A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In each book, there is a section that teaches facts about narwhals, jellyfish, and other sea creatures. For example, in book 1, the section "Really Fun Facts" states, "Recent research suggests narwhals can live up to 90 years," and "There are nearly 4,000 types of jellyfish in the world."
The power of imagination lets you be who you want. Differences can't stand in the way of true friendship.
Positive Role Models
Narwhal, while impulsive, is imaginative and inclusive. Jelly, while usually resistant at first, typically learns to see another side of the story.
Narwhal and Jelly are best friends, but each character represents a different personality type. Narwhal is unrestricted and driven by imagination. Jellyfish is driven by what is deemed "normal".
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Narwhal and Jelly have been deemed "the most lovable duo since Frog and Toad" by NYT Bestselling Author Dav Pilkey. The Narwhal and Jelly series, created by Ben Clanton, consists of a growing number of graphic novel style books, but also board books, boxed sets, and stuffed animals. The title duo consists of a pair of friends whose personalities are wildly different: there's Narwhal, who is impulsive and imaginative, while Jelly is more conservative. A theme common throughout each book is that there are different ways to see the same story. Narwhal tends to set out on a wacky adventure that Jelly objects to at first, but comes to see that maybe the idea wasn't so bad after all. The first story's theme tends to run through the rest of the short stories or chapters in each book, as the twosome goes on adventures, parties with undersea friends, fights animated adversaries, and shows readers that there's tons of fun under the sea.
Is It Any Good?
Young readers will surely get a kick out of this comical, fanciful series. Narwhal and Jelly is a home run for the kids in the 5-7 crowd who are ready for more than picture books, but perhaps not ready to fully take on chapter books. The graphic novel style and simplistic illustrations make it easy to digest. The same is true of the series' consistent branding: most pages of each book use the same blue-yellow-white color scheme and recognizable all-caps font. The characters are silly in demeanor and action, creating a light and easy read for kids. Grown-ups, however, shouldn't expect too much in the way of depth; each book follows a consistent formula and with slight variations in plot.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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