One Cool Friend

One Cool Friend
Illustrated by David Small, Written by Toni Buzzeo

Publisher’s Summary:
‘May I please have a penguin?’

Elliot asks his father during a visit to the aquarium. His father thinks he must mean a stuffed animal rather than a pet, because he simply answers, ‘Sure,’ and hands over a twenty-dollar bill.

And so begins the sly, silly tale of an irresistible friendship. Caldecott Medalist David Small and acclaimed storyteller Toni Buzzeo revel in the mischief, and kids will too.

Primary Source Pairing:
Elliot and Magellan the penguin are a perfect match. Their proper attire, posture, and manners complement each other. For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze a photograph of the Magellanic penguin, which was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. For an extension activity, research the Magellanic Penguin and compare it to Magellan in the book.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • How does the photograph of the penguin compare to Magellan in the book One Cool Friend?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Magellanic Penguin Image: Wikimedia Commons

To learn more about the Magellanic Penguin, visit