cover image Welcome to Normal

Welcome to Normal

Erin Soderberg, illus. by Kelly Light. Bloomsbury, $13.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59990-789-5

Given their peculiarities, the Quirk family never stays put for long. In the first book in Soderberg's (Monkey See, Monkey Zoo) Quirks series, they expect that their time in Normal%E2%80%94a town where people live in identical houses and drive copycat cars%E2%80%94to be short-lived. Penelope's vivid imagination is apt to "roar to life%E2%80%94literally," her prankster brother Finn is invisible, their scatterbrained mother is blessed with the "power of persuasion," and their grandfather can roll back time. Only Molly, Penelope's twin sister, is "magic-less," and she is determined to do whatever it takes to help her family fit in. Though the nonstop mishaps that spring up are all-out silly, Molly's pain over her father's abandonment and her efforts to harness Finn's troublemaking and help Penelope form lasting friendships provide the story's emotional backbone. Light's cartoons capture the Quirk family's eccentric and skittish temperaments; despite their singular abilities, theirs is a genuine family, drawn with humor and heart. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Author's agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (June)