bring a great amount of fun for young readers in this classy book.
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on February 6, 2013
When very rich and proper Elliot discovers penguins, he finds a "pet" dressed very proper. Feeling this is his perfect pet proceeds to take it home from a family fun day at the aquarium after asking if he could have a penguin. His father thinking he meant a stuffed toy and said yes. What follows is much fun for Elliot and his penguin named Magellan as they try to keep Father from knowing about the real little penguin. In the end Elliot finds he has more in common with his not quite involved father than he thought. His father has a tortoise from the Galapogos Islands living in the house Elliot never knew about.
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