In this story the author reminds us about the pitfalls of making snap judgments about pets — or people.  It’s a tale about finding the good in something you didn’t know you wanted.



A Goldfish Story

Kelly Bennett – Author
Noah Z. Jones – Illustrator

Norman the goldfish isn’t what this little boy had in mind. But when Curtis tries to trade Norman for a “good pet,” things don’t go as he planned. Could it be that Norman is a better pet than he thought?


Curtis gets a goldfish as a present. Not a dog or a cat, not a pet that can curl up on his bed at night, for goodness sake—a goldfish!

He thinks maybe he will trade the fish for something more pet-like; maybe he could do a trade-in.

“Don’t think that just because you made me laugh, I’m going to keep you,” I tell him. “Tomorrow, you’re outta here.”  All Norman does is swim around and around and around and around and around and around and around and around….


But events conspire to keep Norman the goldfish in the Curtis’s possession. Slowly, grudgingly,  he starts appreciating Norman’s qualities: He’s a good listener, he likes the boy’s tuba-playing and though he’ll never curl up on the boy’s bed, he’s there to console in the deep of the night.

And in the end the Curtis declares, “Even if I could pick any pet in the whole world, I wouldn’t trade him. Not Norman,”





Write Norman a Letter

Do you have questions for Norman the Goldfish? Send him a letter. He’d love to hear from you!

Mail your questions to Norman at:

Norman the Goldfish
PO Box 1094
WHB, NY 11978

Be sure to include your return address if you want Norman to write back.



NORMAN the GOLDFISH Tells His Side of the Story
As told by Kelly Bennett, the author of Not Norman.  🙂 

One day, I’m swimming around, minding my own business. The next thing I know I’m a birthday present.Sure, I wanted a human. One that wanted me back.
And, understood at least a few words of fish.

Not Curtis.

He plopped my bowl down on a table and went off to play with his other presents.I mean, I’m not asking for the ocean. I know humans and fish can’t do everything together. But, there is more to a goldfish’s life than just food flakes.
Curtis won’t even clean my bowl.
Who wants a human that makes you live in a gunky bowl?

“This is it, Curtis,” I decide. “I’m trading you for a good human.”

Suddenly, his big eyes are looking right at me.

“CLEAN MY BOWL!” I burble.

The next thing I know, Curtis is chasing me with a giant net.
“Please don’t hurt me.” I blub and pull my fins in tight.
Gentle as can be, Curtis lifts me out of my gunky bowl and into another. Keeping one eye on the net, I watch him scrub away the gunk.
It feels so good to swim in a nice, clean bowl again, I flip with joy.

 “Don’t think that just because you cleaned my bowl, I’m going to keep you,” I bubble. “As soon as I find a better human, I’m swimming on.”

Curtis laughs.

The next day Curtis takes me to school. If human schools are anything like fish schools, there will be lots to choose from. I’m hoping I’ll find a human I want.

So what do you think happens?