Saturday, May 22, 2021

Review: Nerdycorn by Andrew Root

The second I heard this title, I had to get my hands on it. A unicorn who is a nerd and loves science...gosh, yes! So, today's review is a picture book for unicorn lovers? Well, not only. (Thank heavens because I'm one of those who cringes when unicorns fart rainbows and burp glitter). But this a unicorn seems like it could be right down a unique lane. 

Let's see if it is.

by Andrew Root
Illustrated by Erin Kraan
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8
40 pages

Fern isn’t your usual unicorn… she loves chemistry and math more than glitter or flowers—and she refuses to change who she is in this sweet and empowering picture book about being yourself—and standing up for yourself, too!

Meet Fern! She’s a smart, creative unicorn who prefers building robots and coding software to jumping through shimmering rainbows and splashing in majestic waterfalls. Even though Fern is a good friend and always willing to help others, the other unicorns tease her and call her a nerdycorn.

One day, Fern has had enough and decides to stop fixing her friends’ broken things. But then the confetti machine, the rainbow synthesizer, and the starlight bedazzler all go haywire during the biggest Sparkle Dance Party of the year! Fern can certainly fix them… but will she?



                                           * unicorns
                                           * mentions all sorts of 'real life' devices never said in picture books
                                           * bullying
                                           * staying true to one's self
                                           * kindness and forgiveness


The image of unicorns gets tossed on its head as a special unicorn steps in to save the day.

All unicorns prance on rainbows and do happy, glittery, unicorn things. All of them except Fern. She loves to calculate, create, build and calibrate...and she's a super helpful unicorn. But no matter how kind she is, the other unicorns still poke fun at her. When enough is enough, she closes her door and stays in her lab, refusing to help those nasty unicorns...until they knock on her door.

The idea of a Nerdycorn won me over immediately. Add the cover with a blowtorch and experiments bubbling in the background, and this unicorn had to be a creature after my own heart. This book is definitely original and is one that will capture unicorn fans' attention as well as anti-unicorn peeps, who actually would kind of love to love unicorns...if each one didn't fart rainbows and such. 

Let's start with the text, shall we? The story is well written and adds humorous as well as original sparks. The main text tells the tale, while little added words in the illustrations bring thoughts and humor to life. The vocabulary is, in general, very age appropriate, but this author goes further and allows terminology from the mechanical, science, and engineering world to dribble in. I couldn't help but smile as computer coding, multimeters and arc welders mixed right in with pure imaginative items like zero-gravity ice-cream experiments. 

The illustrations are brightly colored, pulse with energy and hold so many amazing, quirky details to add gazing enjoyment. But then, this is about unicorns and science, experiment-loving ones. 

And there's a message. Now, if anything, it was this part which left me just a tiny bit less enthusiastic. While the idea of bullying and not fitting in fits to the age group and is an important message, Fern's sour attitude and sudden (out of nowhere) desire to change it hit strange. But that is really only a slight stutter and doesn't really effect the rest of the sparkle and shine...or, in this case, calibrating and grind. This is a read young listeners are sure to enjoy as a read-aloud or simply gaze at on their own.

And here they are...

The Author...
Andrew Root is an author and a trained therapist, active in community mental health and the public education system in Portland, Oregon. Andrew works as the clinical manager of a therapeutic school serving youth and adolescents with a variety of behavioral and mental health needs. His experiences working with children have led him to realize the importance a good book can have both socially and academically. Andrew enjoys playing soccer and chasing his wife, two kids, and dog around his backyard.

The Illustrator...
Erin Kraan grew up in a family of woodworkers, sewers, and painters, crafters who greatly influenced her chosen illustration medium, woodcut printing. She loves the process of carving her characters into the wood and seeing how their quirky and whimsical identities come to life through the ink in the prints. When she isn’t making woodcuts, she loves going hiking through the woods with her German Wirehaired Pointer, Freya. She adores big mugs of milky coffee, cozy socks, chickadees, smelly candles, and the color green.

No comments: