Friday, August 2, 2019

Review - Norman's Gift

Norman's Gift
by Michelle Olson
Date: 2019
Publisher: Bellie Button Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: author

Norman the Button has forgotten to get his best friend a Christmas gift, and time is running out. With big dreams and a small budget, he sets out to find the perfect gift to show his love for Freddy. But when his extravagant gift ideas don’t work out, he must settle for something made from the heart.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I'm always a little hesitant when I read self-published picture books now. So many of them simply lack the quality that makes for a really good read. When I was approached by the author with an offer to let me have a look at her newest book about Norman the button, I was a bit worried. But after seeing some of the reviews of the first book from trusted Goodreads friends, I felt a little better. As it turns out, I didn't really need to be worried. Norman's Gift is surprisingly good.

This is a cute holiday story about Norman and his quest to find the perfect Christmas gift for his best friend, Freddy Teddy. He thinks it needs to be something spectacular to show Freddy how much their friendship means to him. But after exhausting his piggy bank and still coming up with nothing suitable, Norman has to turn to his own special talents and make his friend a gift from the heart.

The writing is pretty strong and tells the simple story nicely. The illustrations are pretty entertaining, too. (I suspect I missed how Norman and Freddy met in the first book, but you can read Norman's Gift and get a lot out of it without knowing the backstory.) Norman and Freddy inhabit our world, but there's also overlap with the world of toys. Norman lives in a dollhouse, for example. The pictures are mostly photographs, with touches of illustration. I just realized that Norman doesn't have any facial features other than eyes; still, he manages to convey a full range of emotions through just his eyes and eyebrows!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Norman's Gift is a sweet holiday story highlighting friendship and thoughtfulness. This is one self-published picture book that I can feel comfortable recommending.

Thank you to Michelle Olson for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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