Thursday, August 8, 2013

One Cool Friend - a book review

           Quote of the Day!

"He fed his spirit with the bread of books!"
                     ~Edwin Markham

Title:  One Cool Friend
Author: Toni Buzzeo
Illustrator:  David Small

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.

About the author:

 Born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan
 BA English Language and Literature
    University of Michigan, Dearborn
 MA English Language and Literature
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
 MLIS Library and Information Science
    University of Rhode Island, Kingston
 1999 Maine Library Media Specialist
   of the Year

 2000 Winner of SCBWI Barbara Karlin
   Grant for
 The Sea Chest, published
   September 2002

 2004 University of Michigan-Dearborn
   School of Education Alumnus of the
 2008 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
   Advisory Board

 Author of children's books and
   professional books
 and articles for teachers
   and librarians (see my 
Publication Vita)

                                Read more of her life story on

About the Illustrator:

  • David Small is an American writer and illustrator who is best known for children's picture books. Wikipedia
    BornFebruary 12, 1945 (age 68), Detroit, Michigan, United States
    AwardsCaldecott Medal
    NominationsNational Book Award for Young People's Literature

  •                                                   Book Review Rating:     8     ( Fantastic!)

  •                     Caldecott Honor 2013, ALA Notable Children's Book for Young Readers (2013)

  • Read on and read always!

  •                    Have an awesome day everyone!  Leave me a comment if you liked what you saw.  
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