Norman, Speak!

Norman, Speak!

Written by: Adderson, Caroline
Illustrated by: Leng, Qin
ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2

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Norman, Speak! tells the comical yet thought-provoking story of a boy and his family who adopt a dog that just can’t seem to learn the things other dogs do.

Overwhelmed by dogs in need at their local animal shelter, a young boy chooses Norman, the stray that’s been there the longest. But, upon bringing him home, the family quickly learns that Norman won’t respond to commands. He doesn’t even know his own name.

During a chance encounter with another dog owner in the park, the family is very surprised to learn the reason for Norman’s confusion; he “speaks” Chinese instead of English! And so the family enrolls in a language class, determined to understand their uniquely loveable pet.

The humorous text, from award-winning author Caroline Adderson, and Qin Leng’s delightful illustrations combine to create a picture book that will be enjoyed by readers (and dogs) no matter what language they speak.

Norman, Speak! tells the comical yet thought-provoking story of a boy and his family who adopt a dog that just can’t seem to learn the things other dogs do.

Overwhelmed by dogs in need at their local animal shelter, a young boy chooses Norman, the stray that’s been there the longest. But, upon bringing him home, the family quickly learns that Norman won’t respond to commands. He doesn’t even know his own name.

During a chance encounter with another dog owner in the park, the family is very surprised to learn the reason for Norman’s confusion; he “speaks” Chinese instead of English! And so the family enrolls in a language class, determined to understand their uniquely loveable pet.

The humorous text, from award-winning author Caroline Adderson, and Qin Leng’s delightful illustrations combine to create a picture book that will be enjoyed by readers (and dogs) no matter what language they speak.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Apr 1, 2014
Specifications 32 pages | 9.5 in x 8.75 in
Written By

CAROLINE ADDERSON is an award-winning author of books for young readers and adults. She is the author of the picture books Norman, Speak! (illustrated by Qin Leng) and I Love You One to Ten (illustrated by Christina Leist), as well as the Jasper John Dooley and Izzy series. Her middle-grade books include Middle of Nowhere, A Simple Case of Angels and The Mostly True Story of Pudding Tat, Adventuring Cat. She has won the Sheila Egoff Award, the Chocolate Lily Book Award and the Diamond Willow Award, among many other honors. For more information, see carolineaddersonkids.com.

Illustrated by

QIN LENG lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Her picture books include Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki (APALA Award, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist); Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary (both USBBY Outstanding International Books); When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam (Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award finalist) and I Am Small, which Qin has written and illustrated.

Written By

CAROLINE ADDERSON is an award-winning author of books for young readers and adults. She is the author of the picture books Norman, Speak! (illustrated by Qin Leng) and I Love You One to Ten (illustrated by Christina Leist), as well as the Jasper John Dooley and Izzy series. Her middle-grade books include Middle of Nowhere, A Simple Case of Angels and The Mostly True Story of Pudding Tat, Adventuring Cat. She has won the Sheila Egoff Award, the Chocolate Lily Book Award and the Diamond Willow Award, among many other honors. For more information, see carolineaddersonkids.com.

Illustrated by

QIN LENG lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Her picture books include Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki (APALA Award, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist); Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary (both USBBY Outstanding International Books); When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam (Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award finalist) and I Am Small, which Qin has written and illustrated.

Audience ages 4 to 7 / grades K to 2
Reading Levels Reading Recovery 20
Guided Reading M
Lexile AD510L

Commended, OLA Best Bets (Picture Books), 2015

Commended, USBBY Outstanding International Book, 2015

Short-listed, Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, 2015

Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Award (Picture Book), 2015

“Pet lovers will appreciate this family’s lighthearted journey toward making this relationship succeed.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Throughout this lovely story, it is clear that the boy and his parents love Norman just as he is. Simple ink drawings set against ample white space make the endearing dog come alive on paper. This title will be a surefire hit with children.” —School Library Journal

“This is a fresh and original take on the new-pet story that provides a gentle little paradigm shift along with its slight absurdity; the family’s genial embrace of their new dog’s language is both humorous . . . and offhandedly heartwarming.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED REVIEW

“Caroline Adderson and Qin Leng’s Norman, Speak! is a timeless story about a boy and his dog with a twist appropriate to today’s audience.” —CM Magazine

“There are lessons here—about patience as well as intercultural understanding—but they’re very lightly worn, and the casual line of the ink-and-color illustrations reminds us that this is a warm family story most of all.” —Horn Book

“This is a delightful and whimsically illustrated book. Recommended.” —Library Media Connections