Title of Book: Normal Norman
Time length to read: 4-6 min
Age recommended: 5 and up
Author: Tara Lazar
Illustrator: S. britt
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Best place to purchase: Affiliate link: Amazon (Click word for direct link)
Price: $10.88 (Hardcover)
Today, I bring you a perfectly “normal” picture book. By now…you probably all are like, what is that mean exactly? 😉 Well, keep reading and you’ll find out! Normal Norman, by Tara Lazar, is about a young scientist girl and her mission throughout the book to show how this Gorilla named Norman is normal, and he tries to help her define “normal” throughout the book. The only problem she comes across, is how Norman is not really normal, by what she thinks. She tries to show Norman the normal way he should live his life, however, she soon discovers that the only way Norman can be normal, is to to let him live as his “not normal” self. She learned that we can’t define the world normal to everyone, because normal to one person may not be normal to another.
This book is one word: awesome! In a world today where the definition of “normal” is thrown at everyone, this book really helps show children and even adults that you don’t have to fit in that category of “normal”. That is such an important message to have today in a world where the word “normal” is trying to be depicted everywhere. Everyone’s “normal” is different and it’s a great thing! What a great message to have in a picture book.
The illustrations from the book were very well done. The colors throughout the book were really colorful and it depicted every page of the book very well.
So in my opinion? This is one of the best picture books I have seen with a positive message to children and adults. If you are looking for more books like that to add to your collection, this would be a good one.
And today you all get a little bonus! I was able to do an author interview with the illustrator of Normal Norman, S. britt. Check it out below!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Originally from Louisiana, I come from a fairly large family (three sisters, one brother) of self-taught artists and have been doodling ever since I can remember. We moved around A LOT growing up, so I was always the new kid that drew all over everything. I guess some things never change, as I recently relocated from Minneapolis to Athens, Georgia and I’m still drawing on anything that isn’t tied down… and even a few things that still are!
What do you do when you are not illustrating?
I’ve always had a real passion for restoring old automobiles, but lately my interests have switched to riding and repairing vintage British motorcycles. I currently have a 1971 BSA Thunderbolt and I always try to find a way to sneak a motorcycle rider into one of my books. If you look carefully in NORMAL NORMAN you’ll find one!
What inspired you to start illustration?
It’s just something that came very naturally, like walking, talking and reading the telephone book. Like I said, growing up in a house filled with artists, it would’ve been quite rebellious to shun all that and decide to become a CPA… not that there’s anything wrong with it!
Where do you get your ideas?
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I typically go with the very first silly thought that pops into my head! When reading a manuscript for the first time, it’s relatively easy for me to visualize the entire scene immediately – all the characters, the backgrounds, the colors, etc. I’ve found that if I take my time and try to scribble out other ideas from a different angle or perspective, I’m never as satisfied with them than I was with the initial idea. I dunno if that makes me stubborn, impulsive or simple, but it’s got me this far, so why question it!
What books and or illustrators have most influenced your life most?
There are a lot of amazing children’s book illustrators in the market today and I feel that the entire field is experiencing quite a renaissance, but I still find myself going back to my old childhood favorites. William Steig, Richard Scarry, Roger Bradfield, Ellen Raskin, Ed Emberley, Tomi Ungerer, and so on. However, if I had to pick which book inspired me to pursue a career as a children’s book illustrator, it would have to be Mark Alan Stamaty’s “Small in the Saddle.” I never owned this book as a child, but rather I would continuously check it out at the public library over and over again and just stare at it for hours. Since then I’ve managed to track down my very own copy (an ex-library book in fact!) and I still pull it off the shelf and pore over each and every glorious spread and discover something new each time I look at it. I just hope that some child somewhere has a similar experience with one of my books someday!
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to go into illustration?
Do it because you absolutely love it and can’t think of anything else you were put on this earth to do. It’s not always the easiest way to make a living, but it can definitely be one of the most rewarding in a multitude of ways. Knowing that your artwork has left a positive, lasting impression on someone is a truly wonderful feeling; something that money could never buy.