by Andrew Root (Author) Erin Kraan (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

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?

Publishers Weekly

Like all the other unicorns, the mythical protagonist at the center of this story by Root (Hamsters Don't Fight Fires!) and Kraan (Something's Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear) has a lavishly curly mane and tail. But instead of living a life of unrelenting frivolity like her peers ("spectacular leaps over shimmering rainbows... splashing majestically in mountain waterfalls"), Fern is a STEM superfan who prefers chemistry, programming, and solving problems. Shunned and teased, Fern still chooses to be a mensch: she is "smart, a good friend, and always willing to help others." Eventually fed up, Fern understandably hesitates when the other unicorns realize they need her know-how to save the Sparkle Dance, but her good heart prevails, and the others are so impressed by her skills that they become STEM converts, too. Thematic repetition makes this tale less than subtle, and its message--practicing generosity in the face of being mistreated--strikes an unfortunate note. But Kraan's extravagantly imagined wood block illustrations offer a feast of rainbow colors and subtle textures that are filled with lovely details, from the tiny red mushrooms by Fern's front door to her zero-gravity ice-cream machine. Ages 3-8. (May)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Andrew Root
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.

Erin Kraan is the illustrator of Mouse Calls by Anne Marie Pace, Nerdycorn by Andrew Root, and Something's Wrong! by Jory John. She 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. She lives in Vancouver, Canada, and adores big mugs of milky coffee, cozy socks, chickadees, smelly candles, and the color green.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2021

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