One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

One Cool FriendElliot is a very polite and proper boy, so when his father asks him if we wants to attend Family Fun Day at the aquarium, Elliot responds, “Of course, thank you for inviting me” although he is actually thinking “Kids, masses of noisy kids”. In order to avoid the noisy kids, Elliot goes to the less popular penguin exhibit where he immediately feels a kinship to the proper birds. He rushes back to ask his father for a penguin and in a hilarious misunderstanding, his father gives him $20 to purchase a plush penguin, without ever looking up from his National Geographic.

Elliot happily stuffs a real penguin in his backpack and the family heads home. Elliot’s father remains oblivious to the South American bird as Elliot builds an ice rink in his bedroom, shares an anchovy pizza with the penguin and sets the penguin up to sleep in the freezer. However, his father cannot miss the penguin swimming in the bathtub with him which is when a delightful twist is put into the story that will make readers want to go back a review just where this all was leading. It turns out; Elliot’s father has an exotic pet of his own.

The cool color palette and use of white space create a very reserved and proper feel, while the penguin and character’s facial expressions are warm and engaging. Readers will want to look for details that lead to the discovery of Elliot’s father’s pet, such as his research on the Great Barrier Reef and the artist’s rendering of the HMS Beagle hanging on the wall of their home. A wonderful winter read for children ages 5 and up.

Posted by: Kelly

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