Norman Swims Again!



Not Norman

Norman the goldfish isn't what this little boy had in mind. But when Curtis tries to trade Norman for a "good pet," things don't go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought?


Not Norman: A Goldfish Story

Candlewick Press, 2005, 2008
ISBN: 0763627631 / 9780763627638

To Order Books: click here!


Norman's one happy fish! Here's why:

Not Norman, A Goldfish Story was Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® 2015 book. On October 22, 2015, more than 2.2 million children and adults worldwide participated in the 10th anniversary shared reading experience. Here are a few highlights.


The off-the-cuff yet kidlike prose ideally suits the bright, crisp digital drawings. . . . Readers will cheer the birth of a beautiful friendship.”—Publishers Weekly


- CBC (Children's Book Council) Children's Choice

- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2006 Gold Medal

- A FamilyFun Magazine Best Children’s Book for 2005

- Booktrust Book of the Month for August 2005

- Texas Institute of Letters Best Children’s Book for 2005.

Author Read-Aloud on YouTube:


From School Library Journal

The story is told in simple, straightforward language, and the clear lines and vibrant colors of the digital graphics are reminiscent of Taro Gomi's work. This is a sweet story that could be used as a springboard to discussion of the pitfalls of making snap judgments about pets–or people.”

From Booklist

…Repeated several times during the story, the title phrase "Not Norman" takes on a new shade of meaning in the verbally clever turnaround that concludes this amusing picture book. Distilled to essential shapes and flat colors, the lively digital artwork expresses both action and emotion with flair. This eye-catching book makes a satisfying read-aloud choice for pet day or any day.”

From Publisher’s Weekly

This emotional turnaround never feels forced or pat, thanks to a strong partnership between Bennett's text and newcomer Jones's artwork. The off-the-cuff yet kidlike prose ideally suits the bright, crisp, digital drawings."

From the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

The narrator's plaintive voice will be a familiar echo of many youngsters' disappointed responses to unwanted gifts, and there's enough rueful humor in his response to the predicament to keep it light."

From Time Out New York Kids

An inventive interpretation of the old adage 'Don't judge a book by its cover,' NOT NORMAN is the perfect book for dog-resistant parents to read to their puppy-worshipping kids—as long as they're willing to take on a new goldfish or two.

AWESOME AUTHORS,” Grand Forks Herald, Aug. 11, 2013

Read Norman's side of the story:


Norman news

Did you know Norman's illustrator, Noah Z. Jones, created Disney's animated TV series Fish Hooks? He's also the voice of characters Shark and Norman Goldfishberg. (Could Norman Goldfishberg be named after our Norman?) Here's an interview about how Noah created Fish Hooks!

NOT NORMAN, A GOLDFISH STORY is included in a 2009 anthology created by Candlewick for Raising Readers, a non-profit organization based in Portland, Maine.

Raising Readers gives books to children, ages 3 months to 5 years, at their well-child doctor check-ups. Since 2000, Raising Readers has distributed over one million books to over 140,000 Maine children.

Norman around the blogosphere

NBC 5's Reading With You Book of the Week: 'Not Norman'

Not Norman: A Goldfish Story from Lori Calabrese Writes!

Here Fishy Fishy: Fun Gift Ideas 2008 from Young Readers

Last Call for 2008 Cybils Nominations: Act Now
from Just One More Book Children's Book Podcast

Picture Book Saturday Returns! from A Patchwork of Books

Poetry Friday: The Friendly Four from Chicken Spaghetti

In other news, NOT NORMAN was featured on the 05/08/06 edition of Just One More Book!! a podcast about the children's books we love and why we love them.

Listen to the podcast