Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Perhaps the most bizarre of all living whales is the narwhal (Monodon monoceros), AKA the unicorn of the sea. This review will examining the one from Folkmanis, a company renowned for their top quality animal hand puppets. Unlike the previous plush toys I’ve reviewed here, this one didn’t come from an aquarium or zoo gift shop. I bought it as a 2018 Christmas present for my son at Scholar’s Choice, a chain devoted to selling classroom and other educational products.
This narwhal figure’s body measures about 45 cm long and its signature tusk is 25 cm long. These are not accurate proportions, of course, but as I’ve noted in previous reviews, plush toys are allowed a lot more leeway. As many of you are probably already aware, the tusk is actually a canine tooth protruding through the narwhal’s upper lip on the left side of its skull. Usually only males possess them, but females have been known to sometimes develop tusks as well, albeit shorter ones. And on rare occasions, a narwhal may grow even two tusks.
The tusk on this narwhal is stiff enough to remain straight during play, but also flexible enough to be safe for children to play with in the first place. It is wrapped in a beige leathery fabric with silver glitter mixed in for effect, and in such a way that it effectively recreates the spiral appearance. The purpose of the tusk has long been debated, but the current general consensus is that it is for sexual display. Incidentally, a narwhal tusk ended up being used as a makeshift weapon against a terrorist at London Bridge on November 29, 2019.
The inside of the mouth is grey and the bulging, half-closed eyes are made of black plastic. The main colours on the body are an interesting choice: white on the bottom and a very dark bluish-purple on top, with plenty of light and dark grey spots sprinkled all over. A real narwhal is dark brown and white, but this colour scheme looks so pleasing that I’m not inclined to complain at all. The flippers are little more than crescent-shaped flaps, but the tail flukes have some nice creases on them. The fabric is high quality, like all Folkmanis products, and this toy seems destined to last a long time.
And finally, let’s talk about the most important feature on this toy. Inserting your hand into the large flap on the underbelly allows you to control the mouth. You can make this narwhal speak, sing, or pretend to eat. Its favourite foods are cod and other Arctic fish, squid, and shrimp. But be sure to watch out for killer whales, polar bears, and walruses!
This narwhal puppet is a beautifully crafted and very fun toy that should please whale lovers of all ages. Highly recommended and usually available wherever Folkmanis puppets are sold.