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Norman the Doorman (Picture Puffins) Paperback – October 6, 1989


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. At an early age, he received a trumpet as a gift from his father. He practiced obsessively and eventually joined a California dance band. After graduating from high school, he ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students' League. He managed to support himself throughout his schooling by playing his trumpet evenings, in nightclubs and at weddings.

Gradually, he eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune. This shift was helped along, in no small part, by a rather heartbreaking incident: he lost his trumpet. One evening, he was so engrossed in sketching people on the subway, he simply forgot it was sitting on the seat beside him. This new career turned out to be a near-perfect fit for Don, though, as he had always loved the theater.

He was introduced to the world of children’s literature when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books. Soon after, he began to write and illustrate his own books, a career he settled into comfortably and happily. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater: "I love the flow of turning the pages, the suspense of what's next. Ideas just come at me and after me. It's all so natural. I work all the time, long into the night, and it's such a pleasure. I don't know when the time ends. I've never been happier in my life!"

Don died in 1978, after a long and successful career. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them a stuffed, overall-wearing bear named Corduroy.

Don Freeman was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (October 6, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140502882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140502886
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Freeman was born in San Diego, California, in 1908. At an early age, he received a trumpet as a gift from his father. He practiced obsessively and eventually joined a California danceband. After graduating from high school, he ventured to New York City to study art under the tutelage of Joan Sloan and Harry Wickey at the Art Students' League. He managed to support himself throughout his schooling by playing his trumpet evenings, in nightclubs and at weddings.
Gradually, he eased into making a living sketching impressions of Broadway shows for The New York Times and The Herald Tribune. This shift was helped along, in no small part, by a rather heartbreaking incident; he lost his trumpet. One evening, he was so engrossed in sketching people on the subway, he simply forgot it was sitting on the seat beside him. This new career turned out to be a near-perfect fit for Don, though, as he had always loved the theater.

He was introduced to the world of Childrens' Literature, when William Saroyan asked him to illustrate several books. Soon after, he began to write and illustrate his own books, a career he settled into comfortably and happily. Through his writing, he was able to create his own theater: "I love the flow of turning the pages, the suspense of what's next. Ideas just come at me and after me. It's all so natural. I work all the time, long into the night, and it's such a pleasure. I don't know when the time ends. I've never been happier in my life!"

Don died in 1978, after a long and successful career. He created many beloved characters in his lifetime, perhaps the most beloved among them a stuffed, overall-wearing bear, named Corduroy.

Don Freeman was the author and illustrator of many popular books for children, including Corduroy, A Pocket for Corduroy, and the Caldecott Honor Book Fly High, Fly Low.

Customer Reviews

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I love all of Don Freeman's books.
Dianne
Mr. Freeman has created wonderful reproductions of works by many major artists, which he sneaks into scenes of Norman in the museum.
Donald Mitchell
I remember this book when I was a child, and the many hoursspent gazing at the pictures.
A READER

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: School & Library Binding
This book is a visual and literary play on the ever-inspiring animal name of dormouse. These are a kind of rodent that in some ways resemble a squirrel. Every humor writer who has ever seen that name has wanted to have fun with it. The wonderful Don Freeman (of Corduroy fame) takes that artistic license one step further by building a Horatio Alger story around his door mouse and doing his own renditions of paintings and sculptures in this beautiful volume. Puns and fun abound, so keep an eye out for them!
Norman is clearly a door mouse, he even has a door mouse's uniform (just like those you see on Park Avenue in New York). His door is around the back of the Majestic Museum of Art. It is well hidden, and he brings in small creatures that way for tours of the art works in the museum's basement. In addition to his docent duties, he has established a studio in the helmet of some old armor, using the visor as a skylight. From there, he paints and sculpts. Life does present challenges though, because the sharp-eyed upstairs guard is always setting traps with cheese. Norman is able to disable them, and brings the spare parts to his home.
The story develops when one day Norman notices that there is a sculpture competition going on. Using mouse trap parts, he makes his own sculpture and names it punnily trapeese (trap and cheese being the sources) because it appears to be a mouse doing acrobatics holding onto a high wire.
Norman drags his sculpture into the room where the competition is being held, without being seen. Then the fun begins!
The story ends with one final pun. "Good Knight."
The plot is a very rewarding one, creating the sort of inspiration that books about "little engines that could" do.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Norman the door-mouse welcomes discriminating rodents to view the paintings and sculptures stored in the basement of the Majestic museum. In his spare time, Norman has his own studio in a knight's helmet, which is also a good hiding place from the security guard! He cleverly uses an old mousetrap to create his own wire sculpture of a mouse swinging on a mousetrap, and enters it into a museum competition. There's a lot of visual humor, and Freeman makes the whole tuxedo-ed affair look fun and interesting, and there's a suspenseful subplot involving the guard trying to find Norman. (No animals were injured in the writing of the book.) There's a nice warm simplicity to Freeman's soft but colorful pastel illustrations; they're drawn with such ease that both they and the story may stimulate your own creative energy. Another excellent book from Freeman!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
A story of art appreciation and how it's possible for even a little mouse to be an artist. Norman has an important job as the doorman to the Majestic Art Museum where he lets mice in and tours them around the basement of the Art museum where there are many treasures. He acts as security guard, curator and tour guide for his portion of the museum and he takes great care and pride in each artifact. The only thing that causes a stir in the basement is when the sharp-eyed guard from the main museum comes down to set traps for the mice. Norman is clever and he has figured a way to take the cheese from the traps and set them off without hurting a whisker. His home is in the knight's helmet where he has a very comfortable setup and he spends his free time creating artwork. One day he decides to make a sculpture from the old traps and picture hanging wire. When he has finished his creation he is delighted and proud. Early the next morning he see a sign announcing a sculpture contest. Norman is very excited. He runs back in and titles his sculpture "Trapeese". Then he painstakingly carries it up the steps, through the main floor of the museum and puts his sculpture with the others. Norman was proud of his efforts. Once he got back home he sewed some buttons on his jacket and went about the business of being a doorman. Upstairs in the main hall everyone is talking about his sculpture and who had entered it. The judges questioned the guards about who had brought in the sculpture but none of them knew. When the sharp-eyed guard looked closer he figured that one of his mousetraps had been used for the sculpture. Downstairs he went into the basement, where he found Norman's home.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Debra Collier on January 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a children's librarian, I highly recommend this classic tale of kindness by Don Freeman. I purchased this book to send to a very kind and polite student at Brown University! Our world needs to be reminded that random acts of kindness and politeness, like holding a door make life more enjoyable for all. Hooray for all of the door holders throughout the world!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A READER on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
I remember this book when I was a child, and the many hoursspent gazing at the pictures. Norman is a mouse who has a cool pad inthe helmet of an old armor stored in the basement of a museum. He enters an art contest sponsored by the museum and wins. When my two year old turns four, he will receive it for his birthday.
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