Gooney Bird Greene Chapter Books

If you’re looking for a delightful choice for read-aloud time—or if your child is eager to explore a series of humorous chapter books—here’s one you won’t want to miss: Lois Lowry’s lighthearted Gooney Bird Greene series.

Who Is Gooney Bird Greene?

Gooney Bird Greene book cover

Gooney Bird Greene is a second grade student who likes to be “right smack in the middle of everything”and  luckily for Gooney Bird, she usually is. She has a memorable sense of style that her classmates love, and so do readers. On her first day of school, Gooney Bird wears pajamas and cowboy boots and carries a dictionary and a lunch box. Later she pairs green stretch pants with a polka-dot T-shirt and a pink ballet tutu.

Gooney Bird is a born storyteller and tells fanciful stories that are somewhat reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking, except that unlike Pippi’s stories, Gooney Bird’s are always “absolutely true.” With her outlandish outfits and penchant for the spotlight, Gooney Bird transforms the atmosphere of Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class.

The Gooney Bird series is clever and humorous, and readers will love the recurring cast of characters, including Malcolm, Keiko, Felicia Ann, and many others. But Gooney Bird is undoubtedly the star of the show. As she says of herself, “I like to be absolutely the center of attention.” (Good news! She succeeds.)

Take our free Gooney Bird Greene checklist to your local library!

About the Author and Series

Gooney Bird and the Room Mother book cover

Lois Lowry is the author of more than 30 books for children and young adults, and a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal. In addition to the six-book Gooney Bird Greene series, Lowry’s books include Number the Stars, The Giver, Anastasia Krupnik, and All About Sam.

At first glance the Gooney Bird Greene series might seem like “just another” humorous series of chapter books, but the series actually introduces readers to the basics of storytelling, the allure of poetry, the delight of an expansive vocabulary, and more. Best of all, the books are deceptively educational, with new concepts and terms woven into the stories so smoothly that children may not even realize they are learning something. Throughout the series, educational material is presented within the palatable package of six delightful stories. It’s a perfect concept!

About the Books

The first book in the series, Gooney Bird Greene, introduces us to the spirited Gooney Bird Greene along with the rest of Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class. Gooney Bird’s classmates quickly realize that they’ve never met anyone quite like Gooney Bird, and through a series of “absolutely true” stories, Gooney Bird teaches the children all about storytelling and story structure. Readers are introduced to new words and concepts related to writing, including suspense, flashbacks, secondary characters, the parts of a story, and more.

In the second book in the series, Gooney Bird and the Room Mother, Mrs. Pidgeon’s class embarks on a study of the dictionary. With Gooney Bird as their leader, the class explores the importance of an expanded vocabulary and introduces the reader to a variety of interesting words from ennui to incognito.

The fifth book, Gooney Bird on the Map, introduces Mrs. Pidgeon’s class to the wonders of history and geography in the memorable way that only Gooney Bird can. In one episode, for example, Gooney Bird says, “I don’t think it’s fair that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln get all the attention” after pointing out that President William Henry Harrison also had a birthday in February.

The Gooney Bird Greene Series at a Glance

Gooney Bird on the Map book cover

Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: children’s fiction, humor
Interests: humor, friendship, imagination
Suggested age range: 6 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 6 books, 80 to 126 pages

Other Books in the Series

Get to Know Gooney Bird Greene …

Gooney Bird Greene library checklist

Do your kids need some extra encouragement to read?

Take our FREE Gooney Bird Greene Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off books as she reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

FREE Chapter Book Library Lists

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What is the reading level of the Gooney Bird series?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

The Gooney Bird Greene series is considered a 3rd-grade reading level. We recommend it for younger ages as well, as the books make great read alouds for younger students to listen to and enjoy.

Emily Whitfield


Thanks for this book series recommendation. I bought the series for my daughter for Christmas and we read a chapter each night. She loves the book series and is excited to read before bed.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for letting us know that your daughter is enjoying this series, Emily!

Melissa Warner


Would you happen to have a list of books that my child could read after each level is finished?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yes, we keep a running list of books for each level. We don’t know of another set of readers that will correlate exactly, so you may have to teach some new patterns or just supply the word for your child.

Here are some possibilities for reinforcement during and after AAR 1:
– Bob books, Sets 1 & 2

– DK Flip the Page Rhyme and Read books: Pat the Cat, Jen the Hen, Mig the Pig, Tog the Dog, and Zug the Bug.

– Usborne Very First Readers or My First Library

– Sonlight’s Fun Tales (27 books in one box, using short vowel words), and I Can Read It Book 1 (the first part)

– Christian Liberty Press readers, (It Is Fun to Read, Pals and Pets)

– Half Pint Readers – Level a for the first part of AAR 1, Level b for the second part. Level C would go more with AAR 2.

