Follow Here To Purchase Not Norman: A Goldfish Story

Author: Kelly Bennett
Illustrator: Noah Z. Jones
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 978-0-7636-2763-8

“When I got Norman, I didn’t want to keep him. I wanted a different kind of pet,” Kelly Bennett writes in her children’s book, Not Norman: A Goldfish Story.

This thirty-two-page paperback targets four-to-eight-year-olds or preschoolers to third graders. With no scary scenes, it is about a boy and his pet goldfish. Containing a paragraph error and some complicated wording, it would be best read out loud to beginner readers. The full-color, full-page illustrations are sophomoric but easy to decipher and follow the storyline.

Written in first person, a young boy receives a goldfish presumably for his birthday, yet he wants something fun like a dog or cat. Deciding he would return the fish named Norman, he takes him to school for Show-and-Tell. While at school, water is lost from the fish’s bowl, a snake is loose in the classroom diverting attention from his report, and Norman occupies the boy’s interest during his music lesson. It is only when the boy is scared at night that he realizes he has a friend nearby, and he changes his mind about returning Norman to the pet store.

This is a cute book that not only shows how a child can get attached to his or her pet, but also that having a fish is a responsibility. I liked how it slowly built up the story to show the boy’s love for a little fish.

With some grammar issues and using the words “outta” and “wanna,” the book may teach young readers it is acceptable to misspell words or write poorly. If these and other writing issues could be corrected, the book that is a retold story would be higher rated.

Author of two other books, Bennett has a love for fish. Her family and she live in Trinidad with their unique pet goldfish. Illustrator Jonas has designed four children’s books, likes drawing fish, and lives in California.

Being critical of teaching proper grammar, I wish the book could be edited properly, so children are not misled or taught incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

If you are looking for a book about pet fish, this would be a good choice to show a child there is something unique about goldfish and owning them. Perhaps in time, a corrected version would be more appreciated.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and Candlewick for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.