Beware the Alfurnians. Norman Normann (which immediately made me think of Wallace Wallace of NO MORE DEAD DOGS fame) is twelve years old and up to his pencil shavings in standardized testing. Norman is no intellectual giant and fails to rise to the standards his parents dream of. No worries there though. His Mommy, Norma Normann, will smile sweetly, tie his scarf around his neck a little more snuggly "to prevent chafing," and assure him she is soooo proud of him. Dad, Orman Normann, wants to see a "turn around in his property" better known as his son and he knows just how to overcome that little obstacle.
A tutor, Balthazar Birdsong, is brought forth to produce results in said "property." You get the feel of this book right off the bat...it's going to be right off the planet. Mixing the random wandering of Lemony Snicket, a parody on today's parenting techniques...the overzealous efforts to give kids self-esteem and the tendency to ignore the needs of kids as individuals... and hilarious adventure, this story rises from the everyday struggles of a twelve year old to chasing nefarious agents while finding clues to the truths of life in the pages of the dictionary.
Sound zany? It is. Sound hilarious? It is. Sound like something that moves along at a pace that holds your attention? It does. Norman and a gang of friends, under the loose tutelage of Mr. Birdsong, will use risking experience and a combination of information gathered from dictionary definitions as their guides, to combat the enemies who are deeply involved in the underhanded dealings of Orman Normann, missile purveyor.
Have these adults all lost their minds? Maybe. Have Norman and his friends got what it takes to set them on the right track? Possibly. Will Norman lose his thumbs? An entertaining romp for those who look for the unexpected, want a lot of fun, and ask for some twists and turns in their reads. 342 pages Ages 9-13