Sunday, April 01, 2018

Shell Envy: Norman the Slug and the Silly Shell by Sue Hendra

Norman the Slug thought snails were great.

"WOW! Look at them! They're AMAZING!"

Norman has a serious case of shell lust. Those shiny shells with their awesome spirals are a must-have. Norman is a normal slug, but he feels that on the inside of those curvy shells, snails are just well-dressed slugs.

All he needs is a shell. He tries out tying on an alarm clock. Too clangy! He tries an apple, but it turns out to be occupied by a resident worm. Ugh! If only he can find the right round thingy, he can fit right in with the snail clan.

And then Norman spies a dropped doughnut--with sprinkles! With it on his back, he looks just like a snazzy, stylish snail... RIGHT? -He heads off to play with the snails, sure he's at last got the right stuff.

But a passing bird has another idea. No fool, that bird knows a doughnut when he sees one, and Norman suddenly finds himself soaring right over the gawking snails' heads, his supposed shell in the bird's beak. The snails are impressed, all right, but not in way Norman has hoped. Luckily, Norman has one skill in which slugs excel. He can produce...


Apparently Norman didn't get the point when Polonius pontificated, "First to thine own self be true." Still believing that he can be anything he wants to be, Norman suddenly discovers that he loves flying, and when the disgusted bird drops the slimy pastry, Norman moves on to finding flight for himself, in Sue Hendra's Norman the Slug with the Silly Shell (Aladdin Books, 2017). With its bright and super silly illustrations, Hendra takes this one to the outer limits of the ludicrous, with her sappy--but happy-- slug who will delight youngsters busy giggling at his improbable, perhaps impossibly glorious dreams. After all, Hendra's readers are at an age where they can still think outside the box for a while. Says Publishers Weekly, "Don't look for just-be-yourself messages here: Hendra ends with a goofy scene that indicates that Norman isn't done trying out life as other creatures."

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