February 5, 2017

NOT QUITE NARWHAL

Jessie Sima's Not Quite Narwhal tells the story of a character who is, well, not quite narwhal! Kelp was born in the ocean and lives with narwhals, but he's always felt like he's different--he doesn't look like the other narwhals, he doesn't like the food, he's not a great swimmer (which an underwater creature should be!). So when Kelp accidentally gets swept away by a current and ends up near land, he decides it's finally time to figure out where he comes from.




Self-identity plays a huge part in Kelp's story. He is able to acknowledge that the narwhals around him accept him for who he is, but Kelp still needs that extra piece in his life, to know where he came from. And when he finally finds out where he comes from, Kelp must learn how he can best reconcile his birth life with his true life. Not an easy feat, but Kelp maintains an upbeat, optimistic attitude that is infectious.


The Photoshop illustrations are absolutely adorable. We get emotion, action, and humor in every image, and it's clear that Sima knows how to weave together text and illustration: the drawings on each spread almost always enhance the text in some way and create their own visual narrative. Kelp's visual story is engaging and the color palette Sima uses keeps the story feeling light and fun.


It's also totally worth noting that the endpapers are absolutely adorable (and even give readers a glimpse at a possible sequel!). Not Quite Narwhal publishes from Simon & Schuster February 14th!