FICTION

Not Quite Narwhal

illus. by Jessie Sima. 40p. S. & S. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481469098; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481469104. POP
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PreS-Gr 2—The "not quite" narwhal in this story is Kelp, an adorable unicorn, born underwater and living with an equally adorable school of narwhals. His tusk is kind of short, he's not a very good swimmer, and narwhal food is just gross, but his life is pretty great. Kelp is accepted by the narwhals, and he accepts himself as he is. But one day, a strong current drops him on a beach, where he learns to walk (after hysterically imitating a crab and a frog, he finds that a turtle is the best model) and discovers a whole herd of "land narwhals" who look just like him. Little Kelp's new life is awash in rainbows and unicorns—he almost doesn't want to go home. Of course, home isn't quite the same after his adventure, but luckily everyone is on his side. The narwhals and unicorn meet at the beach, and Kelp ends his story in the best of both worlds. Sima draws digitally on a Wacol drawing tablet and has created charming undersea and overland settings on full-bleed spreads. Her narrative is short, with a storyteller's pacing and winning characters, resulting in an appealing book. Read it for a whimsical storytime or provide some text-to-text connections for older students with Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Uni the Unicorn and Bob Shea's Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great.
VERDICT Useful for ELA curricula and sure to circulate, this title is highly recommended.

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