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One Cool Friend by T. Buzzeo

Buzzeo, Toni, and David Small. One Cool Friend. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012. Print.

Hailing from Michigan, former teacher and children’s librarian Toni Buzzeo has been writing children’s literature since 1995. Ms. Buzzeo has published over 20 picture books and has written or co-written curriculum support materials and professional books for teachers and teacher librarians.

One Cool Friend was named a 2013 Caldecott Honor book. Eliot, “a very proper young man” politely asks his father, “May I have a penguin?” His father acquiesces and Eliot takes home a unique memento of his visit to the aquarium. A humorous and unexpected adventure unfolds as Magellan, Eliot’s new pet penguin, gets settled in his new home.

The interactions between Eliot and his father are entertaining and full of double meaning. David Small’s clever illustrations and strategic use of colour and texture provide hints to the surprise ending. Although targeted at children aged 5-9, readers of all ages will enjoy this book, gleaning different meanings from the illustrations and text. This story invites repeated readings; readers are sure to pick up details that they missed previously.

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Maria Tan

Maria is a Public Services Librarian at the University of Alberta’s H. T. Coutts Education Library. She enjoys travelling and visiting unique and far-flung libraries. An avid foodie, Maria’s motto is, “There’s really no good reason to stop the flow of snacks”.