by Lois Lowry, published 2002
“The class stared at the new girl with admiration. They had never met anyone like Gooney Bird Greene…Her clothes were unusual. Her hairstyles were unusual. Even her lunches were very unusual.”
This very creative children’s book is all about telling stories, or more specifically, how to notice the stories that are in all of our lives. The classroom setting is perfect for offering the readers a vicarious lesson in storytelling, illustrated by the outrageous yet true stories that Gooney Bird tells, including how she got her name. The fun is in discovering how we can misunderstand a story and jump to the wrong conclusion.
This children’s book is ideal for both classroom use as well as home settings where you want to help children cultivate the art of telling a good story. The book is listed as a first chapter book, though it may require better reading skills than normal. I would say it is perfect for a third-grade reader, and possibly an excellent second grader. However, the way this children’s book is written, it would also be an excellent read-aloud, again either in the classroom or at home.
A handful of pencil drawings are scattered throughout the book, but the book stands on its own quite well. A great exercise that is part of the conclusion of this children’s book is to have the readers find and tell their own story. By the way, when I went to look for this book on Amazon, I discovered there are several other Gooney Bird books. Since Lois Lowry is a fabulous author, I would expect the other books to be equally fun to read.