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Not Norman [Kindle Edition]

Kelly Bennett , Noah Z. Jones
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. He wanted a different kind of pet — one that could run and catch, or chase string and climb trees, a soft furry pet to sleep on his bed at night. Definitely not Norman. But when he tries to trade Norman for a "good pet," things don’t go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought? With wry humor and lighthearted affection, author Kelly Bennett and illustrator Noah Z. Jones tell an unexpected — and positively fishy — tale about finding the good in something you didn’t know
you wanted.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 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

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. The African American boy who narrates this boy-meets-fish story wants a pet for his birthday, but not a goldfish. Too bad. Though he suspects that Norman is the lamest, tamest pet around, he takes his fish to school to "talk him up real good during Show-and-Tell" in hopes that someone else will want him. But after cleaning Norman's bowl, rescuing him from puppies, and noticing that Norman listens to him talk and even quiets his fear of night noises, he realizes that there is no pet he would rather have. Repeated several times during the story, the title phrase "Not Norman" takes on a new shade of meaning in the verbally clever turnaround that concludes this amusing picture book. Distilled to essential shapes and flat colors, the lively digital artwork expresses both action and emotion with flair. This eye-catching book makes a satisfying read-aloud choice for pet day or any day. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1159 KB
  • Print Length: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press; Reprint edition (December 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006P7PUX4
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,998 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and funny, glug, glug, fish... June 1, 2005
Goldfish are not exactly exciting, and the boy in this story had dreamt of a different pet: "One who could run and catch. Or one who could climb trees and chase strings."

But alas, he's received Norman, "a sorry-looking fish in a gunky bowl." If he takes Norman to show-and-tell, will someone want to swap with him? No ... but soon Norman's quiet, reassuring presence is making the boy's heart flip. He decides he wouldn't trade Norman for "any pet in the whole world."

The phrase "Not Norman," bookmarks the story, and in a clever twist it means one thing at the beginning and just the opposite at the end.

In his first children's book, Jones' expressive illustrations of boy and fish accentuate the story's silly side. He depicts Norman blowing bubbles, smiling at the boy, boogeying to his tuba playing. The cover illustration plays with shapes-the boy's head mirrors the fishbowl's dimensions. As the boy peers through the bowl, we can see his eyes-and a floating Norman takes the place of his mouth and nose.

The author is quoted on the leaf: "Fish are fun and funny. Just watching them makes me laugh." She and Jones have succeeded, glug, glug, in communicating fondness for the humble goldfish.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable! April 9, 2005
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story is a lovely story about a little boy who really wants a more interactive pet. Instead, he gets a pet that is always there for him, is always attentive and is always awake!!!! Unconditional love! This is a fun read for kids and it has clear concise pictures for children to enjoy!!! Great book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Norman is awesome! March 22, 2008
Be forewarned...your kids may want a goldfish. But that's far easier to do than the MANY books out there that have kids begging for dogs. :)

This book is just so cute. The story itself as well as the delightful illustrations. My kids just giggled and giggled while I was reading. They even laughed harder at Norman's version of events. As an amazing bonus, the author, Kelly Bennet, wrote a version of the story from Norman's point of view.

It is simply adorable and after hearing Norman so many times the kids just rolled on the floor howling at Norman's story. Read it and you'll even find out the unnamed boy in the story is called Curtis. There you'll also find activities and teacher guides for Not Norman. Great resource we came by unexpectantly while researching this author (to see if she had any more great books!)

Best thing about this book is the message that you just might find something good in the place least expected. I hope you enjoy Not Norman as much as my kiddies!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glug Glug Norman January 11, 2008
This book is wonderful. We checked it out from the Library and now I plan on buying for all the children on my birthday list. My 2 1/2 year old son insist that we read it at least twice a day and sometimes more. I even checked it out for his school library and I am sure he is also reading it at school.
This book is wonderful. My son knows when to say Not Norman and some of the other simple text in the book. The pictures are wonderful. This is just an all around wonderful book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow... I had to go buy a goldfish! May 6, 2008
I bought this book, along with about 10 others, for my 21 month old daughter. She is a big "reader", but she won't go to sleep without reading it at least twice. She loves it so much, that I took her to buy a goldfish yesterday, and she immediately started calling it "Norman" (without my prompting). And, when it's near our mealtime (and I know she's getting hungry), she associates that feeling with the fish, and asks me to feed him. Unbelievable. Thank you, Kelly and Noah! Keep up the great work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT STORY! May 14, 2007
By FaHoLo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This story could not be cuter, and what a great message! We read it again and again.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! May 25, 2008
I absolutely love this story! It is so adoreable and has such a good message. Children of all ages will absolutely fall in love with Norman.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming September 25, 2014
Who hasn't experienced the heart of this story on some level: you have negative preconceived notions of a situation, person, or thing before you give it a chance and, with time, those notions turn out to be wrong once you undergo a slow change of heart. Not Norman is a profound illustrated allegory that will teach your children to look beneath the surface to discover the beauty in many things. Kelly Bennett has written a true treasure that is sure to stand the test of time.

The artwork, meanwhile, is beautifully rendered by Noah Z. Jones, whose all-digital, gradient-filled and colorful images provide a wonderful landscape for the printed words. Surprising that this is his first book. This is one that should be bought or borrowed from a local library frequently. Four and a half stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This book has been selected for Jump Start, Read for the Record, book for October 2015.
Published 2 days ago by maryked
5.0 out of 5 stars We loved this book
We loved this book! It was perfect reading level for my son who is in 1st grade. It held his attention and even had him laughing at one point.
Published 25 days ago by KellBell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read!
Published 3 months ago by bairy_hesticles
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This has become a new favorite bedtime story! I love everything about this book! Both my 4yr old son and 2yr old daughter love it!
Published 7 months ago by Goden
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
My 2 year-old loves this book. It features animals and music, two of his main interests.
Published 8 months ago by David Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
My son and our family really enjoyed this. Awesome Job on the pictures too :)
Published 10 months ago by EJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Different pet book
Norman gets a fish, but really wanted another kind of pet. But after a while, he gets attached and doesn't want to trade him.
Published 11 months ago by Globetrotter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for small kids!
I love this book for my 9 month old. He loves to look at the pictures. I had doubts about ebooks for children, but after buying this book I am loving children's ebooks. Read more
Published 11 months ago by L. N. Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Had a lot of fun reading this with my nephew
Had a lot of fun reading this with my nephew. Look forward to reading it with my son when he gets older. Cute story, diverse characters, good message. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Leah
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming!!
Lovely tale showing how one's opinion can change! And, it's okay to be different! Darling illustrations with great color, action and characters.
Published 17 months ago by FHB
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More About the Author

Kelly Bennett writes for children--both fiction and non-fiction--mostly picture books. A native of California, Kelly graduated from Huntington Beach High School in 1976. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College.

"I write what I know about--friendship, pets, family life, adventure," says Kelly, "But I also write about things I want to know about. While I'm writing, every story is a mystery--a mystery waiting to be solved. And who doesn't love a good mystery?" Sometimes, the real mystery is what name will Kelly use on this book? Her bylines include: Kelly Goldman, Kelly Goldman Bennett, Patty McAndrews, Kate Donelly, and Jill Max, the pseudonym used for work co-written with Ronnie Davidson. (For more about "Jill Max" go to

Kelly divides her time between Port of Spain, Trinidad; Westhampton Beach, New York; and Houston, Texas.

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