Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for One cool friend
One cool friend


Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, ℗2012.
Physical Description:
1 audio disc (15 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 book (unpaged : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm)
General Note:

Compact disc.

Title from container.

In container (23 cm.).

"With tracks every 3 minutes for easy book marking"--Container.

"The same text is on both tracks. Track 2 has page-turn signals."--Container.

Accompanying book illustrated by David Small.
Elliot, a very proper young man, feels a kinship with the penguins at the aquarium and wants to take one home with him.
Reading Level:
5 years and up.
Added Corporate Author:


Call Number
JP Buzzeo

On Order



One Cool Friend

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Although the proper and mannerly Elliot initially cringes at the idea of mingling with all the other kids at the local aquarium's Family Fun Day, he changes his mind once he spots the penguin exhibit. Elliot, the only boy wearing a tuxedo, is immediately drawn to the penguins, seemingly in their black suits. When he asks his father if he can have a penguin, the man blithely agrees, assuming his son has his eye on one of the plush toys in the gift shop. After smuggling an animal home in his backpack, Elliot proceeds to create a bedroom ice rink for his new friend, named Magellan, and they snack on anchovy pizza and goldfish crackers. The surprise ending occurs when Elliot's father discovers Magellan diving in the bathtub, and readers learn that father, too, has an exotic animal friend of his own. VERDICT Robertson Dean's spot-on narration and Caldecott Honor-winner David Small's black-and-white drawings, with splashes of color here and there, are a perfect match in this humorous tale of misunderstanding.-Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Elliot's father wears a dorky plaid suit and works as some sort of naturalist. He's also pretty absentminded, so when Elliot-a quiet, rosy-cheeked boy who prefers tuxedos-brings home a Magellanic penguin, he doesn't notice. Small's (Elsie's Bird) ink-and-watercolor drawings are as urbane as Elliot's bow tie, and he creates a magnificent mansion for Elliot and his father. Elliot fixes up a bedroom ice rink with the air conditioner and hose, puts Magellan to bed in the freezer, and takes him swimming in the bathtub. Buzzeo (the Adventure Annie books) gives Elliot courtly manners ("Thank you for inviting me" is his response to his father's suggestion they visit the aquarium) and a quick wit. The book's humor is built on gentle misunderstandings between father and son (when Elliot asks for a penguin, his father assumes he means a stuffed one from the aquarium gift shop). Though very much a boy-and-his-pet story, it's just as much about two gentlemen who appear to be orbiting entirely different planets. The revelation that they're not so dissimilar after all is about as sweet as it gets. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Dressed in a black suit and bow tie, Elliot clearly isnt like other kids his age. When his father (himself eccentrically dressed all in green plaid) takes him to the aquarium, Eliot heads for the penguins. "In their tidy black feather tuxedos with their proper posture, they reminded Eliot of himself," which leads him to ask his father for a penguin. Thinking his son wants to buy a plush version, Dad agrees, and Eliot proceeds to pick out a real penguin to take home in his backpack. The story continues as the precocious child must figure out how to feed and care for his new pet, Magellan. As the illustrations reveal, the whole scenario works because the father is so focused on his own obsession with turtles that he is humorously oblivious -- until the surprise ending -- to what Eliot is doing. Inspired by urban legend, Buzzeo has crafted a droll narrative replete with cartoon speech bubbles that add blitheness to the page design. Expanding on the text, Smalls illustrations capture the unusual personalities of this unique father-son duo by hinting at each ones propensity for a particular animal. And the sketched ink and loosely colored illustrations also add an appropriate lighthearted contrast to the genteel lives of Eliot and his father. Suitable for both story time and closer observation, the illustrations (including the comical Magellan) complement the child-friendly premise and will certainly attract young readers to this quirky tale. cynthia k. ritter (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

(Picture book. 6-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Polite, bow-tie-and-suit-wearing Elliot is none too excited when his father suggests attending Family Fun Day at the aquarium. But once he is there, he is drawn to the Magellanic penguins, whose tidy black feather tuxedos with their proper posture remind Elliot of himself. So he decides to sneak one home in his backpack, under his father's seemingly oblivious eye. Once home, Elliot and his new penguin pal dine on frozen anchovy pizzas, share Goldfish crackers, and skate on a mini ice rink in his room (created with a wading pool and hose) all the while his father is blithely engaged with his atlas, maps, and charts and appears not to notice the goings-on. Small's black-and-white line illustrations with pops of soft color are an artful blend of elegance, wit, and whimsy. They echo and complement the text and depict expressive characters, including the playful penguin. This charming picture book has many humorous details throughout, and kids will likely laugh out loud at the surprise ending particularly for the father!--Rosenfeld, Shelle Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

