Normal is a setting on a VCR. Which you say makes no sense at all. And that is the point. There is no “Normal Setting” on a VCR (and do they even have VCRs anymore?). Which means there is no normal. And in Tara Lazar’s Normal Norman we learn exactly that. Normal is not a real thing. Normal is as normal does. Normal is who you are.
And we learn this through funny text, equally goofy S. Britt illustrations and a young scientist and a purple orangutan name Norman. But if you watch the art (which the cover tells you all you need to know) you will see that maybe Norman is not the one being watched after all.
Granted, in 2016 this idea of being yourself and there is no real normal was a fresh idea. Nowadays we have several titles about this subject. So, if you pick up Lazar’s book you are not going to find a new theme, but you will find a fun way to express that subject. I liked this book (and probably more than contemporary books on the same level) because it was not normal.
It starts off with a young girl who is a scientist breaking the fourth wall, having a not-so-easy-time dealing with a very precocious mammal. And as we follow the two characters we learn that Norman has interesting thoughts on peeling bananas and oranges, who friends can and should be, and how one scientist realizes what is really important. And this is all wrapped up in some colorful, simple (not simplistic) illustrations that are oddly expressive (remember look at them too, as they hide a few surprises of their own).