THE TROUBLE WITH NORMAL by Charise Mericle Harper

THE TROUBLE WITH NORMAL

Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A squirrel realizes his lifelong dream of becoming a Secret Service agent in this picture book that is long on quirky concept and short on story. Narrated by the squirrel’s friend Doug, this bit of fluff details Finnigan the squirrel’s ambitions and his pursuit of his goal via an illustrated report of the goings-on at Doug’s apartment building, Normal Towers. The report, after official investigation, yields no arrests but does give Finnigan his ticket to Washington as an official Secret Service squirrel. The bright acrylic-and-collage illustrations are pleasingly busy and feature a variety of unusual perspectives, both of which suit a story that is all about observation. Harper (There Was a Bold Lady Who Wanted a Star, 2002, etc.) has a nice sense of squirrel psychology—Finnigan celebrates his new job by “rushing around the park digging up all his hidden nuts,” accompanied by a bird’s-eye view of the path that he takes, marked by a frenzied red dotted line—and a unquestionable sense of irony. Still, there is little plot to hang this joke on, and it is doubtful that many in the likely audience will have enough sense of what the Secret Service is to get it. More than a little squirrelly. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 24th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-15626-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003




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