A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Welcome to Normal: The Quirks, Book 1 introduces a quirky, tight-knit magical family struggling to fit in. Preposterous scenarios and good humor make this a light, fun chapter book. Some poor behavior plays out with no consequences; there's a stolen iPod, careless behavior leading to a near-accident, and a great many pranks. The youngest child takes advantage of his invisibility to sneak food, play tricks, and get away with mischief, with no consequences. The family appears to have been abandoned by the father, who disappeared several years earlier.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
After moving through 26 towns in 10 years, fourth-grader Molly Quirk desperately hopes her family can stay in Normal, Michigan, where everyone is the same: same houses, same cars, same haircuts. But her family is anything but normal: Her mom can control minds, her brother Finn is invisible, her grandfather rewinds time, her grandmother's a fairy, and the fanciful things her identical twin sister Penelope imagines actually come true. Each day in class is a trial for Pen, who can't keep her thoughts to herself, and things get worse when their brother joins them at school. The family manages to avoid drawing attention -- but Molly worries the big town festival could be more than her family can manage.
Is it any good?
This is an enjoyable, fast read. WELCOME TO NORMAL introduces an unusual family with a not-so-unusual problem: settling in and finding their place in a new community. Kids will relate easily to levelheaded, responsible Molly, who loves her family but worries they're too weird. This wild family is loving and lovable, with a few odd notes: The single mom is surprisingly hapless, the young brother gets away with serious mischief that seems to upset no one but Molly, and there's a fairy grandmother who's introduced and largely forgotten.
Kelly Light's full-page and spot illustrations bring the family to life. Quirky design elements -- a sideways table of contents, chapter headings that go every which way -- add to the fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to feel "normal" and making room for being different. In what ways are you happy to be different from people around you? Do you feel different in ways that make you unhappy?
What other books have you read or movies have you seen that feature a family with supernatural powers? What's fun about these kinds of stories?
If you had the power to be invisible or to control minds, how would you use it?
- Author: Erin Soderberg
- Illustrator: Kelly Light
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date: June 4, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
Our editors recommend
For kids who love magic and family stories
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.