Not Quite Narwhal – written and illustrated by Jessie Sima


51afoga1xkl   Not Quite Narwhal – written and illustrated by Jessie Sima, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 9781481469098, 2017

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review5

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book? Kelp is a sweet and daring unicorn raised by narwhals; his tusk is a bit shorter and he isn’t as good at swimming, but he has a happy home. Contrary to the classic tale of “The Ugly Duckling,” Kelp is very loved and has a special place in the hearts of his friends and family.  One day, a strong current carries him towards land where he discovers creatures just like him: unicorns!  Kelp’s solution to bring his two families together warms the hearts of readers.

The illustrations of the sea and the surface are vibrant and the characters are beautiful to behold making this a visual treat for the littlest ones while you read and impart the messages of love and acceptance.  As Sima’s story never introduces the conflict of “not belonging,” it is a great introduction to the idea of accepting everyone of all shapes, sizes, and swimming abilities.

Anything you didn’t like about it? It seems a little silly that the narwhals never actually told Kelp that he was a unicorn, but that is a small part of a fantastic story with a universal message.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for one-on-one or storytime reading with children who enjoy stories of magical creatures (Julia’s House for Lost Creatures) or families (Wolfie the Bunny).  This could also be a good RA resource for families with adopted children.

Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)

Where would you shelve it ? Picture book collection

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Sure!  Storytime planners can add this to an ocean/beach, fantasy, or family storytime for ages 3-5.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of reviewFebruary 27, 2017

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