Written by Aaron Reynolds, Nerdy Birdy is a picture book about outcasts. The protagonist is different from other birds because he doesn’t like the same things they do. The story follows Nerdy Birdy as he tries to find a group he fits in with. He starts by reaching out to three alpha birds in the area. This includes Eagle, Cardinal, and Robin.
Nerdy Birdy soon discovers that the alphas have no interest in the things he likes and he’s left alone. It’s not long before he’s approached by another bird, one that’s more like him. He asks Nerdy Birdy why he wants to hang out with the alphas. This new bird has a flock of like-minded friends who enjoy the same activities as Nerdy Birdy.
The new group welcomes Nerdy Birdy into their fold but it isn’t long before another bird comes to the area. When Vulture flies in, she’s rejected by both the alphas and the geeks.
Vulture doesn’t fit in with either group, which causes Nerdy Birdy to join her. Even though the new friends have little in common, they walk off together.
Nerdy Birdy is a wonderful story that doesn’t give any easy answers. Sure, the alpha birds are cold to Nerdy Birdy, but they reject everyone. Even the geeky birds that welcome Nerdy Birdy aren’t perfect.
The larger group of geeky birds forget what it’s like to be lonely. In their flock, they feel superior to Vulture. It’s a cycle that reflects the society we live in. This analysis of stereotypes and exile is more relevant today than its ever been.
Where are her glasses? Where is her light saber? And have you heard what she eats? She is most definitely not one of us.
The conclusion of the book, with Nerdy Birdy leaving his safety net behind, is a powerful ending. Aaron presents his audience with a complex story that discusses the meaning of friendship.
Drawn by Matt Davies, the pictures in Nerdy Birdy fit the tone of the book. The birds are caricatures of people we’ve all met. From the arrogant robin to the coincided cardinal, the birds reflect us at our weakest. This is especially true for the outcasts that reject someone else for being different.
As a nerd, I have to admit that I love the design of the geeky birds. From Doctor Who to Star Trek and Star Wars, there’s a shout out for nerds of every fashion. The bird wearing argyle was especially amusing.
This is a great story for every child. The book challenges its audience to think for themselves. The message of the story makes it the perfect tool for teaching children about empathy. After all, who can’t relate to the loneliness of being alone?
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