Stone, Tiffany. Little Narwhal, Not Alone. Greystone Kids, 2021. 978-1-77164-620-8. Unpaged. $17.95. Grades K-2.
Little Narwhal, Not Alone follows a young narwhal as he explores his world, meets new friends, and has all of these new exciting adventures. However, he travels too far and ends up not finding any narwhals to spend time with, but he does find some beluga whales! But the belugas don’t understand him, and he can’t understand them. Over time the narwhal ends up fitting in with the belugas, and they even play together! The narwhal feels that he has found new friends to spend time with! At the end of this book there is a note from a marine biologist, stating how this book is rooted in some truth! That really adds to the book and makes the reader want to start at the beginning of the book all over again.
THOUGHTS: This is a wonderful picture book!! The illustrations add to the overall underwater feel of the story. The addition from the marine biologist at the end of the book is lovely and will make the reader want to go learn more.
Picture Book Mary McEndree, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy
Jaycox, Jaclyn. Polar Animals. Pebble, 2020. $20.99 ea. $167.92 set of 8. 32 p. Grades K-3.
Arctic Foxes Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10814-2. Caribou Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10819-7. Killer Whales Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10816-6. Narwhals Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10817-3. Penguins Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10815-9. Polar Bears Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10818-0. Seals Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10820-3. Snowy Owls Are Awesome. 978-1-977-10821-0.
Narwhals Are Awesome gives readers a glimpse inside the life of a narwhal, one of the Arctic Ocean’s most interesting creatures. Known as the unicorns of the sea, these animals have a long tooth that sprouts through its lip and looks similar to a unicorn’s horn. People hunt narwhals for this exact reason: their tusks are often sold or used to make jewelry. Like dolphins and other whales, narwhals use echolocation to search for their food which they find on the ocean floor. Narwhals can stay underwater for twenty-five minutes before having to return to the surface to breathe air. This means that climate change can be harmful to them; as rising temperatures cause ice to melt, the ice moves while narwhals swim underneath. Sometimes, they can become trapped under the ice and drown. Currently, there are about 75,000 narwhals in the ocean, but they are hard to study given the very chilly climate of their habitats. But one thing is for sure – no other animal is quite like them.
THOUGHTS: As narwhals become more prominent in books and graphic novels (such as the Narwhal and Jelly series by Ben Clanton), younger students have shown an increased interest in these creatures. Full of facts and written in kid-friendly language, this book shows readers what a narwhal’s life is like in the Arctic Ocean while also addressing current event issues like climate change. Students also will enjoy up close and personal photographs of these creatures. Although the critical thinking questions in the back of the book are lacking, other features, such as the list of other nonfiction narwhal books and websites to explore, are valuable. There is even a website focused on STEM-inspired narwhal activities. This book is a perfect nonfiction addition to any elementary library.