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
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 PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved