Book Biscuit and I watched a great little video a while ago that shows the difference between how adults and children think about their bodies. Each person was asked what they would change about themselves, if they could. The children (as opposed to the adults who asked for stupid things), couldn’t give a fig for smaller foreheads or less puffy skin. They wanted cool stuff.
So what did they ask for? Well one girl asked for a mermaid tail, a young boy wanted a mouth more like a shark, someone else requested legs that could run like a cheetah, and one child hankered for a pair of wings! Glorious! I swiftly forgot about my large crooked nose, Book Biscuit suddenly couldn’t care less about his saggy bottom, and we began to dream about that glittering, fishy tail and those wings. We also really wished we were less self-absorbed (Book Biscuit) and more inventive (me) and just more like those children…
In Tom Percival’s new picture book Perfectly Norman, Norman gets just what those awesome kids would have loved; some beautiful, rainbow-coloured wings! And he’s euphoric about them! Until that is, he begins to worry that other people might think his wings are weird and crazy and well — just not NORMAL. Poor Norman covers up his magnificent wings in a big coat and soon everything becomes just horrible.
To convey Norman’s misery, Tom does a dramatic thing in these early pages – and a very unusual one for a picture book – he drains away almost all the colour to black and white…
Perfectly Norman is an important book. It deals with difference and the importance of self-acceptance. Every child will enjoy it but for those who may feel different, and may even be starting to worry about that, Perfectly Norman shows us – crucially – that being different can be very difficult and isolating but also, that being yourself is the only way to be happy.
It will show children who feel their difference in this way, that self-acceptance is not just liberating but it can be awesome too! We see it in the spectacular moment that Norman – and all the other kids who have been hiding their wings from the world – take to the skies together at the end in an inspiring and emotive display. We love the impact of all that colour in this moment!
We adore Perfectly Norman. We love the theme, we love Tom’s illustrations, we love Norman. And we completely love the cover too. (We’re sorry to be so ‘surface’ about such a thoughtful and important book but Book Biscuit is adamant that this is going to be the most invigorating orange you’ve ever seen on the cover of a children’s book*).
OTHER INTERESTING THINGS
You can watch the trailer for Perfectly Norman here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPIDO4howWM
ANOTHER INTERESTING THING
You can WIN a signed copy of Perfectly Norman here. (Winner to be announced 4 Sept 2017).
ONE LAST INTERESTING THING
And finally, if you fancy it, click below to watch the previously mentioned great little video: http://time.com/3558383/video-adults-kids-change-bodies-question/