Friend Friday

I have one cool friend in Toni Buzzeo, whose One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, received a 2012 Caldecott Honor.

Today, however, I want to celebrate Toni’s brand-new book, Just Like My Papa, a companion to her 2012 book, Stay Close to Mama, both warmly illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.

Any little one eager to grow up to be big like Papa will connect with Kito’s impatience to be king of the savanna. Toni weaves factual information about lions into this loving family story.

Here is what SLJ has to say: The pacing is superb, with the right amount of drama for the youngest readers yet awash with reassuring paternal love and care for young Kito.”


Here is what Kirkus says:  Children and their parents will appreciate this intimate look at this wild feline pair.” 

And here is what Toni herself has to say about her new book: 

Lucky me! I wrote Just Like My Papa on the request of my editor.  (An editor’s request is something of an author’s dream). 
She’d loved the Mama-and-baby aspect of Stay Close to Mama about a pair of giraffes on the east African savannah and was hoping for a Papa-and-baby companion. Like any good librarian and author-researcher, I said that I’d dig in and find a likely father-and-child pair, one where the father sticks around to interact with the child.
But she’d already thought about that. “What about lions?” she asked.
I was reluctant. “Don’t male lions—errr—threaten cubs?” I asked.
No, as it happens, they don’t, so long as those cubs are their own (thank goodness)! As I researched and learned more about the fierce giant cats I’d watched on the savannah in Kenya, I realized that lion fathers do stick around and sometimes interact playfully with their cubs. That was the reassurance I needed that my little cub character, Kito, and his father, the King, might have a lovely and nurturing relationship, not unlike the relationship between my son Topher and my husband Ken. Kito wants to grow up to be just like his papa, the King, and he practices those skills at every turn.
This month I’m excited to be launching Just Like My Papa, the second book in a trilogy of companion books from Hyperion. It’s a perfect Father’s Day book.
Watch for the third book in 2014 featuring an elephant baby and her grandmother, the matriarch.

Don’t miss this: there’s a curriculum
guide and reader’s theater script on Toni’s website!