Perfectly Norman

About this book:

Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings!

Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly – and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat.

But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself?

A poignant yet uplifting story about individuality, with stunning artwork in a striking minimal palette from the author/illustrator of Herman’s Letter. Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Benj Davies will love it.

Author: Tom Percival

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Thank you to Bloomsbury Kids for my copy.

My Review:

Perfectly Norman is a perfectly beautiful book. I think i actually love it! Perfectly Norman completely understands and projects a wonderful message- it is ok to be you!

When Norman suddenly sprouts wings he feels like he has to hide them in fear of people treating him differently, the book spends time exploring how Norman would wear a coat- rather uncomfortably- to hide these beautiful wings he doesn’t want anyone to find out about.

He ends up completely miserable because he is too hot or too restricted in the coat and comes to realise that it’s not the idea of his wings that is making him miserable but in fact the coat he is using to hide his real self.

A story about acceptance, embracing the you within you and discovering that actually you are not alone as there may be many other people experiencing the same feelings about themselves and other peoples opinions of them.

The reassuring tone of the book is beautifully executed, showing that acceptance first lies with yourself.

Themes of acceptance, friendship and individuality.

Visually stunning, the combination of colour on greyscale spreads works effortlessly with the text.

A new favourite and highly recommended. 

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Word of Mouse

About this book:

James Patterson’s newest illustrated middle grade story follows the illuminating journey of a very special mouse, and the unexpected friendships that he makes along the way.

What makes Isaiah so unique? First, his fur is as blue as the sky—which until recently was something he’d never seen, but had read all about. That’s right—Isaiah can read, and write. He can also talk to humans…if any of them are willing to listen! After a dramatic escape from a mysterious laboratory, Isaiah is separated from his “mischief” (which is the word for a mouse family), and has to use his special skills to survive in the dangerous outdoors, and hopefully find his missing family. But in a world of cruel cats, hungry owls, and terrified people, it’s hard for a young, lone mouse to make it alone. When he meets an equally unusual and lonely human girl named Hailey, the two soon learn that true friendship can transcend all barriers.

Author: James Patterson/ Chris Grabenstein

Publisher: Penguin Random House

My review:

Firstly i’d like to start off by saying how much i enjoy books by James Patterson (and his co authors), i haven’t read a book by him yet that i haven’t liked!

I really liked this book. It looked interesting on first inspection and certainly didn’t disappoint. This was an easy read with chapters not really exceeding 5 pages and headed beautifully by a lovely quote by the mouse Isaiah.

I thought the plot was great, it’s very sweet and found myself invested in the story. Isaiah is instantly likeable and has a good head on his shoulders- he may be a small mouse but he has big ideas and an even bigger heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed the friendship between mouse and human child- it’s fun and quite lovely to see a friendship transcend expected barriers.

Easy enough to read in one sitting, this book is a great transition for younger children looking to read more complex stories without wanting to dive in at the deep end.

Suitable for older and younger readers alike.

Thank you to Toppsta and Penguin Random House for my copy of Word of Mouse.

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Afternoon Tea with Peter Bunzl

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I was lucky enough to win the best and most amazing prize through Authorfy, an afternoon tea with absolutely awesome author Peter Bunzl! The brain behind the books Cogheart and Moonlocket.

I have been super excited about this event as i’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading Cogheart, we’ve all been fighting over it in our house- Daddy was the first to get his paws on the book and swiftly moved on to the sequel which meant he was itching to have book chat with us, i was next to fall in love with Cogheart and Mummy is still waiting to read it (she’s not too happy about being last!)

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I was offered to bring some friends along to meet Peter so i called upon the best of my bookish friends to come on this mini adventure.

We are all 9 years old and before i was home educated we all went to the same school. Katie comes with me to book club and thankfully likes to take as many books out as i do! Ruby is currently taking on The Summer Reading Challenge, she frequents the library too so i knew that they would provide me with good company.

