I am happy to add another well-crafted book for my diverse classroom. I have students that come from different backgrounds and experiences and I think this is a great literature to promote the concept of a sense of belonging. This book subtly highlights the importance of creating a sense of acceptance and when children believe that they are included, they can feel the presence of a community behind them.
It all started in a hot jungle; the poor outcast Oddbird spotted a gorgeous patch of vegetation with a swimming pool. No other colourful birds were willing to swim in the pool, afraid that the beautiful feathers will get frizzy. The other colourful birds were staring at the colourless feathered bird with disgust and simply decided to ostracise him. The resilient Oddbird devises a plan to show the rest of the birds that he is a happy and fun loving bird. He adorns himself with colourful feathers but when he dives into the water, he loses all his fake feathers and the rest of the animals look at him not with revulsion but with envy. The idea of swimming in the water was such a great solution to the hot weather! They are so happy in the pool that they just forget about his dull colours. In my opinion this is a metaphor for the adage, “Happiness eliminates judgemental thoughts.”
I wonder what will happen to Oddbird when the heat goes away? Will the rest of the bird continue to make fun of his dull colours again? I guess Oddbird’s personality says it all – he accepts the way he is and he is not bothered by what other birds think of him – a great lesson to emulate!
What I like most about Oddbird is that he shows the rest of the birds that having a sense of community makes everyone feel relaxed, receptive and motivated. This story gently teaches young children to appreciate value in life and learn to cope with challenges that they face. Desierto’s eye-catching illustrations are absolutely refreshing, and the best part is the portrayal of numerous birds with interesting personalities.