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“Individuality is an illness. Imagination is insanity. Creativity is crazy. Originality threatens our way of life,” Loving Leader. ―Not So Normal Norbert

Not So Normal Norbert: L4LUZR—1

by James Patterson & Joey Green
AR Test, Diverse Characters, Good for Reluctant Readers

At A Glance
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Everything is the same. Being different is illegal. His All-Knowing Eternal Excellency, Loving Leader, has decided that “Conformity makes us Free.” Individuality is evil. All Earth must conform. When Norbert makes a funny impersonation of Loving Leader at school, the truth police arrest him. Being funny is illegal.

Norbert and two others are banished to the Astro-Nuts Camp on planet Zorquat 3. Now that Norbert is on a planet where rule-breakers are sent, the only things he wants is to be sent back to Earth. Norbert is on a quest to prove that he’s not creative. Will Norbert be stuck on a planet where everyone seems crazy creative or will he find a way to return to Earth?

The cover of Not So Normal Norbert will catch readers’ attention, and the first chapter will instantly captivate. Short chapters and funny black-and-white illustrations make the story easy to read. The descriptions include a healthy dose of onomatopoeias, which helps create the fun atmosphere of Zorquat 3. Told from Norbert’s point of view, the lives of those on Zorquat 3 jump off the page.

The main theme throughout the book is the importance of being an individual and being different. Everyone on Zorquat 3 embraces the message (except Norbert), which leads to some ridiculous and outlandish behavior by both the children and the adults. The crazy behavior adds interest to the story; however, part of the story drags because too many events do not connect to the main plot.

Anyone who feels different and odd will be able to relate to Norbert’s fears. The message of embracing being different is clear, but repeated a little too often. Norbert learns the hazards of obsessing over what if’s. One of the adults tells him, “don’t focus on what if’s or you will completely freak yourself out . . . Stick with what is.” The story also teaches that just because someone acts like a “jerk,” you don’t need to act the same way. For readers who are looking for a silly, humorous book, Norbert will make a good addition to their reading library.

Sexual Content

  • Norbert’s crush kisses him on the cheek. Later, the same girl “throws both of her arms around me and gives me a huge hug . . . then she leans in and kisses me. On the lips. Fireworks go off in my brain. It’s my first kiss. Ever.”


  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • Norbert’s teacher’s name was “Mrs. Hurlbutt.”
  • When seeing a brontosaurus Norbert makes a comment that “its breath smells worse than Mrs. Hurlbutt’s perfume, Butt Thunder.”
  • Norbert thinks one of the other kids is a “jerk.”


  • None

Spiritual Content

  • Loving Leader says he “sees all, knows all, and loves all.”
  • During a meal, Warden Buckner says, “Since today is Backward Day, it’s now time for grace before the meal.” Norbert is confused why everyone “mumbles something different. One of the adults tells him, “You can say whatever grace you feel like saying.” When Norbert asks if they are praying to Loving Leader, the adult replies, “No, silly, to a higher power.”
  • Norbert is scared of a mysterious Black Box. At one point he thinks, “I don’t know much about the higher power Crazy Swayzee talks to when he says grace, but I beg that higher power to protect me from whatever awaits me in the Black Box.”
  • When Norbert and some of his friends sneak into an adult’s office, they are almost caught.  When Norbert hears steps, he starts “praying to a higher power that my stomach doesn’t suddenly growl.”


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“Individuality is an illness. Imagination is insanity. Creativity is crazy. Originality threatens our way of life,” Loving Leader. ―Not So Normal Norbert

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