Not Quite Narwhal
by Jessie Sima
I knew as I saw this cover I was in for a treat: a little unicorn floating underwater, wearing an oxygen mask, with the words, “Not Quite Narwhal.”
Kelp was born deep in the ocean, but he isn’t exactly like the other narwhals. He is very clearly a unicorn, and kids will find this fact amusing--after all, a unicorn living with narwhals isn’t something you see everyday in a picture book. Yes, Kelp also has a “tusk” but it wasn’t as long as the other narwhal’s tusks. And he wasn’t the best swimmer, as is shown by him wearing yellow floaties. But one day, when the current whisks him to the surface, he sees a majestic creature standing in the moonlight--and this creature looks just like Kelp! Kelp is frightened of walking on land, and it isn’t easy, but he perseveres. He journeys through a dark forest, worried he will never find the majestic, sparkling creature he saw from the ocean.
In perhaps one of the cutest and funniest scenes, Kelp happens upon a field of creatures just like him and yelps, “Land Narwhals!” To which a unicorn replies, “Actually, we’re unicorns. And, by the looks of it, so are you!” But can Kelp be both a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? Will he have to choose?
Jessie Sima’s precious illustrations and delightful characters, and the fact that the children reading this story are complicit in the secret that Kelp is a unicorn, not a narwhal, will delight young readers ages 4 to 7.