Review: Not Quite Narwhal

Posted on March 3, 2017


Not Quite Narwhal
By Jessie Sima
Simon & Schuster
February 2017
40 pages

Baby Kelp emerges from a clam shell deep in the ocean with his head encircled in a clear bubble. Raised by narwhals (whales with tusks) Kelp assumes he’s one of them because he also has a tusk protruding from his forehead. But deep down he senses something is not quite right. He’s not a fan of seafood. He doesn’t breathe underwater or swim very well. And the other narwhals don’t seem to care or even notice that he has four legs. When a strong current pushes Kelp toward the shoreline, he spies a creature that looks a lot like him. With the help of a crab, a frog and a turtle, he makes his wobbly transition to his land legs. After a long, scary search he discovers a herd of unicorns and realizes his true identity. They introduce him to all the joys of life on land as a unicorn. Yet Kelp can’t stop thinking about his narwhal family and how much he misses them. When he returns home he discovers the narwhals knew all along he’s a unicorn. Soon Kelp longs for his unicorn friends and knows he must find a way to bring everyone together.

Jessie Sima’s picture book debut offers a fantasy twist on the ugly duckling theme illuminated with digital watercolor illustrations. Shades of aquamarine depict Kelp’s undersea home which Sima artfully contrasts with the rich, rainbow-colored land of the unicorns. Amusing creature antics with balloon captions sprinkle the story with action and humor. Not Quite Narwhal introduces readers to the adorable Kelp who learns that it’s possible to belong in two different worlds.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Peggy Tibbetts

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