story by Aaron Reynolds; pictures by Matt Davies
Interest level: K through 3rd
Reading level: 3.1
4 out of 5 stars
This is a great book that deals with appreciating that friends do not have to be exactly like you. It also deals with the idea of fitting in with a group without losing your identity.
The Nerdy Birdy illustrations are adorable and there are some cute details that astute young readers can find, such as when we are told that Nerdy’s wings are too small, he is looking at a toy T-Rex in a store window.
Nerdy loves reading, playing video games, and reading about video games. He wants to hang out with the cool birds, but they don’t like the same things he does, and they would rather do things on their own. One day Nerdy encounters a whole group of nerdy birds that look like him and like to do the same things. He thinks he’s finally found the group that will accept all birds who don’t fit the definition of “cool.” Nerdy has a tough decision to make when a vulture shows up and the nerdy group says she isn’t like them and can’t join.
The group he thought would accept everyone who was different is suddenly not accepting of someone who is…different?! Nerdy chooses to be true to himself and befriends the vulture, leaving us with the message that sometimes being part of a group means conforming to ideals that don’t really match what we believe. I love how Nerdy won’t follow the group when he feels they are not being accepting — he is a bird of strong character!
This could make a good beginning of the year story to get kids thinking about looking for friends outside their immediate peer group and being accepting of others.