Night Night, Norman

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Review by Nancy Brannon

This children’s book by Marie Dimitrova takes the point of view of Norman the horse, as he wonders what young Ellie, who lives in the house next to the Green Apple Barn, does at night after she leaves the barn.

“Every night after dinner, Ellie visits Norman in his stall. She feeds him oats and hay. She brushes his mane. She gives him a big, juicy apple. And she hugs him goodnight.” Then she leaves the barn and Norman doesn’t see her until the next day.

The book is promoted as “what do horses do at night while we are asleep?” I remember years ago sleeping in the tack room of our barn on weekends and hearing my horse, Beechnut, periodically rattle his feed bucket throughout the night, as if expecting a “snack” at any moment. So I expected the book to be about the young girl, Ellie, imagining what Norman the horse does at night. But the book wasn’t what I expected.

In this book, it’s Norman who wonders what Ellie does at night. So one night Norman decides to find out. He loosens the latch on his stall door and escapes. He goes to the house where Ellie stays to see what she is doing. And once he gets into the house, with difficulty, Norman gets into all kinds of trouble. Some of the things he gets into are really “stretching” it a bit, such a playing the piano, resting on the couch, and eating an apple pie.

The next day, its back to the regular routine, with Ellie telling Norman “night night,” but Norman isn’t quite ready to go to sleep just yet! Now it’s up to your imagination to speculate on what Norman might do this night.

There’s an extra feature at the end of the book from illustrator Romi Caron. She shows readers the steps to drawing Norman, starting with just three circles. Here’s how to hone your horse drawing skills! On Marie’s website, there’s also a worksheet to learn how to create your own horse art.

You can meet the “real” Norman by visiting author Marie Dimitrova’ website:

About the author and illustrator: Marie Dimitrova grew up in southern California riding horses and competing in equestrian competitions. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame and holds a master’s degree from New York University.

Romi Caron is an award winning illustrator of more than 80 books. Born in the Czech Republic, she studied at the Prague University of Fine Arts and now resides in Gatineau, Quebec. See more of her art on facebook: Romi Caron – Art.

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