Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima


Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different—his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns. The revelation leaves him torn: is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? But perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds.

I have seen some interesting book trends come and go, but...narwhals? That is definitely an interesting one! We have two narwhal titles on our list of Cybils nominations, and a quick search comes up with at least six children's titles published in the past year!

Well, they are cute buggers, and this title combines narwhals with the unicorn, a topic we can never seem to satiate little ones' appetites for. Your kids will understand right away that Kelp is a bit misplaced (although the logistics of that happening are not really explained). There are more questions than surprises (How does he eat with the helmet on? How does he get more air? How does he know what he looks like? How is he reading a paper book UNDER THE WATER?), but for those willing to overlook technical details, it is a cute story about friendship.

*NOTE: This title has been nominated for the Cybils Award, and I am a first round panelist. There are many nominations and six other judges. My opinions should not be construed as a sign of inclusion or exclusion on the final short list.

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