Norman is a perfectly normal little boy until the day he sprouts big, colorful wings! At first, he enjoys his wings and the freedom they give him, letting him soar through the sky, but then worry slips in: what would his parents think? Norman slips on a heavy yellow coat and resigns himself to being hot, uncomfortable, and sad, until his parents encourage him to take off the coat. Norman unfurls his beautiful wings, embraces his true self, and takes to the skies again: this time, encouraging other children to shed their coats and embrace their wings, too. Because there’s no such thing as perfectly normal, but he is perfectly Norman.
This sweet picture book embraces diversity and self-awareness. Norman is a biracial boy with a light-skinned mom and a dark-skinned dad, who shows lives and moves throughout his black and white world. Even Norman is black and white, sporting a bright yellow sweater with red striped sleeves, and carrying a bright yellow and red kite. once Norman’s wings make an appearance, though, Norman’s no longer black and white: he’s full color, and so are the blue skies and colorful birds he flies with! He soars above his black and white world, soaking in the color, until he gets called to dinner: Norman’s world goes back to black and white, the yellow coat now setting him apart in a seemingly different way, calling attention not to his uniqueness, but his desire to hide. When the colorful birds fly by him again, and his parents encourage him to shed the coat, the world fills with color again – and so do the multicultural group of kids he invites to fly with him. Perfectly Norman sends a passionate message about the freedom of self-acceptance and encourages kids to share that message with others. It’s a solid storytime read and a good addition to picture book collections.
Originally published in the UK, Perfectly Norman is available in the States. Tom Percival is also the author of the Little Legends chapter book series, which flies off the shelves.