Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! by Kelly Bennett, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. Candlewick, 2020. 9781536206715

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Animal fiction

What did you like about the book? A tuba-playing kid trains his beloved pet fish, Norman, to dance and “glug” along with the music. When the kid, who narrates the tale, arrives at the Pet-O-Rama pet show, he is excited to see that Norman is just as good a pet as any of the dogs, snakes, and other pets that are there. But when it comes time to compete, Norman freezes. It is only when the kid channels calm and plays his tuba that Norman dances, sings, and performs his tricks perfectly. This title is a follow-up to the author’s 2005 story Not Norman: A Goldfish Story. The lively digital cartoon-like illustrations complement the story nicely. Lots of onomatopoeia for kids to sound out or enjoy hearing read aloud. The Black kid protagonist is sweetly protective of his goldfish, which will resonate with kids with any kinds of pets at home.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I love Not Norman: A Goldfish Story, especially the concept that you can love any kind of pet. This sequel lacks some of the human drama of the first story.

To whom would you recommend this book?  For ages 3-5, especially fans of the first book, and would make a fun story time read aloud.

Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 5, 2020

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