Norman the Doorman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140502886
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1989
  • Series: Picture Puffin Books Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 332,384
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. At an early age, he received a trumpet as a gift from his father. He practiced obsessively and eventually joined a California dance band. After graduating from high school, he ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students' League. He managed to support himself throughout his schooling by playing his trumpet evenings, in nightclubs and at weddings.

Gradually, he eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune. This shift was helped along, in no small part, by a rather heartbreaking incident: he lost his trumpet. One evening, he was so engrossed in sketching people on the subway, he simply forgot it was sitting on the seat beside him. This new career turned out to be a near-perfect fit for Don, though, as he had always loved the theater.

He was introduced to the world of children’s literature when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books. Soon after, he began to write and illustrate his own books, a career he settled into comfortably and happily. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater: "I love the flow of turning the pages, the suspense of what's next. Ideas just come at me and after me. It's all so natural. I work all the time, long into the night, and it's such a pleasure. I don't know when the time ends. I've never been happier in my life!"

Don died in 1978, after a long and successful career. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them a stuffed, overall-wearing bear named Corduroy.

Don Freeman was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2001

    Elegant Soft Pastels Highlight Warm, Artistic Mouse Humor!

    This book is a visual and literary play on the ever-inspiring animal name of dormouse. These are a kind of rodent that in some ways resemble a squirrel. Every humor writer who has ever seen that name has wanted to have fun with it. The wonderful Don Freeman (of Corduroy fame) takes that artistic license one step further by building a Horatio Alger story around his door mouse and doing his own renditions of paintings and sculptures in this beautiful volume. Puns and fun abound, so keep an eye out for them! Norman is clearly a door mouse, he even has a door mouse's uniform (just like those you see on Park Avenue in New York). His door is around the back of the Majestic Museum of Art. It is well hidden, and he brings in small creatures that way for tours of the art works in the museum's basement. In addition to his docent duties, he has established a studio in the helmet of some old armor, using the visor as a skylight. From there, he paints and sculpts. Life does present challenges though, because the sharp-eyed upstairs guard is always setting traps with cheese. Norman is able to disable them, and brings the spare parts to his home. The story develops when one day Norman notices that there is a sculpture competition going on. Using mouse trap parts, he makes his own sculpture and names it punnily trapeese (trap and cheese being the sources) because it appears to be a mouse doing acrobatics holding onto a high wire. Norman drags his sculpture into the room where the competition is being held, without being seen. Then the fun begins! The story ends with one final pun. 'Good Knight.' The plot is a very rewarding one, creating the sort of inspiration that books about 'little engines that could' do. I have always been impressed with friends who could make a lot out of a little. It's a gift I do not have. This book is a worthy example of that principle. You can extend the lesson by discussing with your child how she or he might create something wonderful out of something else, including 'junk.' Art lovers will find the illustrations to be a great treat. Mr. Freeman has created wonderful reproductions of works by many major artists, which he sneaks into scenes of Norman in the museum. I was particularly impressed by one Miro, where even the signature is faithfully reproduced in pastels. You can also use this story to suggest going to an art museum. You can even go around the base of the building to see if you can find any door mice, or holes where they might be hiding. This can help you find arts wherever you go! However you decide to use this book, I encourage you to renew your artistic license so you can explore the world of created beauty with your children and grandchildren in museums! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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