What is normal anyway? Is there even an answer? This is the question that the fabulous Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt, seeks to answer, and it handles this important inquiry with tact, ingenuity, and a whole lot of humor. It’s hard not to lighten the profundity of this question when one of the stars of this book is a giant purple orangutan with equally giant glasses.
In Normal Norman, an eager junior scientist sets out to find an answer to this question, as she is narrating a book that will give definition to the word normal. But what happens when her subject, Norman, is an orangutan who goes against the grain and does things quite differently than she expects? The result is witty and smart, imparting the notion that being different, and just being yourself, is the most precious gift.
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There is just so much to love about Normal Norman, I could go on and on. The illustrations are fantastic and child friendly. They are vibrant, engaging and so expressive, with Norman’s reactions to some of the child’s questions and actions laugh out loud funny. Norman’s outrageousness is the perfect contrast to the scientist’s studious nature, and when their interactions derail her experiment, you can’t help but cheer for a harmonious reconciliation between the two, however that may happen. This is a phenomenal book to spark what could be some challenging discussions with your kids. What makes someone “normal,” and is that term even something capable of definition? What if someone is “different” than you expect them to be- what should you do? Why do people fear difference so much? “Differences” have the ability to foster knowledge, breed understanding, and create magic… if only our world would allow for that to happen. Normal Norman is a gift to parents who want to raise compassionate children- children who not just respect difference, but embrace the beauty of diversity. Thank you, Tara Lazar, for this treasure. I know it is one we will come back to again and again.
Want the book? Get it here! Normal Norman, by Tara Lazar.