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We all live in Coventry which was a drive to our super secret (not so secret) destination but the drive provided us with plenty of time to catch up and play a few car games.

It was quite a nice day outside so we had our windows down and lots of music on, although Mummy was perplexed that my friends didn’t know who Steps were despite their recent revival- she treated us to (apparently) such classics as Tragedy, One for Sorrow and 5, 6, 7, 8.

We arrived in plenty of time and i was bubbling with excitement although if i’m honest my Daddy was equally as excited as i was!

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We enjoyed being right on the water and being able to see the boats- it was very relaxing! A great choice for afternoon tea with an amazing author.

Usborne had sent some great bits over for the event like themed bookmarks and bunting but it was the Moonlocket cakes that stole the show! Just look at how cool they are. I actually think it was Authorfy who put these together- aren’t they talented?

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Thank you so much to Mel and Emily for all your hard work organising the afternoon tea and setting everything up with Peter. You were so friendly and welcoming and very easy to talk to. If you haven’t heard about Authorfy i’ve linked the website in at the beginning of this blog, so please go and check them out.

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How cool does our table look? If you’re wondering, those are Cogheart themed pencils and erasers… oh yeah and that’s Malkin heading up the table like a boss!

My Daddy had his eyes on him the moment he came upstairs!

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Peter was really nice. He was very friendly and fun to talk to.

It was great to meet him and find out how he became an author.

Peter explained that he had become an animator first before finding his way into writing. His mother was an artist and she had provided him with a lot of inspiration. She was a costume designer for Postman Pat- the real one not the one we have now. And Peter often accompanied her there so he grew up around the creative process, witnessing something made entirely from scratch. For those that don’t know Postman Pat is created using stop frame animation so making the characters  move on screen takes a great deal of time! Not to mention maintenance of the puppets! Eyes, mouths, hands and clothes! Plus scenes and anything else that needs to feature on screen.

Peter was literally brought up with a creative outlook on the world and it definitely spilled over! He is clearly no stranger to hard work and patience, animations take a lot of time and skill, traits that he’s absolutely transferred to writing.

We talked to Peter about his books, his personal favourite of all his characters is Malkin and i totally get why! That Fox is awesome; he’s independent, protective and despite his mechanical disposition behaves like he is a real animal. Especially when it comes to chewing on things!

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While we were enjoying our delicious afternoon tea and by that i mean, while we were enjoying our cake, The Wizard of Oz was projected on the wall behind us- ironically this is one of Peter’s favourite films! The man has good taste! I love The Wizard of Oz too.

Peter asked the group if they’d read his books, most people were just starting to read them while i was on chapter 16 and things were getting interesting! He asked me if i was enjoying it, which i was immensely.

Mia, one of the girls who accompanied the event asked Peter what his favourite of his books was and he told us that choosing would be like asking a mother to pick her favourite child- in other words something that you simply couldn’t choose one way or the other. It was a diplomatic answer and i think the most appropriate one he would give. Well played Peter!

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Being a book lover himself, Peter didn’t just ask us what we thought of his books, he was interested to know what other books we enjoyed and what our all time favourite book was. As a child who grew up in a house made of books (not literally but almost literally), reading from an early age i have always enjoyed Matilda. I liked the idea of a character who was just like me, minus the horrible parents of course! Oh and i can’t move things with the power of my mind- a little bit disappointed by that actually.

Peter was a huge tease, he had a copy of the next instalment of the series with him. It was like knowing there was ice cream in the freezer and not being able to open the door! But it was exciting to be in the presence of Peter’s amazing world and the next part of the story. Right now it looks like Cogheart and Moonlocket will be joined by another book making a trilogy but who knows if Peter finds more to say…

It was a great afternoon, filled with book love and lots of cake!

If you would like to find out more about Peter Bunzl, please visit his website here.

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Oh and if you’re wondering what happened to Malkin… he came home with me.