Perfect Picture Book Friday: Norman the Doorman

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

November is already here…to me that means:

  • participating in PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)…the guest posts alone are of such great value even if I didn’t have a picture book idea each day.
  • supporting Dianne de las CasasPicture Book Month…My Google+ Hangout series starts this Sunday.  I’ll be addressing a different parenting problem and/or children’s challenge on each segment, sharing a picture book that provides a story solution and doing a quick and easy craft that encourages creative expression and extends the opportunity for open communication between parent and child.  Each ten minute segment will live stream to YouTube…please wish me luck! (+Vivian Kirkfield)
  • continuing with my two critique groups (learning so much)
  • preparing two manuscripts for submission (very scary)
  • enjoying family and friends in this month of Thanksgiving.

What does November mean to you?

Our Perfect Picture Book Friday choice is a classic…I spent the thirty-one days of October reading current picture books…and although I loved many of them, I am ready to enjoy an older one again…I hope you enjoy it as well.

Norman the Doorman

Written and illustrated by Don Freeman

Publisher: The Viking Press (1959)

Ages: 3 and up


Believing in yourself, courage, determination, friendship, sharing, art, ingenuity

Opening lines:

“In front of a small, well-hidden hole around in back of the Majestic Museum of Art, there once stood a mouse named Norman.”


Norman the Mouse lives and works in the basement of the Museum of Art.  He decides to enter a sculpture contest and submits a wire sculpture made from mousetrap parts.  When he wins the contest, his only request is to be able to view the upstairs exhibits and then he shares his cheese prize with his visiting country relatives.

Why do I like this book:

The story is sweet…the message is powerful…the illustrations are wonderful.  Don Freeman was an artist in his own right

Related Activities:


Photos courtesy of artful parent This is an amazing website for parents and teachers…please check it out!

How do we encourage creativity?

Just give a child some simple materials and your positive participation!

You will need: Pipe cleaners, a small block of foam, buttons, beads, feathers.

  1. The child picks a foam block and then chooses colorful pipe cleaners (safer than wire), beads, buttons and feathers.
  2. Help your child push one end of the pipe cleaner into the foam block and then let your child use his own imagination, adding beads, buttons or feathers.  The craft may turn out as a train (as in the picture) or house or any design your child wishes.
  3. When your child’s creation is finished, display it in a place of honor!

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on November 3, 2012, in Art for Children, Crafting with Children, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Reading with Children and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. I love the title of this book!! And the cover! I’ve not ever heard of Norman the Doorman and I’m so glad that you have introduced him!Thank you!


  2. I hadn’t encountered this one either, and it was published when I was prime picture book age! It sounds like a winner. Thanks for sharing it, Vivian!


    • Thanks, Beth! When I wrote Show Me How, I contacted many of the authors/illustrators of the books I was recommending to get endorsements…unfortunately, Don Freeman had already passed away, but his son is very active in keeping the memory of his father alive!


  3. This is a beautiful little story, and the cover is so cute. Thanks for sharing Vivian.


  4. Looks like a cute book. Unfortunately my library doesn’t have it, which is weird since it’s a Don Freeman book.


  5. Vivian,

    I saw this and my heart smiled. I remember reading Norman the Doorman as a kid and LOVED how devoted he was, but also loved his artistic style! Thanks for reminding me about this awesome book!


    • You are so welcome, Kathy! And did I mention that my AWESOME art ideas’ notebook arrived???? I am so excited now…a notebook from Susanna’s Short and Sweets that I am using for PiBoIdMo…and a notebook from 31 in 31 that I am using for…a zillion artful ideas that may someday be illustrations in a picture book! 🙂 🙂
      Thank you so much, Kathy…I love the notebook…and the cover is PERFECT!


  6. I love this book (and the activities you have in Show Me How! for it)! 🙂


  7. Vivian – the link goes to “sorry, this page does not exist” for Susan Leonard Hill. I”ll check back later bc I have a picture book review I’d like to add. This is a great post! I’ll share it. Congratulations on your series next week!


    • I am so sorry, Susan! You are 100% correct. I just kept using the same link…never checking to see if it was still linking correctly. I will definitely fix that tonight. You can always just go to Susanna’s blog and click on the home page…if it is Friday, Sat or Sunday. Then on Monday, she usually has a different post up.
      And thanks for the congrats…we’ll see how that goes…I plan to do the HOA, but not invite anyone…at least the first one…until after I view the YouTube clip it makes. 🙂 We are still planning on doing a monthly one together, right…I’m thinking the holiday type theme…do you have a book you could read with a thankful type theme…or just show the cover and tell about it and flip through a couple of pages if you don’t have permission to read the whole thing? And when would you want to do it? I don’t think we had made a definite day and time.


  8. I love books that take place in realistic surroundings. Especially those with a twist…cute, Vivian!


  9. Catherine Johnson

    Good luck with submissions and YouTube stuff! That book sounds great and I have loads of pipe cleaners and buttons so I just need some of that foam. Thanks Vivian!


    • Thanks so much, Catherine.  It really went well…you can watch the 10 minute video by going to the Show Me How FaceBook page…there is a link there.  I’m going to try to do it every week!   


  10. Great title, appealing cover, wonderful message – what’s not to like? Thanks so much for adding this classic to our list, Vivian!


  11. This sounds like a fantastic books. I really enjoy picture books that have art museum settings.


  12. Very creative Vivian 🙂


  13. Fun premise, fun activities. I haven’t read – but will definitely at it to my list. Thanks, Vivian.


  14. Vivian, “Norman the Doorman” was a favorite for both our sons. I still have that cherished little book on my children’s book shelf in my office. Our grandchildren enjoy it as much as their fathers did. When I opened the book, I saw Noah’s scribbling of his name on the inside cover. Thank you for the lovely memories and reminiscent smiles!


    • Hi Sheila…so lovely of you to stop by…I appreciate the thoughtful comment. 🙂  I also have several cherished books from my kids’ childhoods…they are treasured memories to be sure. 🙂  Hope all is well…have a beautiful holiday season!   


  15. LOVE the wire sculpture activity. This story sounds absolutely wonderful. I have added it to my list.


    •    Hahahaha!  If your to-read picture book list looks anything like mine, it must be a mile long. 🙂  It’s a really sweet story, Penny…I think I will use this one for this Sunday’s Picture Books and Crafts for Kids Google+ Hangout/YouTube video. 🙂


  16. Neat little mouse you made there… 😆


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