We recently discovered a series of short chapter books by Lois Lowry about a delightful character named Gooney Bird Greene. She dresses in wacky outfits and likes to be in the middle of everything. Her self-confidence is amazing as are her story-telling abilities.
In the first book, Gooney Bird Greene, Gooney has just moved to a new town and a new second grade class. She arrives late and tells her teacher an amazing tale in explanation of her tardiness. When the teacher asks her to please tell the truth she says all her stories are absolutely true.
The class is doing a unit on story elements and Gooney Bird begins a tradition of telling one of her “absolutely true” stories every day. The text alternates between Gooney’s stories all of which have interesting twists and the events going on in the classroom. The reader gets acquainted with several students in Gooney’s class and Lowry does a great job developing their personalities as well.
M (who is 4.5) identified immediately with Gooney especially since M also wears outlandish outfits and likes to be the center of attention. Before we read this, I didn’t know if M realized her fashion sense was different from the standards in our culture. Now I know that she realizes it but, like Gooney, doesn’t care. In fact, she now refers to her most creative outfits as Gooney Bird Greene outfits. We flew through the chapters in our read-aloud sessions and M couldn’t wait to get her hands on the other two books. We just finished Gooney the Fabulous and I’m going to order Gooney Bird and the Room Mother.
I highly recommend checking out Gooney Bird Greene!