Not Quite Narwhal (Jessie Sima)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is the lovely and touching Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima, a story about a little “narwhal” learning about himself and the meaning of family.

Kelp was born under the ocean, but isn’t quite like the other narwhals: his tusk isn’t as long, and he’s not quite as strong a swimmer. Still, he loves his home and his friends, who always make him feel safe and loved. But one day, a strong current sweeps Kelp away from his home. He ends up near an island, where he sees a fabulous creature that looks just like him! He learns that the animal is called a unicorn, and he is one too! The unicorns welcome him gladly, and teach him more about being a unicorn. Yet while Kelp is happy to be with unicorns like him, he misses his narwhal friends in the ocean. Kelp is caught between two worlds – which should he choose?

We LOVED this one. The story was wonderfully sweet, and had a lot of great humor. The illustrations are just adorable, full of colors and charming characters that JJ went crazy over, and the length is perfect. But best of all is the message: there’s nothing wrong with being different, even from your own family. Kelp’s experiences with the narwhals and unicorns can especially be read as a touching allegory for being LGBTQ or adopted, with both communities loving him, even his connection to each bringing the two groups together to bond. It’s a great way to show children that with supportive friends and family, being different can be the very thing that makes you special. It’s a wonderful story wonderfully told, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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