This short, gory comedy for children is published by Barrington Stokes, and adds to their cannon of dyslexia-friendly publications for young readers. Norman the Norman from Normandy has an extraordinary family. His mum bends metal for a living and his dad is a mighty warrior. Norman soon finds his own special talents, but not deliberately!
In chapter one, in a scene that sets the farcical, violent tone of the book, Norman’s dad gets himself involved in a ferocious argument with some rather unpleasant Britons. Despite fighting very bravely indeed, Norman’s dad meets a rather grizzly end, one that results in his remains being buried in three different places across Britain. Norman receives a beautiful ‘sorry-for-your-loss’ tapestry from the murderers and decides that it would be only right to pay his respects to all three sets of his father’s remains.
Norman soon sets off on his quest upon his trusty steed (a rather hairy wild boar) wielding his huge sword and demonstrating an impressive naivety for the world. Random things happen to the quixotic Norman – very random things. Squirrels get the flu, cabbages get stolen and nuns get rescued, and Ardagh treats the reader to very few details and zero explanation, making the randomness absolute and the comedy ample.
Readers will giggle as Norman’s preposterously huge sword gets him into trouble, and out of it again, in the most ridiculous ways. Accidental decapitation, accidental poisoning and accidental snake-charming all play a part, as Norman continues along his journey to manhood.
Published as a Little Gems edition, the story is only a short one and will be manageable for young and emerging readers. However, despite its short length, it is a generous and rich publication, printed on a heavy, off-white paper and bursting with colourful, crazy pictures that combine chivalric themes with cartoonish chaos. He may be only small, but Norman packs a punch, and so does his book!