Kelly Bennett loves fish. "Fish are fun and funny," she says. "Just
watching them makes me laugh." When she's not writing, Kelly
creates tile mosaics and digs in her garden. She has two grown
children, Max and Lexi, and lives in Texas with her husband,
Curtis, and their goldfish-whom she would never trade.
Noah Z. Jones loves drawing fish of all shapes and sizes, but especially smallish orange ones named Norman. This is his first children's book. He lives in coastal Maine with his wife, Diane, and their tuna-lovin' cat, Mabel.
To say that Norman the goldfish is a disappointing birthday present is putting it mildly. "I wanted a different kind of pet," the unnamed boy narrator grumbles as he stares into the bowl. "Not Norman." In fact, Norman is one big refutation of what defines a pet: the fish can't cuddle, doesn't exude coolness and won't fetch. "All Norman does is swim around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around...." Little by little, however, the boy is won over by Norman's vulnerability (when the hero cleans the "gunky" green stuff from Norman's bowl, the bright orange fish literally jumps for joy), finny winsomeness and steadfastness (especially on one particularly spooky night). This emotional turnaround never feels forced or pat, thanks to a strong partnership between Bennett's text and newcomer Jones's artwork. The off-the-cuff yet kidlike prose ideally suits the bright, crisp digital drawings, which resemble the kicky, stylized animation found on Cartoon Network. By the time the boy declares, "[E]ven if I could pick any pet in the whole world, I wouldn't trade him. Not Norman," readers will cheer the birth of a beautiful friendship. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
K-Gr 2-A little boy is sorely disappointed when he receives a goldfish for his birthday. "I wanted a pet who could run and catch. Or one who could climb trees and chase strings. A soft, furry pet to sleep on my bed at night. Not Norman." However, as Norman performs acrobatics and makes the child laugh, listens attentively during his show-and-tell presentation when the rest of the class does not, sings along during band practice, and comforts him when he is awakened by a scary noise at night, the boy comes to love and appreciate the pet he at first disdained. The story is told in simple, straightforward language, and the clear lines and vibrant colors of the digital graphics are reminiscent of Taro Gomi's work. This is a sweet story that could be used as a springboard to discussion of the pitfalls of making snap judgments about pets-or people.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This eye-catching book makes a satisfying read-aloud choice for pet
day or any day.
This emotional turnaround never feels forced or pat, thanks to a strong partnership between Bennett's text and newcomer Jones's artwork. The off-the-cuff yet kidlike prose ideally suits the bright, crisp, digital drawings.
An inventive interpretation of the old adage 'Don't judge a book by its cover,' NOT NORMAN is the perfect book for dog-resistant parents to read to their puppy-worshipping kids-as long as they're willing to take on a new goldfish or two.
-Time Out New York Kids