Not Quite Narwhal

Jessie Sima

Not Quite Narwhal
Simon & Schuster
United States
1 June 2017

Not Quite Narwhal

Jessie Sima

In the tradition of Uni the Unicorn and Gaston, this heartwarming and adorable debut picture book tells the story of a young unicorn who was born under the sea to a family of narwhals.

Growing up in the ocean, Kelp has always assumed that he was a narwhal like the rest of his family. Sure, he’s always been a little bit different-his tusk isn’t as long, he’s not as good of a swimmer, and he really doesn’t enjoy the cuisine. Then one night, an extra strong current sweeps Kelp to the surface, where he spots a mysterious creature that looks just like him! Kelp discovers that he and the creature are actually unicorns. The revelation leaves him torn: is he a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? But perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds.

Told with heartwarming illustrations and spare, sweet text, Jessie Sima’s debut picture book is about fitting in, standing out, and the all-encompassing love of family.


This is a delightful ugly duckling story about Kelp the unicorn, who is born in the ocean and believes himself a narwhal, but just can’t get the hang of swimming and doesn’t like the taste of octopus.

When Kelp pops his head out of the ocean and sees high upon a cliff a majestic unicorn, he realises that maybe there is a place in the world with creatures just like him. He journeys to find the unicorns but misses his friends in the ocean. Just what is a sea unicorn to do?

Not Quite Narwhal celebrates individuality and the importance of bringing different groups together, presented with gorgeous illustrations and gentle humour. It’s already one of my favourite picture books of 2017!

Angela Crocombe

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