LAST fall, an advertisement in the children's book review journal The Horn Book announced, "We are tired of hearing the picture book is in trouble, and tired of pretending it is not." Signed by 22 writers and illustrators, the proclamation offered an attractive vision for children's literature, including declarations that "a picture book should be fresh, honest, piquant and beautiful," and that "we must cease writing the same book again and again." The Picture Book Manifesto, as the treatise is known, was the brainchild of the author Mac Barnett ("Mustache!"). "I think there's a lot of hand-wringing going on now about the picture book and its place in the market and in our culture," Barnett told Publishers Weekly. "We need to make exciting books that kids will want to read." Those who agree will rejoice in the release of three new picture books by well-established authors and illustrators that attempt to answer that call, including one by Barnett himself. Many memorable picture books rely on the imaginations of both their characters and their readers to transform the ordinary into the remarkable. Continuing that tradition, in each of these titles - "One Cool Friend," written by Toni Buzzeo (known for her "Adventure Annie" books) and illustrated by the Caldecott winner David Small ("Imogene's Antlers" "So You Want to Be President?"); "The Monster Returns," written and illustrated by Peter McCarty ("Henry in Love," "Hondo & Fabian"); and "Extra Yarn," written by Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen ("I Want My Hat Back"), another manifesto signer - the child protagonist demonstrates creativity and resourcefulness that will inspire readers. In the wonderful "One Cool Friend," prim and polite Elliot, who prefers books to "masses of noisy kids," is captivated by penguins during a trip to the aquarium and decides to bring one home in his backpack. Elliot proceeds to turn his room into an ice-skating rink, make a nest in the freezer, and invest in ice cubes and Goldfish crackers to keep his new friend happy. Our hero looks like a penguin himself, sporting a tuxedo and enviable posture, while his father, hunched and in green pajamas, resembles the sea turtles he spends his days researching. Academic curiosity is encouraged in Elliot's home. Naming his penguin Magellan, Elliot bikes to the library to learn more about the breed. Small's energetic colored-pencil;, ink and watercolor illustrations aptly convey the scale and urgency of a child's perspective and provide plenty of playful details leading up to a last-page twist that will delight kids and parents alike. "The Monster Returns" is a welcome stand-alone follow-up to Peter McCarty's "Jeremy Draws a Monster," from 2009. In the first book, reclusive, artistic Jeremy animates a cheerful monster whose incessant demands for hand-drawn entertainment prove exhausting. Eventually, Jeremy draws his monster a one-way bus ticket and sends him on his way. In this sequel, the monster is back, telephoning to announce that he's bored. Jeremy enlists help from the neighborhood children, giving them his "fancy pens" to color more monsters who will keep his original creation happy. Several pages are devoted to revealing these new beasts, and children will enjoy spying the similarities between the monsters and their illustrators. This time, Jeremy uses his imagination to include others, not merely to escape his own loneliness. "Friends for me?" Jeremy's surprised monster asks. "Friends for you and for me," Jeremy says. McCarty's whimsical and wiggly sketches cover the endpapers, which show children and monsters all together, providing an opportunity for young readers to contextualize the story and describe what they see as Jeremy enjoys friendship's rewards. "The Monster Returns" feels less complete than its predecessor, but those who loved Jeremy the first time around will be happy to see him back, with several new monsters to boot. Annabelle, the dexterous heroine of Barnett and Klassen's "Extra Yarn," inhabits a monochrome world of grays and browns until she finds a box of brightly colored yarn in the snow. When the rambow sweater she knits herself is a distraction at her humdrum school, she promises to knit sweaters for the whole class. "Impossible," her teacher says. "You can't." But Annabelle does, and the magical box of yarn just won't run out, even after she knits sweaters for everyone in town, and then for the local animals and buildings. Klassen's illustrations are the most absorbing part of this tale, wrapping Annabelle's sooty, snowy town in mottled color and texture as her knitting progresses. Klassen is known for his concept art for the animated movie "Coraline," and he carries a bit of that film's otherworldliness into bis work here. Alas, the story's central conflict - the interference of a greedy archduke who appears out of nowhere to demand the yarn for himself - feels out of place, as the theme of creativity trumping negativity was already pleasing on its own. The second act also raises more questions than it answers. For example, it's unclear why the archduke wants the yarn. Woven through is a rather grown-up hipster aesthetic, with guerrilla knitting around tree branches and bearded characters who wouldn't look out of place at a Portland indie-rock show. Think of it as Etsy for the grade-school set, well suited to Klassen's moody illustrations and Barnett's emphasis on the felicitous extraordinary. In both "The Monster Returns" and "Extra Yarn," it's largely the characters' creations that burst into color - the drawings by Jeremy and his friends and Annabelle's knitting transform their otherwise dreary homes. All three books are also notable for the beneficent absence of hands-on parenting - Elliot's father reads National Geographic while Elliot explores the aquarium, and we never even meet Jeremy's parents - making space for the child protagonists to flourish creatively. "It is right that anything a child sees, feels, or thinks be our grist," Barnett's picture book manifesto commendably insists, and the resourceful children in these three books will certainly motivate young readers to extend the stories in their own imaginations as they read and reread them. Parents, keep some fancy pens and balls of yarn on hand, and don't forget to check your children's backpacks after field trips to the aquarium. Rachael Brown, a former teacher, has written for The Atlantic and The Guardian.