Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell by Sue Hendra!

by Sue Hendra
Picture Book
ages 4 to 6
32 pages

Norman the Slug is willing to do anything to become a snail—but how far will he go? Find out in this wonderfully wacky, bright, and colorful picture book from popular UK author Sue Hendra.

Norman is a slug who longs to be a snail—if only he could find the perfect shell! He tries a tennis ball, an apple, and even an alarm clock but none of them feel quite right. Until one day, Norman stumbles upon a doughnut! What could be better than that?! But is that sweet shell really the perfect fit?


Silliness spews as an adorable snail searches for his place in life.

Norman is a slug, but he wishes he was a snail. The search for a perfect shell brings him across the most interesting possibilities, and the results. . .well, things don't quite turn out the way anyone thought they would.

The cover on this one is an eye-catcher and lures kids (and parents) attention right away, not only thanks to the glittery foil, but a doughnut as a shell is simply fantastic. The story itself begins with the reasoning why Norman needs a doughnut for a shell. On the first spread, he encounters a pyramid of lovely snails. After the encounter ends in clumsy disaster—at first, it wasn't clear what exactly happened, which caused a bit of a stumble until some thinking and flipping between those first two pages finally let enlightenment strike—the fun begins. Either way, Norman hooks from the get-go. He's super cute, super sweet and the type of slug to cuddle and snuggle. . .if one doesn't mind slime.

Words are kept at the minimum to let the story flow. It's concise and to the point, letting the tale and illustrations take lead. Young readers will fall into the story immediately and bounce from situation to situation without the slightest bit of pause. It's great for those who adore silliness and, especially, those with a short attention span—a real plus for younger listeners. Giggles are guaranteed, and there's even a moment of suspense. The ending will either leave a reader thinking, dreaming or simply saying 'huh' and wondering what just hit them. It's a book younger listeners will adore, while older ones will either enjoy it, or shake their heads and toss it to the side. It's an original tale, which hits or doesn't.

The illustrations are like a candy store rainbow. Every page invites with bright colors and whimsical depictions. These are what brings this book to life and make Norman a slug to love.

Summed up, this is a book young listeners are sure to enjoy. Older listeners/readers, however, could fall either way. It's quirky and ridiculous, and doesn't follow the usual story flow. With all of the fun, it does pull kids into thought without them ever realizing it, and might inspire them to adopt a slug of their own.

And here she is. . .

Sue Hendra graduated from the University of Brighton in 1994 and has been an illustrator of children's books for over 20 years. She is the illustrator of the fabulously funny Barry the Fish with Fingers and the author and illustrator of Keith the Cat with the Magic Hat. Sue lives in Brighton with her partner and their young daughter.

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