Posted by: Betsy Devany | October 6, 2010

Norman Meets Spike

Norman Meets Spike

Dear Friends,

I went with Betsy to a NJ SCBWI event this past weekend. Boy, do those writers talk and talk and talk. They also like to laugh a lot and eat.
The best part for me was meeting my new friend, Spike the Hedgehog.
Spike and I decided to explore the hotel when it got too noisy in the Presidential Suite. Plus, they did not have any bananas and I wanted one. We found where the food was but couldn’t figure out how to get to the first floor.
Exploring the hotel was lots of fun! I worked at the front desk, played the piano while Spike sang (he is really good!) and met some children.
Spike and I are going to be pen pals!
I wonder what his Halloween costume is going to be? I am still deciding what to wear for Halloween. Any suggestions?
Posted by: Betsy Devany | May 29, 2010

A New Friend For Norman

Dear Friends,  

This week, Betsy brought home my new friend/pen pal from the toy store. His name is Wilton. He came to the house to see if we would get along.  First, I interviewed him: “What is happening at the toy store? Does everyone miss me? Do they talk about me? Does the unicorn still have a crush on me?”  Then, Wilton asked me questions: “Will you promise not to eat me? What if you sit on me by mistake? Are you going to make me push you around the yard in your car?”   

To help him feel better, I let him climb on my shoulders.  He whispered to me that he was happy to leave the store because of Bossy Frog.  

We played Bananagrams outside until Wilton returned to the store, where he will spend half of his time.

Betsy thought that Wilton could keep me informed of what was happening at The Toy Soldier, since I am so busy trying to become a famous gorilla author.   

Oh, here are some photos Wilton shared of Bossy Frog.    

Love, Norman   






Posted by: Betsy Devany | May 3, 2010

The San Diego Zoo Gorillas

I, Norman, had planned to go to San Diego with Betsy, but she needed me to babysit the bears and cats.

Personally, I would have rather gone to the San Diego Zoo. The cats are not very good listeners. They fought a lot and stayed up all hours of the night.

But finally, Betsy came home. She brought photos that she had taken of the gorilla exhibit. Seeing them made me a little sad.

Whenever I think about missing my family, Betsy reads me one of our favorite picture books: Elizabeth and Larry.

Later I had a great idea! Maybe one of the gorillas from the zoo could be my pen pal.

Betsy wasn’t sure if she could work this out, so she came up with another suggestion. So I now have a pen pal from the toy store. You will meet him next week. His name is Wilton.

In the meantime, I hope you like the pictures. Betsy said the gorillas were very active while she was there.

One female is expecting very soon.

Can you tell which gorilla is in charge?

Love, Norman

Posted by: Betsy Devany | February 27, 2010

Norman and Writer’s Block

Betsy has suggested that I return to blogging.

It started like this, last Tuesday:

Betsy: Norman, you need to return to blogging.

Me: But I am still hibernating.

Betsy: Bears hibernate, Norman. And you are not a bear.

Me: You didn’t know that some gorillas (meaning me) hibernate too?

While Betsy looked like she was trying to figure out what to say next, I peeled a banana.

Betsy:  Napping all day with the cats or watching TV doesn’t count as hibernating.

Me: Oh. Well, in gorilla land it does.

This is the point where Betsy walked out of the room and I ate my banana while surfing the channels.

Then Betsy sent someone else to convince me to write again.

Uni, the unicorn, is such a tattle tale. She said she is on Norman patrol and will not leave my side until there are words on the screen.

I guess, now, I have to really get back to work.

Your friend,


Posted by: Betsy Devany | December 1, 2009


Last night, I attended the lullaby concert at the Groton Public Library and got to dress-up as Santa Gorilla. It took a long time for Betsy to get my beard and hat to stay on.

After the concert, I went around the library looking for books to check-out. Judith, the librarian, let me ride in the cart.

When we got home, Betsy suggested I take off my beard and hat, but I think I will wear it longer. Maybe I can work at the mall as Santa’s helper and be in all the pictures with the kids. I asked Betsy to get me an application.

