February 18, 2016
Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Matt Davies
by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Matt Davies
Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press
Nerdy Birdy wears glasses that are too big. His wings are too small. He isn’t handsome like Cardinal or strong like Eagle. He doesn’t even have the super worm catching ability of Robin. But he likes to read and he’s good at video games.
He’s struggling to get Cardinal, Eagle and Robin to notice him when someone asks him why? “Because they’re cool!”
The other bird points out that they aren’t very nice to Nerdy Birdy and he’s be better off making friends with “all of us.” Us? With that Nerdy Birdy opens his eyes to the fact that there are a lot more nerdy birds than cool birds. Soon he has a flock full of friends who like the same things that he does.
Then one day along comes a new bird to the neighborhood. The cool birds don’t like Vulture and Nerdy Birdy wants to be her friend but the other nerds don’t like the looks of this big, black bird.
You’re going to have to read this one yourself to find out how it ends because I refuse to give it away because it was such a pleasant surprise. I say pleasant because I thought this was going to be yet another story about the outcasts banding together. “Look, now we’re popular!” (Yawn.)
Instead, Reynolds took the message a step farther. Nerdy Birdy got something out of his friendship with the other nerds and because of this he really grows as a character.
This is definitely a book that should be in every classroom collection and on every counselor’s bookshelf. It has great messages about bullying and friendship and bravery. As a mom, I would really have loved to have this book when my own little Nerdy Birdy (my sister still calls him that) was a fledgling.
Give this book space on your shelf. When you share it, be prepared for some lengthy discussions.