{book} nora the mind reader


DAY 31

Nora the Mind Reader by Orit Gidal

illustrated by Aya Gordon-Noy

translated from Hebrew by Annette Appel

Enchanted Lion Books, 2012 (orig. 2011) ages 4-8

The last is certainly not the least in this case. I love this one!

A clever, sensitive story that explores the difference between what people say and think in a smart and imaginative way.—publisher’s synopsis

One day Nora comes home from school upset, a boy told her she had flamingo legs. Her mother tells her that “people don’t always say what they think, or say what they think they are saying.” Sometimes the message is confused and unintentionally harmful. But how in the world do we figure out how to interpret what people say to us? Nora’s mom has a magical object that when Nora looks through it she can hear what they are saying and see what they are thinking. So while the boy says “flamingo legs” he is thinking her pink outfit makes him think of flamingos—and not in a bad way. You can see from his book that he is interested in the natural sciences and later you can see that he is interested in Nora.

Nora is determined to say what she is thinking, what she means, and it is nice, but we still have to figure out the people who do, do not, and are of that category of “don’t always say what they think they are saying.” There is a cute sequence of a boy thinking he wants chocolate and the conversation with his adult going very differently, but oh so familiar-like. He had a one-track mind but a whole arsenal of ways to ask/steer his adult toward it. Orit Gidal plays out all kinds of scenarios from dog checking out dog, to friends, to flirting. As the story progresses, Nora grows more confident, no longer needing her wand. And it is reassuring to see that the parents’ speech bubbles match their thought bubbles there at the end.

pre-text image. love that the thought bubbles are like blowing bubbles bubbles.


Illustrator Aya Gordon-Noy creates lively scenes using mixed-media. Nora has this awesome crayon scribbly hair using different colors, her dress with a few strokes of thick paint. Some of the pages have text from the original language inked into the background paper. Gordon-Noy’s use of dimension and a lovely sense of humor proves a perfect match for Gidal.

The subject is smart, to say nothing of relevant, and Orit Gidal and Aya Gordon-Noy carry it through brilliantly. Check this picture book out!

{images belong to Aya Gordon-Noy}

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