In the meantime, I am reading the books I got at the library to Herbert, my bear.

Happy Holidays!

Ho, ho, ho!

Your friend, Norman

Posted by: Betsy Devany | November 12, 2009

Norman and Betsy’s Next Library Appearance


Betsy and I received a card from the Groton Public Library, thanking us for one of our recent appearances.

As you can clearly see in the photo-card, Betsy was playing the peddlar in Caps For Sale with lots of enthusiasm. We even brought hats for all the children to wear.

I was playing the part of a monkey who did not want to give back its hat.

Our next appearance at the Groton Public Library will be on November 30th. 6:30 pm. The talented Barbara Harvey will join us. She is a guitarist and singer.   or

Betsy and I have been discussing which books to read. Any suggestions or requests?

Posted by: Betsy Devany | November 5, 2009

Count Norman


Halloween has come and gone, though many people are still asking which costume I decided to wear.

I, Count Norman, greeted the trick-or-treaters with Merlin–as a witch–by my side.

The pumplin was . . . well, a pumpkin.

I wonder if you can dress up for Thanksgiving??????


Posted by: Betsy Devany | October 27, 2009

Norman Meets Guiness


Yesterday I had planned to walk (ride around in a wagon) for breast cancer in New Haven.  I didn’t know that Guiness the dog was going, too.

First I tried to make friends with Guiness. I sat in the car and let him sniff me. Then I got out of the car, leaned over and gave him a pat on his head.

I showed him how to swing on the trees. Guiness thought I was just showing off.

After I jumped off the tree, I sat near him on the ground.

Guiness did not like this. Not one bit. He howled and howled and howled. I tried to tell him I was nice. Very nice. Guiness only howled louder. So I climbed back into the tree. The leaves are so pretty now. DSC03949

When it was decided that we didn’t have enough wagons and Guiness was still objecting to my going to New Haven, I called for a ride home.

Before I got in the truck with Betsy’s husband, John, Maria and Kiddo posed for a photo. I promised to go to the playground with them soon. At least, before the snow arrives, though Betsy is hoping it won’t snow this year.


While everyone was walking to raise awareness for cancer, I got some work done on my novel, and then I tried out a new recipe for banana dog biscuits. Merlin, the dog in our house, gave them one sniff and walked away. Not even the cats would lick them.

When I get the recipe right, I will send a box of biscuits to Guiness with a note. One day, I hope we can learn to be good friends.

Posted by: Betsy Devany | October 21, 2009

What Should I Wear for Halloween?



I, Norman, can’t decide what to wear for Halloween.

Last week, I went to The Toy Soldier with the promise of helping Betsy with her Playmobile display. I tried to help with the forty-seven boxes of Playmobile that had arrived the day before, but juggling the boxes like bananas is not what Betsy imagined.  So I sat in the window and recommended books to people.

One little boy told me about his Halloween costume. He will be a mosquito this year. I hope he won’t bite me.

While Betsy was busy unpacking, displaying, and trying to keep the Playmobile hospital set from falling on her head for a second time, I decided to try on some of the hats in the store.

Which costume do you think I should wear this year on Halloween?

Love, Norman











Posted by: Betsy Devany | October 15, 2009

Norman Answers His First Letter

DSC03917I, Norman, received my first first letter from a kid. Steve from Arizona met me when I used to work at The Toy Soldier.

Dear Norman,

I met you when I was one year old. I cried. Who sits on the bench now. Do you still work there?

I would not cry now. I am much bigger.


Dear Steve,

Thank you for writing me. I am sorry I made you cry. I do not work at the toy store anymore. A bear took my place. Perhaps you could suggest a name. I went with Betsy to the store today to meet him. He is VERY, VERY big. Much larger than me. Betsy got a crate for me to sit on. I gave him tips on how to treat people nicely.

Later, I got to work at the register and sell bananagrams.

P.S. –  I might come and visit the store again on Halloween.

Thank you for writing.


Your friend, NormanDSC03915

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