Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones

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Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones

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Buy Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: If any film-styled classification were applied to books, this would be the rare instance of a U-certificate that featured beheading, poisoning and more. Ardagh gets away with a lot with his usual charm, and the target audience comes away with a lot, too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: May 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
ISBN: 9781781126974

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Meet Norman. Norman the Norman, from Normandy. Not Big Bad Norman the Norman from Normandy, and not Norma the Norman from Normandy – and not even Nora the Norman from, well it doesn't say, but my guess is Normandy. Norman isn't very big at all – he's just a little boy, and he's not bad. Or at least he doesn't think he is. But because his father, Big Bad Norman, is buried in three parts (don't ask), and little baby Norman has inherited Big Bad Norman's big bad Norman sword, he's going to visit the three parts – but only good will happen… Right?

This is where I make abject apologies for my stance in introducing this book, for nothing can match the flawless word japery, pun-manship and all-round wackiness of a Philip Ardagh book. I can't introduce the characters, the scenario – anything at all, really – with the ease, brio and panache he does. He does it hilariously, so you really are aware of all the quirky jokes and bits of wit he conveys. He also does it very easily and fluidly, which is only appropriate considering the publishers here.

This is Barrington Stoke we're talking about, noted purveyors of publications primed to persist in a positive, perusal-ready condition on many a pupil's shelf. This Little Gem comes with their usual strong production standards, meaning thick paper stock, no glare on the page, a low word count for a reason, and everything else that makes theirs the most consistently accessible-to-all books out there. This is for the young, and also for those of any age who may not be able to pick out every word on a 'regular' page with ease.

So while this example wouldn't be foolish enough to use words such as panache, brio and in fact most of the ones I have chosen, it does stick to a very child-friendly vocabulary, and makes for a book that anyone could approach and get something out of. Which raises the question, that if this is full of puns, wackiness and vivacity, turning what might be a simple story into something much more quirky, inventive and entertaining, why bother? – why is there a need to stretch the form of telling a story above and beyond the average book, when this audience has perhaps only read an average book? But the answer is simple – Barrington Stoke never knowingly short-change anyone. And neither in my experience has Philip Ardagh. And he hasn't here, for this is just delightful.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

And here's where I apologise for not mentioning the illustrations, which are as fun as you'd desire – and expect if you'd seen the same publisher's The Boy and the Globe by Tony Bradman and Tom Morgan-Jones.

Buy Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Norman the Norman from Normandy (Little Gems) by Philip Ardagh and Tom Morgan-Jones at Amazon.com.

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