Norman Speak!

Book Review
By Caroline Adderson (Author), Qin Leng (Illustrator)
Reviewed by Susan Tasaki, January 2015, Updated June 2021

Norman, Speak! by Caroline Adderson (illustrated by Qin Leng) is a lovely picture book. Norman is adopted by a family who wants to give a home to the dog who has been in the shelter the longest. This is the first important lesson offered in this insightful book. Though the family loves Norman, they think he might not be the brightest because he doesn’t seem to understand them. But one day at the dog park, an Asian man calls to his dog in Chinese, and Norman runs up to him, too, listening intently to what the man has to say. Mystery solved! Norman “speaks” Chinese. Inspired by the need to communicate with Norman, the family signs up for Chinese lessons. They find the language difficult to learn, which helps them understand Norman’s difficulties with English—another valuable lesson. (Ages 4 to 7)

Image courtesy of the publisher

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 80: Winter 2014

Susan Tasaki, a freelance editor and writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.