About the Holiday
Today’s holiday encourages people to throw caution to the wind and embrace who they really are and what they have always wanted to do. It’s a day to overcome fears and doubts to accomplish the large and small things that will make life better. To celebrate, seize the day, do that thing—you know which one—and the best you you can be!
Bloomsbury sent me a copy of Perfectly Norman to check out. All opinions are my own. I’m excited to be partnering with Bloomsbury for a giveaway of a copy of Perfectly Norman! See details below.
By Tom Percival
“Norman had always been normal—perfectly normal.” He liked to hang out with his friends and eat ice cream cones and fly kites. “Until one day … he grew a pair of wings!” When Norman thought about all the ways he might grow as he got older, he never imagined that he would sprout wings. But since he had them, he thought it was kind of cool and he took off immediately to try flying.
He was having tremendous fun soaring and diving, but then he heard his parents calling him in for dinner. Suddenly, Norman had doubts. “You see, Norman had always been so normal he didn’t know how his parents would feel about his extraordinary wings.” As soon as he walked in the door he put on his coat to cover them up. While his parents didn’t see his wings, they did wonder why he was wearing his coat inside.
“Norman had decided that no one should see his wings—ever, even if it made bathtime and bedtime difficult. The coat was sweltering, making it hard to play with his friends, ride in the car, swim at the pool, and even friends’ birthday parties were impossible. Now, Norman only felt normal on rainy days. One day, after Norman barely escaped having a boy pull his coat off, he was so angry and sad that he “wished he’d never grown those stupid wings.”
Then, as Norman watched some birds flying overhead, he remembered how joyous his flight had been. He realized that it wasn’t the wings but the coat that was the real problem. When his parents suggested that he remove the coat, he did “and let his wonderful wings fan out.” He soared into the air. From above he saw other children wearing coats. They gazed at Norman and then glanced at each other. In a moment they dropped their coats and took to the air. “Whoosh! The sky was filled with flying people!”
Norman felt happier than ever before as he understood that “there was no such thing as perfectly normal.” But “perfectly Norman?” That felt just right.
Tom Percival’s celebration of what it means to be human is moving reassurance for children who—for whatever reason—feel different from the rest. Percival’s pacing—transitioning from “normal” to “not” with a page turn—mirrors the kinds of sudden realizations, doubts, and fears that many children experience. Norman’s attempts to hide his wings as well as the results this brings will also resonate with kids. Norman’s realization that it is external forces, not himself, that is making him miserable is a powerful and empowering moment for both children and adults. The recognition that Norman’s wings are what makes him uniquely him should encourage young readers to take off their own coats and soar.
In poignantly metaphorical imagery, Percival spotlights a colorful Norman against black-and-white backgrounds—hinting at first of the coming change and then demonstrating Norman’s feelings of difference and isolation. While color surrounds Norman when he gets his wings and tries them out, full-color spreads come when Norman flies with outspread wings. Norman’s facial expressions are clear, and Norman’s parents—an interracial couple—show their son love and support as well as space to come to his own understanding, The last spread of the sky filled with flying children will excite and cheer readers.
An important story beautifully told, Perfectly Norman should be in every home and classroom library to inspire children to spread their wings.
Ages 4 – 8 and up
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018 | ISBN 978-1681197852
Discover more about Tom Percival, his books, and his art on his website.
Take off with this Perfectly Norman book trailer!
Perfectly Norman Giveaway!
I’m thrilled to partner with Bloomsbury Children’s Books to offer a giveaway of:
- One (1) copy of Perfectly Norman
To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter and Retweet one of my giveaway tweets during this week, July 26 – 30.
A winner will be chosen on July 31.
Giveaways open to US addresses only | Prizing provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
National All or Nothing Day Activity
Color Your Wings!
What color are your wings? Use these printable wing templates to show your special colors!
You can find Perfectly Norman at these booksellers
Picture Book Review