cover image Nerdy Birdy

Nerdy Birdy

Aaron Reynolds, illus. by Matt Davies. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-127-2

In this ornithologically themed story of social hierarchy and acceptance, it’s Eagle, Robin, and Cardinal’s world—all the other birds just live in it. Bespectacled, allergic-to-birdseed Nerdy Birdy is resigned to being dissed or dismissed until he discovers a band of “nerdy birdies” just like him—“At least half of them had inhalers,” writes Reynolds (Here Comes Destructosaurus!). “And most of them liked to play World of Wormcraft.” But when a hulking female vulture shows up, Nerdy Birdy discovers that his fellow outcasts can be just as clannish and snobbish as the cool guys (“Where are her glasses?” “And have you heard what she eats? Blecch!!”). There’s no missing the messages about groupthink and staying true to oneself, but Reynolds also includes lots of fine, goofy jokes at the bro birds’ expense (Eagle’s talents include throwing a football, while Cardinal excels at posing). And Davies (Ben Draws Trouble) draws laughs throughout with page after page of witty, Searle-esque drawings; his elegant, scraggly artwork has a comic timing all its own. Ages 4–8. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Sept.)