One Cool Friend
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One Cool Friend

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,357 ratings  ·  384 reviews
On a momentous visit to the aquarium, Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. It's just proper enough for a straight-laced boy like him. And when he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad probably thought he meant a stuffed penguin and not a real one . . . Clever illustrations and a wild surpr...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Dial
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Lisa Vegan
Aug 05, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everybody, with a caveat for vegans and literal minded readers and listeners
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was enthusiastic about this book because I’m a fan of David Small's illustrations, and they are wonderful here, but so is the story. It’s completely charming and absolutely adorable, and very amusing. Both story and pictures are at times very, very funny.

The story and pictures are both stellar. I love the boy, the penguin, the father, and the surprise/twist ending, and the science too.

The book’s humor reminds me somewhat of the Bad Bears books by Daniel Pinkwater and that is high praise indeed...more
This story is so much fun! I think it should be taken as pure fantasy (don’t get too up in arms about the penguin not being in his natural habitat) and then it’s just a delight. I’m already a fan of David Small’s illustrations and they shine here. That very proper, polite young Elliot has such a perfect look and it’s so cute how he looks kind of like his new penguin friend. I love the contrast between him and his father—yet how alike they are in some ways, too. The father’s look is great, too, a...more
Jul 05, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a very humorous story about an inquisitive, polite and intelligent boy who manages to 'acquire' a very interesting pet. The story is silly and the boy's efforts to make his new pet comfortable reminded us of Mr. Popper's Penguins. I loved how formal and polite the boy and his father are, and I love how the story emphasizes how completely absorbed his dad is in his own studies and oblivious to the boy's actions.

The ending of the story is very hilarious, and we had to reread the tale to s...more
The very proper Elliot falls in love while on a visit to the aquarium. While his father reads his National Geographic, Elliot avoids the crowds of noisy kids at the other exhibits and revels in the appearance and antics of the penguins. When he politely asks if he can have a penguin, his father assumes that he wants a stuffed one, and provides the cash for it. Once Elliot and the kidnapped penguin he names Magellan have arrived home, Elliot does his best to make things comfortable for his new fr...more
Maureen Houston
Elliot is a very proper young boy, who is not too thrilled about being invited by his father to family day at the aquarium. Too polite to say no, he says agrees and the suit and tie wearing Elliot soon finds himself captivated by the Magellan penguins. He asks his father (who throughout the book is distracted with his reading), if he could have money for a penguin. Father agrees thinking Elliot is going to buy a stuffed penguin, but Elliot brings home a real Magellan penguin and the adventures s...more
Sarah W
Elliot is a very proper boy. When his father proposes a trip to the aquarium, Elliot politely accepts the invitation while he would rather avoid the noisy mob of kids sure to be there. With his father distracted by a copy of National Geographic, Elliot slips away to the penguin exhibit. There he discovers one Ferdinand Magellan.

Elliot asks his father for a penguin and is given twenty dollars for a toy. Elliot, however, has other plans. He squeezes Ferdinand into his backpack and takes the well-d...more
Jim Erekson
This is child-centered fiction. The adults don't get in the way (Dad, Librarian--and where was aquarium security? Quietly never pictured.), and Elliot moves forward assuming they won't--even though I was worried the entire time about when he would be found out. "Wild surprise ending"? No, a calm vindication of the story arc. This ending provided not only resolution to my worry, but also deconstructed it--a pleasant ending! And never a worry about there being a 'lesson' to be taught. Hmmm. I woul...more
I loved this picture book. It is so different from other picture books that I have read, and I have read many! It even had a surprise ending that I didn't see coming. Afterward, I flipped back through and saw the ending forshadowed in many of the illustrations. So clever! Elliot is such a fun, unique boy. The only thing I had trouble with was Elliot just taking a penguin from the aquarium, but I will suspend my disbelief and trepedation and take this one as it is meant to be, as a fun, imaginati...more
One Cool Friend, by Toni Buzzeo (2012)
Picture Book
Elliot, a very proper young man, feels a kinship with the penguins at the aquarium and wants to take one home with him.
No considerations or precautions
Review citation (if available): Bateman, Teresa. School Library Journal , Jul2012, p46-46, 1/6p
Section source used to find the material: ALA Notable Children's Book (2013), Caldecott Honor Book (2013)
Recommended age: Pre-K to 3rd grade.
The Reading Countess
Elliott is not your ordinary boy, but then again, neither is his father. When the father and son duo travel to the aquarium for some "quality time," they both get more than they bargained for. But in the end, father and son seem to have many, many traits in common.

The story was okay, but I have to say that I liked how the speech bubbles were included in the text. This would make a great mentor text for younger readers for that element alone.
Allison Barry
Text-to-self: This story reminds me of my middle school years. My parents would give me money to go see a movie and I would wind up coming home with a new shirt. It was always upset my mom that I used her money in a different way that she intended, but my dad was okay with it!

Text-to-text: Elliot, the character in this book, reminds me of Bean Dog and Nugget. All of the characters cause all sorts of mischief. Bean Dog and Nugget play jokes on each other by pretending to hold an invisible donut w...more
After a visit to the aquarium with his distracted father, the very proper Elliot comes home with a live penguin. His father is apparently oblivious to the fact that Elliot has a penguin living in the freezer and other strange happenings. Or is he?

