Official Review: Norman by Michelle Olson

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bookowlie
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Official Review: Norman by Michelle Olson

Post by bookowlie » 18 Nov 2018, 12:51

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Norman" by Michelle Olson.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Norman is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Michelle Olson. The main character, Norman, is a red button on a coat. He feels useful having the important function of keeping the coat closed; this way the person wearing the coat stays warm. Norman likes feeling needed until one day the thread attaching him gets loose and he falls off the coat. He goes in search of another “job” which leads to some humorous adventures.

I can honestly say I have never read a story before that featured a button. The concept is quite original, although a few of the plot points are a bit subtle for a young child. For example, Norman tries to become a plumber, but his holes (remember, he is a button!) are a hindrance when trying to plug up a leak. If it’s not apparent without an illustration, the water shoots through the button. Norman also attempts to be a photographer, but his vantage point is very low due to his small stature. As a result, the photos he takes are all things low to the ground, such as a sewer cover or fallen leaf. The phrasing in this passage, “being small really limits your viewpoint,” may be too advanced for a child to comprehend.

The overall theme of the book is very relatable. It is better to be who you are, rather than try to be someone else. I liked that the book had a clear problem, with a plot that follows along toward a resolution. This type of traditional plot is helpful for young children who are learning how to understand cause and effect in a story. In addition, a positive message is emphasized, that everyone has their own special abilities.

The illustrations clearly depict the actions described in the text and add depth to the story. The author does a wonderful job of placing facial expressions and limbs on a button against various photographic backgrounds. One of the cutest pictures shows Norman wearing green underwear and a handmade superhero cape with an “N” on the back. I also liked that the previous illustration displayed a sewing machine and fabric as it would help children infer where the cape came from. This type of picture clue can teach a child inference skills which are important in reading comprehension.

The story would be fairly easy for a child to follow. A few of the word choices are too sophisticated for young children - for example, flammable, perspective, limit, and foiling. Still, parents or teachers could explain the meaning of the words which would expand a child’s vocabulary.

I am pleased to award a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. With a likable main character and universal moral, the book provides an entertaining way to build confidence in kids. I would recommend it to children ages 4-9. Children who are older than 9 years old might also enjoy the humorous parts, but would likely be more interested in a longer, more detailed story vs. a short picture book.

******
Norman
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Post by kandscreeley » 19 Nov 2018, 09:54

Awww! Norman sounds wonderful. I love that after he is no longer on the coat, he still wants to find some way to be useful. Thanks so much for another great review.
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Post by Hardeolar » 19 Nov 2018, 12:45

Quiet a funny book. Great review. Will check it out and see if I can read it to my kid.

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Post by bookowlie » 19 Nov 2018, 16:31

Thanks Kandscreelet and Hardeolar for the feedback! I like when a children's book is funny, but also has a positive lesson.
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Post by T_stone » 19 Nov 2018, 18:49

A good children's book with likeable characters sounds like a fun book to read. Thanks for the very detailed review.
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Post by Miriam Molina » 19 Nov 2018, 19:45

What a charming character! I hope Norman found his rightful place in the end.

How come these cute books never appear among my options?

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Post by gali » 19 Nov 2018, 23:20

A story that features a button? Lol. It sounds like a cute book for kids, nonetheless. The concept of a button that searches for a job sure is original. Clear message, good illustrations, and likable main character makes it a worthy read. Great review as always!
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Post by fredrick otieno » 20 Nov 2018, 03:58

such a great book for children especially for those who are beginning to grasp life lessons.

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Post by CambaReviewer » 20 Nov 2018, 08:56

Thanks for a very candid review. I like the theme of the book about believing in oneself and being authentic. Children struggle with self-esteem issues and anything to encourage them to be themselves is helpful. I will be reading this!

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Post by bookowlie » 20 Nov 2018, 09:36

Thanks everyone! It's really a cute story. I loved the tie-in with the limitations of being a button since we all have limitations as well as strengths.
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Post by Bianka Walter » 20 Nov 2018, 10:29

This is a very cool concept! A story about a button... who would've thought that could work?
I loved your review!
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Post by kfwilson6 » 21 Nov 2018, 09:24

I love the point you made that children should learn how to infer information. I think the concept of this book is so fun. Norman seems like a hoot :)

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Post by gen_g » 23 Nov 2018, 10:40

This is such a unique concept! I love the idea of a button being a main character; that is certainly not seen often. It sounds like a great book for children. Thanks for the review!

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Post by MsTri » 26 Nov 2018, 22:29

I've never really grown up, so I still adore children's stories, and this one sounds so amusing and fun! The examples you gave really pulled me in, and I hope that Norman once again found himself on the coat by the tale's end. Thanks for an entrancing read and book introduction.

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