Ideal Age Range: Primary…and anyone who enjoys the absurd!
Genre: Early Reader, Graphic Novel, Humor
Consisting of three short, silly, and satisfying episodes, Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea introduces readers to two new friends: imaginative, enthusiastic Narwhal and skeptical Jelly (a jellyfish).
While Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea is aimed at beginner readers, like the best of early reader books (like Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad or Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie), older readers can find a lot to enjoy.
Each story considers the nature of reality and possibility. In the first adventure, Narwhal and Jelly contemplate the possibility of each other’s existence, and whether they can prove that the other isn’t simply a figment of the imagination. (Potentially imaginary friends are still better than none!) In the second, Narwhal realizes he lacks other narwhal peers and must construct a pod for himself (the first new member is a shark…). Because none of the other pod members are biologically narwhals, he must redefine membership. Lastly, Jelly discovers that Narwhal’s favorite book is entirely blank – all the better to imagine new stories together! Simple, engaging illustrations convey Narwal’s joy and Jelly’s reluctance, and Clanton strategically uses blank pages and photographs to push the boundaries of the friends’ reality.
In terms of unicorn content, Narwhal is simple, happy, idealistic, and – most significantly – unhampered by the tethers of reality. Between the first and second adventures, Clanton includes one page each of fun facts about narwhals. I would have liked to learn more, but at the same time, I feel like facts are beside the point for this narwhal!
Also, there is now a series, so you can keep the hilarity going for a while…
You can buy Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea here: