Perfectly Norman is the story of how Norman’s everyday life changes when he grows a pair of wings. We love the way that Tom Percival sensitively takes us through Norman’s insecurities and experiences until he bravely confronts his anxieties and learns to accept his new situation.
The Story: Norman is a perfectly ordinary boy until one day he grows a pair of wings. He discovers that flying is fun but is so worried about how his parents will react to his wings that he hides them under a big coat. Norman becomes more and more unhappy until one day he takes his coat off. When he goes flying again he gets the most wonderful surprise!
Norman’s uncertainties about the impact of his new wings are brilliantly portrayed. He does his best to hide his wings and we feel his misery as he wears his big coat in various situations including going to the pool and to a birthday party. Norman’s coat gets smellier and smellier until finally, with his parents’ encouragement, he takes his coat off. We absolutely love the scenes that follow and the way that Norman embraces his fears and accepts his new situation.
Tom Percival’s illustrations are stunning and use colour to reflect Norman’s emotions, the spreads where he is trying to hide his wings are black, white and grey with just the yellow of Norman’s coat to remind us of his predicament. Our favourite illustration is the final double spread which is full of colour, joy and happiness as Norman embraces his new situation and we love the humour in the ending (but we don’t want to spoil it for you!). The use of wings to symbolise Norman’s ultimate freedom to be himself is a fantastic use of imagery and shows that when we bravely face our fears we can also ‘fly’.
Perfectly Norman is a fabulous story to stimulate discussion with a child about how normal for one person can be different for another and that despite these differences we are all ‘normal’. Norman’s story can encourage children to accept and face their own uncertainties when facing new situations and shows that being fearful of a new situation is perfectly normal!
Age Range: 3 +
Author / Illustrator: Tom Percival