What is "normal?" That's the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly "normal" subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. He speaks English, sleeps in a bed, loves his stuffed toy, goes bananas over pizza, and even deep-sea dives! Oh, no: what's a "normal" scientist to do? A humorous look at the wackiness that makes us all special— and a gentle reminder that "normal" can't ever be defined!
About the Author
Tara Lazar lives in Basking Ridge, NJ, with her husband, two daughters, and 2,749 stuffed animals. She’s the author of The Monstore, I Thought This Was a Bear Book (both Simon & Schuster), and Little Red Gliding Hood (Random House). Tara founded Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), an annual online writing event held on her award-winning blog at taralazar.wordpress.com, which has hundreds of registered users and receives tens of thousands of blog hits. S.britt (AKA Stephan Britt) first developed his zeal for drawing in childhood, when he drew on anything and everything that wasn’t dripping wet. His first picture book, Over In the Hollow (Chronicle), was a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best. Stephan lives in Portland, OR. Visit him online at sbritt.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Of course Norman is the main character and he is aptly brought to delicious life by the illustrator who has used the un-normal coloration of blueish-purple and golds to help Norman in his un-normal way to stand out. I love the little girl scientist who is a first-time book narrator and "scientist" who is trying to define normal in her book. She is unidentified and is only, "I." (But let's get a shout-out and an encouraging nod to all the little girl would-be scientists and encourage the little girls to pursue the fields of STEM: Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics.) "I" our narrator is being graded by the head scientist who is an adult male with a beard . And in the end he gives "I" a passing grade because she recognizes that normal cannot be defined. Our little girl scientist goes about observing, recording, and drawing conclusions as she tries to define Normal Norman. (All a part of the scientific process.) Using this book, a teacher or parent can encourage children to recognize that which is normal to one individual or community might not be normal to another and that we are each valued individuals. This is a charmingly engaging book with the illustrator using bold black lines and strong pastels for the art work. (Well, using pastels and strong in the same sentence seems to be un-normal, doesn't it?) I love the little girl. I love the big, lumbering gorilla in his purplish colors hugging his favorite stuffed critter. And I love the way the author encourages us to embrace the ordinary, the regular, the common everyday people and critters around us. DISCLOSURE: I was provided a copy by the publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I was not compensated for the review.