Overflowing with cuteness, flooded with charm, and sprinkled with rainbows and pearls, Not Quite Narwhal, by Jessie Sima, is the sweetest story about an undersea unicorn born to a family of narwhals.
Kelp realises he’s different, but this doesn’t worry him or his friends. One day while swimming, Kelp is swept away, close to land. There he sees a sparkling creature that looks so familiar and sets out to discover the new land ahead of him. A land of “LAND NARWHALS!” Of course, they’re unicorns—unicorns just like Kelp. They teach him their unicorn ways and talents. They spend a lovely day together, but Kelp misses home. His narwhal family greets him with happy faces and Kelp shares stories of his adventure. The little guy is torn between two worlds. Does he stay under the sea or return to land? Or just maybe—can he have both?
From start to finish this book is adorable, words and pictures. Sima’s illustrations shimmer with magic and enhance the story, sharing more than what’s said. Kelp is a pearl born in a clam shell, precious and perfect. Though he isn’t a biological narwhal child, he’s protected, cared for and loved. The visual humour is gentle and delightful. Various themes flow effortlessly throughout—difference, identity, tolerance, unconditional love, kindness, change, and unity despite the separation of worlds, the distance between and contrasting lifestyles.