That's Not Normal!
Author: Mar Pavon
Illustrator: Laure du Fay
Translator: Martin Hyams
Consortium Book Sales and Distribution
Second Edition: 2016
Have you ever been teased about something that you could not change?
Do you have a big nose, red hair, large ears, or big feet? At some time in your life, you probably have been teased about some feature that distinguished you. It is a fine line between having a distinguished, unique gift or an embarrassment which you cannot easily or quickly change.
Why can some people accept their physical differences as gifts while others see these attributes in humiliation?
Elephant has an abnormally long trunk. Fortunately, he is friendly and helpful to all the animals. He uses it to help others and even himself. Whether using it to shower and blow dry his baby, helping Old Monkey to climb a tree, using it as a sling to rock Little Antelope to sleep, hanging Zebra's stripes to drive, assisting ants in crossing the river, being a neck warmer for Giraffe, or drawing hearts in the sand, Elephant looks for ways to be a friend and using his natural ability to help others.
"Only Hippopotamus made sure to remind everyone that elephant's long nose...WASN'T NORMAL."
Unfortunately, children can be cruel, especially in groups. Teasing evolves in bullying with just a few words on playgrounds around the world.
That's Not Normal addressed these issues with simple word choices reinforced by parallel and supporting illustrations. With the repetitive phrase on each page, "That's not normal," the reader discovers themselves being drawn into the teasing of the elephant. The repetition is perfect for early readers and as a read aloud story for classrooms.
The intended audience is for Kindergarten through 2nd-grade. I would revise this to preschool through adults, many of who need a refresher about tolerance.
The author, Mar Pavon is a poet and storyteller living in Spain.
The story is well-plotted, beautifully illustrated with a beautiful message about embracing our differences. With the support of friends, Elephant learns to have the courage to be unique and to show our individual best by sharing the gifts we each possess.
That's Not Normal has a lesson that every person, young or not-so-young needs to constantly hear to by happy in our everyday life.