Quote of the Day!
"He fed his spirit with the bread of books!"
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
2004 University of Michigan-Dearborn
School of Education Alumnus of the
Year 2008 Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance
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 www.tonybuzzeo.com
About the Illustrator: