I have to confess, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the legendary narwhal isn’t make-believe like a unicorn – it is a real living creature of the deep! The things you learn in children’s books! According to National Geographic, they are carnivorous mammals that can weigh around 1.5 tons. But their most fascinating feature is their mysteriously long, spiral tusk, which can grow up to 8.8 feet long and is actually an ivory tooth.
Anyway, as magical as they are, enough about the science! We discovered the narwhal in Emily Winfield Martin‘s beautiful debut picture book, Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey. With its whimsical illustrations, mythological characters, and a story that both rhymes and subtly encourages children to close their eyes and GO TO SLEEP, this book ticks a lot of boxes. For our eldest young lady, it seems to have had a particularly significant effect, as she has frequently wakes up and says that she has been swimming with dolphins and mermaids.
What we used:
- Egg carton lid
- Craft paint – white, black, red & yellow
- Paint brush or sponge brush
- Plain butchers paper
- A sheet of blue Kaisercraft printed scrapbook paper (for the background)
- We drew the outline of our narwhal and a little fin onto the egg carton lid and cut them out.
- While grey cardboard egg cartons are almost the perfect colour for a narwhal, we gave ours some texture by painting him light grey, using a sponge brush, then adding some darker grey shadowing, spots, and facial features, using a thin paint brush. In an attempt to stay true to the narwhal from the book, we also added some pale orange highlights, we painted the fin in a darker shade of grey, and added some white lines along the tusk to give it a spiral effect.
- While I was doing some of the finer detailing on our narwhal, my assistant went to town painting some plain scrapbook paper red and yellow. Once this had dried, I cut out long squiggly sections to make the seaweed, a couple of jellyfish and a fish.
- Glue the fin to your narwhal, then glue the seaweed, sea creatures and your narwhal to a piece of blue background paper, and you’re done!
“Whatever dream you visit
When night replaces day,
Your furred, or finned, or feathered friend
Will surely know the way.