DiscoverPicture Books

Nellie the Narwhal


Loved it! 😍

Kids will love diving into this multi-layered ocean adventure, with themes of friendship, self-esteem, and inclusion – plus fun facts too.

Nellie is a little narwhal who just wanted a friend to play with. First, she found Harper, a whale who’s having fun slapping her tail. When Nellie asked if she could join in, Harper looked her over and decided she was too small. Disappointed, Nellie “swam far away. / She went off to find someone else who would play.”

Next, Nellie spied Bill, an octopus who was juggling shells. Nellie swam over and asked if she could juggle too. Bill was happy to see Nellie, but he explained: “‘You’re a nice narwhal, I do think you’re great, / but you have no arms, and you see I have eight.’” Sadly, Nellie “went off to find someone else who would play.” Nellie perked up when she saw Tommy Turtle playing hide-and-seek. She was ready to find a hiding spot when Tommy reminded her she would “‘need a nice shell.’”

Disappointed again, Nellie went home, and there she had an idea. She hurried back to Harper and showed her that even though she was small, she could do big-whale things. After having fun with Harper, Nellie zipped off to find Bill. Lots of giggles and plenty of tickles later, Nellie went in search of Tommy. She had a new game they could play together—one using her most distinctive feature. Tommy was so impressed that he invited Harper and Bill to join them and think of more “games that they all could share.”

Sarah Cullen and Carmen Ellis’s undersea adventure will delight kids. Their charming rhyming verses are upbeat, demonstrating many ways to be a good friend. Children will be enchanted with and inspired by Nellie’s enthusiasm, creativity, and perseverance. They will also realize that each person has individual abilities that can contribute to the benefit of all. Cullen and Ellis organically integrate facts about sea creatures into the story.

Adorable Nellie and her friends swim in a vibrant ocean where the sun breaks the surface and shines on their seabed playground. Vivid imagery allows children to clearly see each sea creature and the action while also being introduced to coral, seaweed, sea stars, and other ocean features. Kids will love finding the seahorse on each page.

A sweet story for sharing ideas of friendship, creative thinking, and inclusion as well as inspiring kids to learn more about nature, Nellie the Narwhal would be an often-asked-for addition to any child’s home library.

Reviewed by

Books are my passion! I have been reviewing picture books for five years, matching them with holidays, quirky and profound. I work part time at my local library and have more than 25 years experience as a writer, proofreader, and editor, working as a freelancer with publishers and individuals.


Come on an underwater adventure with Nellie the Narwhal as she looks for some friends to play with. Nellie goes searching for a tail slapping whale, a turtle playing hide and seek and a juggling octopus. I wonder if they will play with her?

This colourful, vibrant book is fun and playful with some ocean education to help nurture children's love of the underwater world.

About the author

Authors Sarah Cullen & Carmen Ellis are not only sisters but also business partners. They own a company called Majestic Whale Encounters where they take people swimming with whales in beautiful places around the world. They originally designed this book to share with the children on their tours. view profile

Published on May 07, 2020

Published by

0-1000 words

Genre: Picture Books

Reviewed by