Perfectly Norman

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       September 22, 2017


Author  Tom Percival. Ill: Tom Percival

Distributor:      Bloomsbury
ISBN:                 9781408880968
Publisher:         Bloomsbury Children
Release Date:   September 2017  


It is an almost an intrinsic desire for most children to consider themselves as normal. Norman was no different, and led a happy, comfortable life, until one day he grew wings. After the shock of his discovery, he decided not to waste this opportunity, and tested his wings up high in the sky. What a fantastic feeling that was! He flew and flew. However, when he arrived home that night he felt unsure about revealing his new body parts and put on a heavy parker to conceal his wings. His parents were quite surprised at his determination to wear his coat, but allowed him the freedom to choose.

 Life was not much fun after that, as the coat was quite hot and uncomfortable. Some kids tried to take it off him, and he couldn’t swim in the pool at all. Life became distressingly sad, until Norman realized it wasn’t the wings that were making him so unhappy as he had had a marvellous time flying and swooping in the air. No, it was the coat that was making him unhappy. Bravely the boy decided to remove his coat and fly and be free again. He was watched by many startled children, and gradually several of them began to discard their coats and reveal wings as well.

 What fun they had, swooping, and diving around in the air. Ahhh! The freedom and the fun! It is here that Norman decides that there is no such thing as “Perfectly Normal,” but he was “Perfectly Norman,” and that was just fine. What a great message for children to learn. We are all different, and it is OK to know that, but many children, helped by advertising and peer pressure, struggle with the concept of being different.

 For a picture book to have a strong message and an appealing layout is a fine thing. The cover of this book is delightfully coloured in bright orange, while the first few pages are muted shades. Everything is just normal. It is when Norman develops his wings that the pages become more colourful, and the text begins to be broken into segments. Smaller illustrations show us that Norman thought he would grow taller, or a beard, but never imagined he would have wings. The text size varies accordingly until it is huge, like Norman, covering the sky. A most enjoyable and satisfying read with a strong message.