Parents' Guide to

Not Quite Narwhal

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Sparkly, fanciful unicorn story about being different.

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This gentle story about accepting differences has a young simplicity to it and will appeal to fans of fantasy, unicorns, and rainbows. In Not Quite Narwhal, author-illustrator Jessie Sima skillfully tucks humor into both the text and art. We're told that "Kelp swam home as fast he could, which wasn’t very fast at all." And in one funny spread, Kelp tries to learn to walk on land first by imitating a sideways-walking crab, then a jumping frog, and finally getting the hang of it when he tries to walk like a turtle. The digital art is pastel and sparkly, and the land of unicorns is fanciful -- the unicorns roast marshmallows on their horns -- and filled with pastel rainbows, flowers, and butterflies.

Since Kelp is embraced immediately by the unicorns and narwhals, both groups model easy acceptance. Kelp has inner conflict but no conflict with others, which may or may not mirror readers' own experiences. This book can lead to discussions about kids' identities, as well as acceptance of others.

Book Details

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