Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Norman, Speak!

Leng, Qin (Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 2014. 32 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781554983223 (hardcover)
9781554983230 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view

Award

USBBY Outstanding International Books List – 2015

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

A young boy and his parents choose a pet from the animal shelter, a stray brown and white dog named Norman. Back home, they realize that Norman doesn’t understand a word they say. Although they love him, they decide he just “isn’t very smart.” The tables turn when a chance encounter at the dog park reveals that Norman can in fact come, listen and shake a paw. Readers will enjoy discovering that the problem is not at a lack of intelligence. Norman only understands Chinese!

Rich and colourful language helps readers visualize the dramatic elements of the narrative, such as when Norman is finally released from the animal shelter: his wag is “a hula dance of happiness.” Readers will get a taste of spoken Chinese, seamlessly integrated into the scenes in the language class.

Simple cartoon illustrations are lively and engaging. Done in ink and coloured digitally, they capture the emotions and frustrated facial expressions of the family members who love their new dog but cannot seem to train him.

A glossary at the end provides English translations along with the corresponding Chinese characters.

  •  

    What do you think Norman’s life was like before he was brought to the animal shelter? Write about why someone didn't claim him. Record the class’s answers on a bar graph. Discuss the results.

  •  

    Discuss the concept of unconditional love. How does Norman’s family exemplify this concept? 

  •  

    List the reasons why Norman’s family believes he isn’t very smart. How does the family feel following their Chinese lessons? What is the moral of this story? 

  •  

    Discuss the differences between getting an animal from a shelter, a pet shop and a breeder.

  •  Discuss the situation between Norman and the boy. How is the language a problem? Can you think of other situations where there is a language problem? 
  •  

    How does the family feel about their Chinese lessons? How do you feel about learning a language? Is it different from learning something else? List five elements needed in order to learn something. 

  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture