Someday, Narwhal by Lisa Mantchev (review)
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Reviewed by
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Mantchev, Lisa Someday, Narwhal; illus. by Hyewon Yum. Wiseman/Simon, 2017 32p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7970-7 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7971-4 $10.99 Ad 3-6 yrs

“Red front door. Potted plant. Umbrella stand. Piano.” These things make up the majority of the little narwhal’s view as she swims around her unmoving fishbowl. There’s also the window, though, and the whale dreams of traveling through the world beyond it. On second thought, it might be a little cold, a little too big, and how would she walk anywhere, anyway? Her young owner apparently knows her wishes and fears, and he brings a fanciful set of friends to help her take a trip into the outside world, with the penguin pulling the bowl in a wagon, the giraffe [End Page 123] navigating the way, and the bat checking the weather. Some nice repetition makes this useful both as a storytime pick or a readalone, and the playful text provides gentle humor. However, the message is a difficult one to parse—the protagonist is still trapped in a tiny space too small for even a goldfish, and kids will reasonably ask why taking her on the road is a possibility when putting her back in a better habitat isn’t. The colored-pencil illustrations mirror the story’s cozy feel with soft textures and clean white spaces. Youngsters looking longingly out the window but hesitating at the doorstep may find both a kindred spirit in and a gentle nudge from little narwhal.

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