This is a delightful story that I think should be a first choice purchase. This is one of those rare books in which the illustrations provide a story of their own. Think Officer Buckle and Gloria and you’ll see what I mean. It is as if Toni and David are winking and grinning at the reader throughout the tale and we are happily in on the joke. Elliot is instantly likeable and his father jovially oblivious. I love the fact that Toni, a school librarian herself, included a visit to the library so that Elliot can do some research on his “cool friend.” The look on the librarian’s face as Elliot asks for help is priceless and her assistance in accessing both print and online resources is a nice touch.
This is not just for elementary schools, folks. There are so many extension activities you could do with this title in both middle and high school writing or art classes. The idea of the illustrations telling a different dimension of the story would make an interesting introduction to a unit on graphic novels or video production. The subtle but important touches that Small adds to his drawings could lead to a discussion of book cover design or inference or visual storytelling. The only limits are the creativity of the educator!
I highly recommend One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo illustrated by David Small. It will make a wonderful addition to any library!