July 8, 2016

Seriously, Norman - by Chris Raschka

International spies, bomber salesmen, weird parents, odd coffee-loving tutors, lots of new words, and four friends with a shared love of old movies and saving the day.  This is a zany but brainy, quirky but just-right story about young Norman and his worries about his father, whose job as a bombastic bomber salesman may be endangering them all.  Can his best bud Leonard and the twin girls from next door form a quadrumvirate (noun: a group of four powerful or notable people) without getting sidetracked by Norman's muddle-headed mother or taken out by two furry-hatted European spies?  Probably, but not definitely.

This is kind of a weird story, but I loved it.  Norman didn't do so well on his standardized test, so his parents hired a tutor, one Mr. Balthazar Birdsong, who seems more intersted in having Norman read the dictionary and watch clouds than in preparing him for the test.  In the end, though, Mr. B's lessons turn out to have been just what Norman needed to find his courage and save the day.

This book will get you curious about New York City, kites, dictionaries (my son asked for a dictionary of his own after we listened to this audiobook), and of course, hot chocolate.  It's well worth the read, even if the cover has you scratching your head (as it does me).  It's a well-voiced audiobook, too.

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