Norman Normann is fairly normal, but when he fails an important exam, his parents hire tutor Balthazar Birdsong to help their son get into an advanced high school. With his tutor's idiosyncratic lessons, Norman quickly begins to see the world and his family in a new light. Narrator Jessie Bernstein creates a light and exuberant voice that is perfect for Norman. However, his narration is often too exaggerated. And while this performance may capture the spirit of the story, it proves a difficult listen. Additionally, other parts of the book don't translate well to audio, particularly sequences when Norman and friend Leonard engage in conversation while executing karate moves on inanimate objects and imaginary villains. While Bernstein's performance is spirited, the frequent cries of "EEEEEEYAAAAA!" will wear on even young listeners. Ages 9–14. A Michael di Capua hardcover. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2012 Release date: 11/01/2011 Genre: Children's
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