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One Cool Friend

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,612 Ratings  ·  569 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 Books
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Extra Yarn by Mac BarnettAnd Then It's Spring by Julie FoglianoGreen by Laura Vaccaro SeegerThis is Not My Hat by Jon KlassenThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
2013 Mock Caldecott
10th out of 97 books — 240 voters
Tacky the Penguin by Helen LesterAnd Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson365 Penguins by Jean-Luc FromentalLost and Found by Oliver JeffersA Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
Picture Books with Penguins
6th out of 71 books — 46 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa Vegan
Aug 05, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 10, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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 really liked it
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
Bailey Hauge
Oct 19, 2014 Bailey Hauge rated it it was amazing
My opinion is I really, really liked this book. The book was about a penguin named Magellan and his friend Elliott. The main idea was Elliott getting a penguin friend. My favorite part was when Elliott made his wading pool into a skating rink in his bedroom. And his dad didn't even know!
Jammie Mays
Sep 09, 2014 Jammie Mays rated it it was amazing
Awe. This short story will take you on a roller-coaster of emotions. At first I was upset with the father for not paying attention to his son. He offered to take him to the aquarium and then didn’t partake in any of the activities with him. It made me think about a time when I was left alone and had high hopes of doing something fun with my parent. But as the story progressed I soon forgot about the father and focused on the antics of the little boy. I thought he was very smart to make all of th ...more
Jordan Schmidt
Jun 12, 2015 Jordan Schmidt rated it really liked it
Shelves: state-awards
How many of you have a pet at home? If you just raised your hand, tell me where you got that pet. So most of us got our pets from a pet store, a shelter, or a friend who raises animals to sell. In the story that we are going to read today, the character gets his pet from a different place then all of us. (hold up the book) The title is One Cool Friend. Where do you think the boy got his friend at? (take answers) Well, we will have to read to find out if our predictions are correct.
When we have
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Mar 18, 2013 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 26, 2014 Luann rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this - especially the ending! As always, David Small's illustrations are interesting and have great details. I laughed at the father's turtle pajamas. When I reread this, I noticed all sorts of turtle details! Too fun!
Oct 09, 2015 MaryannP rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book won the Caldecott award for its cartoon images. The pages are full of cartoon images, text boxes, and 3D art. The images look like they are illustrated with a pencil making them very simplistic but outstanding. The book is black and white with very little color. What is in color stands out because that is whats being accentuated. The illustrator used space very well so the eyes go up and down. He also used the space well to organize the text and speech bubbles making some large ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book. David Small is one of my favorite illustrators. But by page 11, the animals rights issues overshadowed everything else for me. Penguins are one of the most social birds there are, and family structure is very important (see And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson). When Elliot takes a small penguin from the penguin exhibit, he is likely breaking up a family unit (and I won't even go into the penguins in captivity thing). Sorry, I was not able to suspend my disbelie ...more
May 05, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
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
Oct 08, 2013 Maureen Houston rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2011 Sarah W rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2015 KevinL rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This was one COOL story. When Elliot went to the aquarium with his dad no one expected him to bring home a proper friend from the southern tip of Argentina. Elliots dad hought he was only bringing home a stuffed animal penguin not the real thing.This story goes through the friendship of Elliot and his pet penguin at the expense of his dad. The best part is the curve ball at the end! This would be a great story for students to learn how to be a good friend
Jim Erekson
Feb 04, 2013 Jim Erekson rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy, picturebooks
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
Jul 04, 2012 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Kate
Aug 11, 2015 Mary Kate rated it it was amazing
This book is unique!! Made me chuckle and brought me and my listener a smile (:
Jennifer Strong
Apr 08, 2016 Jennifer Strong rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, 2016
Eliot is quite the polite child. So when his father invites him to visit the aquarium he accepts even though he doesn't particularly want to be around messy, noisy children. The only exhibit he finds interesting is the penguin habitat. He loves the penguins, they remind him of himself, all prim and proper, standing tall "dressed" in black and white suits. He asks his dad if he can have a penguin and his dad obliges, handing over a twenty dollar bill (the amount it costs to purchase a stuffed pen ...more
Caldecott Honor #2
Copyright: 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Intermediate
Text-to-Self: I really enjoyed this book because penguins are my favorite animal. I don’t really enjoy going to the zoo anymore, but when I was younger the penguins were my favorite part and I was endlessly entertained by them.
Text-to-Text: This book reminded me of an animation short I used to watch when I was younger called The Bear. It had no dialogue and it was about a little girl who loses her teddy bear in the pola
Kelsy O'Halloran
Caldecott Book
Genre: Fantasy
Target Audience: Ages 5-8
Making Connections:
Text-to-Self~It is so common for kids to have animal best friends. For me specifically, I have had at least one dog my entire life. They worm their ways into your heart so deeply. I also definitely get not connecting with you parents all the time. In this case, the miscommunication turns out somewhat well for Elliot but I think he, like me, would rather be close with his father.
Text-to-Text~ This book reminds me of Tacky the
Caldecott Honor Book, Copyright 2012

