One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small (Dial Books, 2012) features a very proper boy who adopts a very proper-looking kind of animal, a penguin. With his father always distracted inside of a book or newspaper, Elliot seems to be going about it without his father understanding. For example, Elliot very politely takes a hose to his room and sets the thermostat on low so Magellan the penguin can learn to skate. At the end of the book, there is a surprise waiting for the reader!
The illustrations are perfect: the pen and ink gives it a cool feel (perfect for a penguin book!) and the watercolor and colored pencil additions give it a little bit of life that make it simple adorable.
Kid thoughts (age 5): “I didn’t like that one because his dad didn’t stay by him.” (We’ve had a number of stranger danger conversations, and he was concerned that his dad wasn’t paying enough attention…)
Caldecott Honor 2013