________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 8. . . .October 28, 2016


Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. (Narwhal and Jelly Book).

Ben Clanton.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
64 pp., trade pbk., hc. & epub, $10.99 (hc.), $16.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-10191-871-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-10191-826-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-10191-827-2 (epub).

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Kay Weisman.

***1/2 /4



One day when Narwhal was out for a swim, he found himself in new waters.

Whoa! What are you?!
Me? I’m Narwhal the narwhal!
A narwhal?
Yep! Unicorn of the sea!
Are you real?
Last time I checked. Are you?
Am I what?
Um … yeah, I’m a jellyfish.
Jellyfish? Hee hee! That sounds funny!
You’ve never heard of a jellyfish?!
Nope! You don’t look like any fish I’ve ever seen, but you do look kind of jelly-ish. I sure have an amazing imagination.
I can’t believe this! The thing I’m imagining is imagining that it is imagining me.


Clanton’s latest is a graphic novel introducing two sea creatures: Narwhal, Unicorn of the Sea, and his new best friend, Jelly. In three short chapters, the two meet in the ocean and become friends, form a pod with several other sea creatures, and create a story starring a waffle and his strawberry sidekick that confront an evil robot. Interspersed between the chapters are sections that provide fun facts about narwhals and jellyfish and a Narwhal song.

     Clanton’s simple line drawings eschew most background details leaving Narwhal and Jelly front and center in most panels. The use of a limited colour palate (blues, greys and occasional yellow accents) also helps to focus young readers’ attention on the characters and their expressive faces. Narwhal and Jelly are particularly childlike and appealing—they both like waffles, parties, and adventures—and the text is succinct, appropriate to the intended audience. This makes Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea a great addition to the early comics shelf; a sequel, Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, is promised for 2017.

Highly Recommended.

Kay Weisman works as a youth services librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library and chairs the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada’s Information Book Award.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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