Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bonus picture book review: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo

I haven't reviewed many picture books here yet.  I read lots of them, of course -- as a children's librarian, they cross my desk regularly.  Last year, I even did a Mock Caldecott program, and I posted about my personal favorites before the Youth Media Awards were announced.  But I rarely spend enough time with them to formulate a review.  However, when one comes along that manages to surprise and delight me, I have to give it a little extra praise.

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small, is one of those books that managed to delight me from the first page to the last.  Elliot, a very proper young man, is polite but slightly disinterested when his father suggests that they attend Family Fun Day at the aquarium. "Kids, masses of noisy kids," Elliot thinks -- and proves to be correct.  As Elliot's absentminded father sits on a bench and reads his magazine, Elliot bypasses several crowded exhibits until he discovers the penguin display.  The penguins appeal to his sensibilities . . . so he takes one home.

This was all reminding me of My Penguin Osbert, a book that I enjoy reading at post-Christmas storytimes, but One Cool Friend gets bonus points for humor and a twist at the end that made me laugh out loud.  The interplay between the text and the pictures is flawless -- I was particularly impressed at the way David Small makes the character of Elliot's father come to life on the pages of the book.  Kids and adults alike will appreciate this story, and I'll definitely be using it as a read-aloud in the future!

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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