[Review Copy Courtesy of Aladdin/Simon & Schuster]
Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell is a light-hearted and brightly-illustrated picture book about finding a way to be who you want to be – especially if you weren’t born that way.
Norman is a slug, but when he looks over at the snails, he’s in awe of them. He wants a beautiful shell like they have. He really wants to hang out with them and join in on their group pyramid. And who can blame him? It looks like a lot of fun.
In a daring, but less than ideal feat, he flings himself into the snails’ pyramid and they are not at all happy with him. He’s sent away. He’s told he has to have a shell join them in their pyramid games.
Poor Norman. He’s sure if he had a shell his life would be so much better. He’s so sad.
But then he wonders to himself, why not? Why can’t he have a shell? And off he goes in search of one. He ties himself to a tennis ball, but it is too bouncy; a clock, but it is too noisy; an apple, but is is already inhabited, too! It’s not looking so good for Norman, is it?
But then he finds the world’s tastiest snail shell in the whole wide world: A donut with pink frosting and sparkles. It couldn’t be more fabulous.
Norman ties that baby on and slides back to the other snails. And the snails go wild! They love it, too! But then a bird comes along and it wants that donut. Norman can’t get away fast enough and the bird makes off with the donut along with Norman still attached. Our protagonist is in some serious trouble. How in the world will he manage to get out of this very precarious situation?
By being himself. Of Course!
He slimes his way out to then find himself in a complete free fall. Yikes! Fortunately, a well-placed-but-statistically-improbable clothesline is there to catch our beloved Norman and everything’s okay.
For some reason the bird also lets go of the donut and ends up on a snail’s head. (Which the resident four-year-old instantly notices, points out, and giggles over — every single time we read this book. Because humor = a donut on the head.)
Is Norman shaking? Terrified? Going into shock because of his very close brush with death? Does he swear off ever trying to be something other than a slug?
Norman has discovered a new love: flying!
Last we see of Norman, he is attached to some seriously stiff undies, flying around in the sky with four other birds, and everyone is smiling.
Good luck to you, Norman!
Norman the Slug with the Silly Shelly playfully and expertly explores trying on different identities, finding ways to belong, and looking on the bright side. The story is very funny and a great way to encourage children to be themselves, to utilize their strengths, and to try on different identities.
I love Norman. It’s a fantastic book to read with the kids. It makes us giggle, have a good time, forces me to explain to the kids why we generally shouldn’t tie donuts to ourselves, and makes them ask questions about how you get underwear so stiff that it can be used to help a slug fly — all of which are important topics of exploration and fun for kids and adults alike.
It also shows how things may not go our way and we may have some seriously close calls — but that’s sort of how it goes and can be part of learning who you are…and that a well-placed donut can help you make friends and discover new loves. Because it can.
Recommended Ages 3 to 8. Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. December 2017. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-1481490320 Fiction.
Where to Get it:
Author and Artist Websites:
- Sue Hendra’s Twitter
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”