David Small's illustrations delightfully foreshadow the unexpected conclusion. This is a book about a boy and his pet, but it is also a touching story about a boy and his father.
Melissa Morton
One Cool Friend is a picture book that brought a smile to my face when I reached the end. It follows Elliot, a boy who goes to the aquarium with his father. At the aquarium, Elliot visits the penguin exhibit by himself. He returns to his father and asks if he can get a penguin, who says yes. Elliot packs his new penguin pet away in his backpack and takes him home. Throughout the book, Elliot's father seems to have no idea that he brought home a real live penguin! The illustrations are really wha...more
Elliot is not your typical kid, he's very proper. Perhaps, so proper that his father doesn't notice that he brings home a real penguin from their outing to the aquarium. Elliot and his penguin, Magellan, become friends and it turns out Elliot's father has a special friend of his own too.

Fun story, illustrations are both proper and silly to compliment the text.
I've heard a lot of buzz over this one, and it's so great! Lots of humor in both the text and the illustrations, and the ending cracked me up. Very funny. I think kids will get a big kick out of this one.

Pair it with Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's and do a compare/contrast between the two books.
Denis Vukosav
“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...more
Cute and whimsical story about a boy who brings home a penguin from the aquarium and lives with it for some time before his father notices.
one cool friend i like so i asked dad to read it olive the time funny joke by flora
I love this book for its clever visual hints and absolutely implausible but jaunty storyline.
I loved the suprise ending!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2013 Joan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joan by: ALA awards
I might give this another try. However, on first reading, it just irritated me. The boy is just so darn polite I can't see kids relating to him at all. One person commented that the kid should have realized Dad meant a stuffed toy. I disagree. I think Dad should have realized his kid meant the real penguin. He doesn't know his kid well enough to guess what was meant? He is also just too obtuse to be believed. He just happened to never notice all these weird things happening after the kid steals...more
A fun story of friendship and wish-fulfillment. Just like it says on the tin. Page turns, text flow naturally. Sounds great aloud. Occasional changes in size of type for emphasis. No obvious rhymes or rhythms, but many fun unusual words and phrases, stemming largely from Elliot's propriety ("excuse the inconvenience"). Tiny bits of patterned language ("Antarctic Anecdotes," "May I please have a penguin?").

pen and ink illustrations with some washes on white background. Varied th...more
One Cool Friend is a nominee for the 2013-2014 South Carolina Picture Book Award.

One Cool Friend, written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small, is sure to be a hit in any library. Readers young and old will be charmed by Elliot, a very proper young man (who I imagine with a British accent).

Elliot visits the aquarium with his colorful father, and he passes right by the attractions with large crowds. He stops, though, when he reaches the penguin exhibit. He is enchanted by these creature...more
One Cool Friend is about a proper young man named Elliot. One day his father decides to take him on a family fun day at the aquarium. There Elliot sees the penguins in their tidy black feather tuxedos with their proper posture,and they remind him of himself. He decides to ask his father if he can have a penguin. His father says yes, thinking he is referring to a plush penguin and gives him twenty dollars. Elliot puts the smallest penguin in his backpack and brings him home. At home, Elliot diale...more
Ying Lee
Elliot is not a normal kid. When he is invited to visit the aquarium by his father, he does not join the mob of kids who crowd in front of popular displays and exhibits. Instead, he goes to visit penguins and eventually take one, Magellan, home with his father's "permission." Elliot does his best to provide a comfortable environment for Magellan, who becomes Elliot's best playmate. One day, as Magellan is enjoying the cold water in the bath tube, Elliot's father finally discovers his son brings...more
Buzzeo, T., & Small, D. (2012). One cool friend. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.Candlewick.

Summary: Summary: Elliot is not your ordinary young person.He is much too sophisticated for kiddy trips to places like the aquarium. But, when his father suggests they go there, Elliot has an idea of how to make the trip even more fun.

Review: Horn Book (May/June, 2012)
Dressed in a black suit and bow tie, Elliot clearly isn’t like other kids his age. When his father (himself eccentrically dresse...more
Bookstork Buzz
ONE COOL FRIEND by very cool author Toni Buzzeo is my kind of quality book! I came across it quite by chance while browsing on Amazon. Well written. Intelligent. Simply and artfully illustrated (mostly two-tone and soft colored and somewhat reminiscent of the Eloise books), it’s a real charmer.

Who is Elliot’s cool friend? An honest to goodness penguin.

Elliot, a very dapper proper young man dressed in a dapper proper young man’s tuxedo, is always very polite. So when his father says, “Family Fun...more
Elliot is a very serious young man. He dresses like he is going to the opera and he is as polite as if he were taking an etiquette test. So when his father asks if he would like to go to the zoo, he politely says "yes." While at the zoo he reads all about an explorer named Magellan who discovered the Magellanic Penguin. Then Elliot makes a discovery, he has quite a bit in common with that particular penguin. In fact, he decides that he would like to get a penguin. His father gives him a $20 so h...more
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 E...more
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