Parents' Guide to

Not So Normal Norbert

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Fun fantasy/sci-fi blend combats dystopia with laughs.

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James Patterson and Joey Green create another fun, funny middle school book that reluctant readers, especially boys, are sure to enjoy. But don't be fooled by Not So Normal Norbert's grim-sounding setup of a dystopian future and a kid looking for his lost parents. Big kids and up will find a lot of laughs, suspense, and adventure waiting for them among the "Astro-Nuts" of planet Zorquat 3.

Zeroing in on the anxiety and pressure kids feel to be like everyone else, the novel encourages them to let their imaginations run wild and to express their individuality and creativity freely in constructive ways. The authors keep it light here; there's not a lot of depth, and most characters besides Norbert are more types than real-seeming and relatable. But the humor, adventure, and lively illustrations will make this book enjoyable for reluctant readers, and hints about a future rescue mission will have them eagerly hoping for more from Norbert.

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