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ParaNorman

Review

ParaNorman

written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by Ross Stewart

Norman knew he wasn’t a regular kid. It could be because his older sister, Courtney, reminded him that he wasn’t normal daily. Or it might be because Norman humiliated his father in public places almost on queue without really trying. Most likely, though, Norman realized he wasn’t normal because he could talk to ghosts and they could talk to him. This had some advantages, like talking to his dead grandmother as she sat and watched TV with him, but most of the time it was a nuisance. On the eve of the 300th anniversary of the Blithe Hollow witch’s death, his ability to speak with the dead just might get Norman in trouble.

"Based on the screenplay of the soon-to-be animated feature, PARANORMAN is pure fun. The best part is that the story and the characters don’t take themselves too seriously."

Norman knows something is wrong when he’s approached by his great-uncle Prenderghast next to the statue of the ugly Blithe Hollow witch. Norman’s uncle warns him that unless he uses his ability to speak to the dead and put the witch back to sleep, the veil between your two worlds will drop away and her rage will know no bounds! Even though his parents told him to stay away from his great uncle, Norman decides to follow his uncle’s advice. He pretends that he’s staying at his friend Neil’s house and then makes his way to the graveyard. As the sun goes down, Norman realizes he’s done something wrong, and the earth begins to shift beneath his feet.

The last thing Courtney wanted to do was watch her little brother. Norman was so abnormal --- he was ParaNorman! Still, Courtney knew that her parents wouldn’t be happy if she lost track of him, so she had a moment of panic when she couldn’t find him anywhere in the house. Her moment of panic turned to exuberance, though, when she arrived at Neil’s house and discovered Neil’s hunky older brother, Mitch. Now finding Norman seemed like an afterthought, but Neil and Mitch were insistent, and soon the trio was on their way to the graveyard. Nothing, though, could prepare them for what would happen next.

After the first bony hand emerged from the graves and grabbed Norman’s ankle, he hightailed it out of the graveyard. When Norman raced down the street on his bike and ran into Courtney, Neil and Mitch, his only thought was to warn them that zombies were coming. The Blithe Hollow witch is not happy, and all the zombies seemed to be heading straight for Norman. It’s going to take all of Norman’s abnormal abilities to save the day this time.

Based on the screenplay of the soon-to-be animated feature, PARANORMAN is pure fun. The best part is that the story and the characters don’t take themselves too seriously. Norman seems to take his ability to talk to the dead in stride, and I can only imagine what sorts of funny faces he’ll have in the movie. As zombies become increasingly popular in mainstream society, I’m happy to say that this time they come with a sense of humor. I would highly recommend that you check out the book before seeing the movie.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on August 25, 2012

ParaNorman
written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by Ross Stewart