Genre: Realistic Fiction. This is a story of made up characters that could happen in real life. While the story is very fantastical, and taking a penguin home from the zoo is very unlikely to happen, the animals don't speak and the story is based on people.
Target Audience: Intermediate, 2nd to 6th grade. The story would be very appealing to students of this age range. Younger students would enjoy the mostly black and white illustrations with pops of color. Ol
Libby Stogdill
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo is the story of an unlikely friendship and the mischievous things kids will do. The main character is very mature little boy named Elliot who goes to the aquarium with his father one day. Elliot has no interest in the crowds of kids and makes his way to the quiet part of the aquarium that is the penguin exhibit. He immediately falls in love with the penguins for many reasons, but the main one is because they appear to be wearing little tuxedo's like Elliot. Elliot ...more
Marissa Everett
Sep 09, 2015 Marissa Everett rated it it was amazing
One Cool Friend is one cool book! This book is about a proper boy named Elliot, his father, their trip to the aquarium, and the “souvenir” they bring home. One Cool Friend is a Caldecott Honor book with an amazing story to match. This book is fun and exciting with a silly twist at the end.

This book was highly enjoyable for me to read even at 21 years old. Something I really liked about the text was the incorporation of speech bubbles. I also enjoyed the book equally the whole way through. I was
Cynnea Schreibman
This is a book about a boy named Elliot who visits an aquarium one day. He meets a penguin named Magellan and hides it from his father. They wear matching tuxedos through the story. Elliot’s father finds the penguin but isn’t upset because he has an animal too. The illustrations in this book are used with ink and watercolor and are very detailed. I think that this book would be very good for kids because the illustrations are outstanding. I would recommend this book because both the illustration ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Kelly added it
Kelly Wiegand
April 1, 2015
EDL54500 Library Materials for Children and Youth

Title: One Cool Friend

Author: Toni Buzzeo

Plot: Elliot and his father go to the aquarium and while they are there, Elliot asks his father if he can have a penguin. When Elliot's absent-minded father agrees, Elliot takes a penguin from the pool and slip him into his backpack to take home with him. Things get silly while Elliot learns how to take care of a penguin while trying to keep it a secret from his dad.

Setting: Aqua
Kylie Fortune
Feb 10, 2015 Kylie Fortune rated it really liked it
Summary: This sweet children’s book is about Elliot, a very polite yet sly boy, and his trip to the aquarium with his clueless dad. While at the aquarium, Elliot finds a real penguin, and he takes it home with him. The book follows Elliot and Magellan’s adventures, with ice skating, in his room, eating goldfish crackers, and having Magellan barely get away with sleeping in the freezer. The whole time, Elliot’s father is completely oblivious to any of Elliot and Magellan’s crazy actions and ideas ...more
Carly Meyers
Dec 04, 2014 Carly Meyers rated it it was amazing
This story was about a little boy named Elliot who was unlike most children. He was very proper and hated large groups of other children. When dad wanted to take Elliot to the aquarium, Elliot agreed and went straight to the penguin exhibit. When he found interest in them, Elliot went and asked dad if he could get a penguin. Dad, thinking that it was a stuffed penguin, agreed and gave him $20. Elliot went into the exhibit and took the smallest penguin home with him and named him Magellan. This b ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Yvonne rated it it was amazing
Elliot is a straight-laced boy who is not in favor of crowds and noise. His father took him to the local aquarium for family fun day but it was Elliot who did the exploring while his father read a magazine. Elliot finds his favorite animal the penguin and asks his father if he could have one. His father approved thinking it is a stuffed penguin and not a real one. Elliot names his penguin Magellan and the next several pages are filled with page turning explorations between the two. Elliot even t ...more
Nov 12, 2014 Lgourley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
Being proper was what Elliot was good at. When Elliot's father asked him if he wanted to go to the aquarium, he didn't really want to. Instead of saying no, Elliot responded properly and said, "Of course. Thank you for inviting me." Once at the aquarium Elliot discovers the penguins. WIth the penguins looking proper themselves, Elliot decides he must have one. Find out what happens when Elliot takes a penguin home.

This book is great for teaching conversational situations, conversational bubbles
Oct 22, 2014 Anabella rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the style and artwork of this picture book because I believe is quite fun. The words are put as in a cartoon mode. It tells the story of a smart child named Elliot and his dad in the aquarium. The Dad is basically reading the whole time, and the kid wondering around. Elliot asks his dad if he can get a penguin and his dad said yes and gives him money, maybe thinking that he was talking about a stuffed animal rather than a real one. Elliot takes the real penguin and puts it on hi ...more
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