Gooney Bird Greene

by Lois Lowry (2002)

Following in the steps of Pippi Longstocking, Ramona Quimby, and Junie B. Jones, meet…

Gooney Bird Greene – a girl whose clothing and stories are as outlandish as her name!  This eccentric, confident second grader grabs her classmates’ attention and wins their admiration the minute she walks in the classroom door – wearing her pajamas and cowboy boots! – declaring that she wants to be “smack dab in the middle of everything.” Readers will be equally curious to learn all about the girl who came from China on a flying carpet.

This first installment in the Gooney Bird series introduces the inimitable character who delights both boys and girls with her “absolutely true” stories.  Lowry introduces the reader to some basic storytelling techniques as Gooney Bird’s raucous narratives veer from the suspenseful to the hilarious.  Gooney Bird shares writing tips as she entertains her audience with stories of flying carpets, serving jail time, saving Napoleon, and directing an orchestra.

Children, as well as adults, will learn the most important lesson of all when they realize that making assumptions about the meaning of someone’s words can often lead to confusion and hilarity.  Invite your students to take up Gooney Bird’s challenge and learn how to create “invisible” stories – on their own.