Saturday, May 25, 2013

One Cool Friend

One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and Illustrated by David Small was a Caldecott Honor book this year.  I really enjoyed the pictures in One Cool Friend.  I think Small did a great job keeping the pictures simple with a lot of black, white, and grays, but they were still fun with splashes of color here and there to enhance and bring notice to sections.  Plus, Small did a great job of using the pictures to make the cute story even better.  I can definitely see why he earned a Caldecott Honor with this book.

All in all, I would give this picture book a 5 out of 5 stars.  The story line is great, the pictures are great, and there is a fun surprise at the end.  Both boys and girls will like this story, and as a librarian I am all about finding great read aloud books.  I think this book would be a perfect read aloud.  A librarian or teacher or parent could have a lot of fun reading this book.  I know I have!

As far as lesson ideas go, there is a lot you could do with this one.  You could use it as a way to start talking about research and how to do research.  This would be perfect for the younger grades I think (1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade).  You could also use this book for most of the 6 traits of writing.  A creative teacher or librarian could make this work in so many ways.  For example, Buzzeo does a great job with word choice and using good descriptive words in the story.  The story also has speech bubbles that give it a fun format, but it still is an easy format to understand.  Plus, the story talks about explorers.  So the 6th grade curriculum (maybe, I could be wrong, it could be 4th or 5th grade) that talks about explorers could use this book to introduce Magellan or Captain Cook as well as some geography.  Just a couple fun ideas for the book; there are so many more you could use.  If you think of more please share.  I love to hear other lesson ideas.    

Amazon had the following book description:

"When well-mannered Elliot reluctantly visits the aquarium with his distractible father, he politely asks whether he can have a penguin--and then removes one from the penguin pool to his backpack. The fun of caring for a penguin in a New England Victorian house is followed by a surprise revelation by Elliot's father."

If you want to know what the surprise revelation is you'll have to read the story. I honestly did not pick up on it until it was told, and I loved it.  Now, when I reread the story I see clues here and there; the little clues make it fun for older kids to enjoy over and over again.

One Cool Friend is a really fun read for the young and old.  Go check it out!

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