Scallop and Kelp, a narwhal and unicorn sibling set, touch horns under the sea.

Not Quite Narwhal Is Coming To Netflix As An Adorable Preschool Series

“It has such a great, simple message about embracing differences and being true to yourself.”

Parents of young children may be familiar with Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima, the adorable picture book about a unicorn named Kelp who always assumed he was a narwhal. After all, he lived in the ocean with his narwhal family. He just looks a little different. But when Kelp finds himself on the surface of his watery home he spots creatures that look just like him: unicorns! The book is a sweet exploration of what it’s like to love two worlds (and identities) at once. Now, Not Quite Narwhal is coming to Netflix as an adorable preschool series, and we have an exclusive sneak peek!

The new animated series from DreamWorks will premiere on on June 19 on Netflix. Kelp, as curious and fun-loving as ever, navigates life above and below the ocean, embracing both his unicorn identity and narwhal heritage. The message couldn’t be clearer: you belong and you only ever have to be yourself, whatever that might be.

In this special preview, Kelp prepares to go back to the ocean to tell his family — his sister Scallop along with his mom and dad — that he’s discovered that he’s a unicorn... which has him feeling just a little bit nervous. But with the help of his friends, he finds his courage and makes a heartwarming discovery under the water as well...

The series is playful and lighthearted even as it conveys powerful messages about emotions, identity, and community, and that’s very much on purpose. Co-executive producers Brian K. Roberts, Nakia Trower Shuman, and Sarah Katin sought to convey a sense of “casual inclusivity” throughout the series.

“As storytellers we don’t feel it’s our job to be preachy or instruct,” Trower Shuman tells Romper by email. “If we have done our job well, we have created characters who our viewers can identify with, where they can say ‘Hey I can connect with that character’ or ‘That character is just like me.’ There’s so much beauty in that on a variety of levels.”

“We don’t like to tell stories that way, and it’s not necessary,” Katin agrees. “Kids don’t need it. They haven’t yet developed the biases that adults have. So our goal was to simply create a world that was well represented and let the characters and stories shine for themselves.”

Leroy communicates through bubbles made with his magical horn.DreamWorks

Indeed, the series features a diverse array of characters, but the things that make them unique are rarely a plot-point. Leroy, a unicorn friend of Kelp’s, for example, is non-verbal and communicates through glittery thought bubbles. Riki the music teacher has a prosthetic leg. Theo the narwhal has low vision. None of these various disabilities are what defines each of the characters. They just... are!

“I was finishing work on another series at DreamWorks when Vanessa Taylor Sands introduced me to this book,” Roberts tells Romper. “After I read it, I let her know if it was something I would be interested in working on. Whenever you say ‘yes’ to a project like this you are committing the next two to three years of your life to it, so it’s always a bonus when the content is something that you like and are excited about. I think kids will have a blast going along with Kelp on his joyful and fun adventures.”

Kelp’s journey is bolstered by the love he receives from his family.DreamWorks

“[Jessie Sima’s Not Quite Narwhal just gave us all the feels,” Trower Shuman says. “It’s such a captivating and endearing story full of magic and adventure — it just spoke to us.”

“I mean, c’mon, an adorable little unicorn who lives in the sea!” Katin gushes. “And not only that, it has such a great, simple message about embracing differences and being true to yourself.”

We can’t wait to watch.

Not Quite Narwhal premieres on Netflix on June 19.