American Language Series books. The first two titles, “Fun in the Sun” and “Scamp and Tramp”, go pretty well with AAR 1 and the second two titles, “Soft and White” and “At the Farm”, would go along with AAR 2., while the last two, “On the Trail” and “Sounds of the Sea”, go along with AAR 3.

– Books by Nora Gaydos (bright pictures with stories, these come in packs of 10–see the Level 1 sets)

– Merrill Readers (meant for remediation, so the covers might appeal to older students as well.)

Simple Words Books: Decodable chapter books

– Dash into Reading (expensive, but see if you can find a coupon or if your library has them)

– I See Sam Readers (also available online for free)

– I Like to Read books: I see a Cat, See Me Dig, Big Cat, Happy Cat, I Will Try, Pig Has a Plan
Cat Traps (Step-Into-Reading, Step 1)

Miss Rhonda Readers Set 1 (these do include some two-syllable words and unfamiliar phonograms occasionally)

Meg and Greg books (these books have text for the parent to read and then text for the student. They follow AAR 1 fairly well but do include two-syllable words like “rocket” that students won’t learn until level 2, so you would have to help your children with some words.)

Primary Phonics (sets 1 and 1A go pretty well with AAR 1)

Reading Teacher

– Fun Phonics–the first 3 books

Progressive Phonics – Free phonics books that can be read online or downloaded and used right away.

We Read Phonics Big pictures with one sentence. Example of level 1 is “Bugs on the Bus”. Example of level 2 is “Which Pet is Best”.

– We Both Read books. On the left hand pages there is text for the parent to read and on the right is text for the kids to read. Here’s an example.

– Flyleaf Publishing Emergent Readers

– The Core Knowledge LA Kindergarten readers are usually decodable after AAR/AAS level 1. The readers start at unit 6. Unit 10 (the last Kindergarten unit) has some silent e words, which wouldn’t be accessible yet to students doing AAR. They’re free to download.

– A Pig, A Fox, and a Box, and A Pig, A Fox and Stinky Socks. Funny, but do have a few words not taught in AAR 1. Some moms have found them accessible though.

– S.P.I.R.E. Decodable Readers. Level 1 uses short vowels and these phonograms: a, i, o, u, e, sh, ch, th, wh, -ng, -nk. You would want to introduce how to read the wh phonogram. Some of the Level 2 readers would work too, and then others would be better with AAR 2. Those include: ff, ll, ss, al, wa, qu, ck, tch, and vowel-consonant E words.

Here are some ideas for additional reading that others have used during and after AAR 2:

– High Noon Books Sound Out Chapter Books

– Christian Liberty Press has a set of 4 Phonics readers: It Is Fun To Read, Pals and Pets, A Time At Home, and It Is a Joy To Learn. Book 3 mainly uses concepts from AAR 2 (some 3)

– Sonlight 1 and 2 readers.

Simple Words Books: Decodable chapter books

– Dr. Seuss books.

– Now I’m Reading.

– Bob Books (these start easy but the higher sets do use more advanced words. Older students may think they’re too childish however.) Levels 3, 4, and 5 include concepts mainly from levels 2-3 of AAR.

– Flyleaf, Books to Remember Decodable Literature – some of these can work with AAR 2 and above.

– I See Sam readers (free online, or they can be purchased)

Miss Rhonda Readers Set 2

American Language Series books. The first two titles, “Fun in the Sun” and “Scamp and Tramp”, go pretty well with AAR 1 and the second two titles, “Soft and White” and “At the Farm”, would go along with AAR 2.

– Fun Phonics might also be a possibility–the last 3 books include concepts mainly from Level 2.

– From EPS Books (http://www.epsbooks.com):
Primary Phonics Story Books
S.P.I.R.E. Decodable Readers
The Alphabet Series

Progressive Phonics – Free phonics books that can be read online or downloaded and used right away. Follows AAR very closely.

– The McGuffey Readers were used for years from the mid-1800′s into the early 1900′s to teach reading. They are available online for free in the public domain.

We Both Read books – These books are designed for the parent to read one page of more difficult text and the child reads the other page of easier text.

Additional readers for during and after AAR 3:

– High Noon Books Sound Out Chapter Books

– The series with titles that start with Mr. Putter and Tabby… Such as Pick the Pears, Paint the Porch, Dance the Dance, Spin the Yarn, Stir the Soup (and many more)

– Christian Liberty Press has a set of 4 Phonics readers: It Is Fun To Read, Pals and Pets, A Time At Home, and It Is a Joy To Learn. Book 3 mainly uses concepts from AAR 2 and 3 and book 4 could be read after AAR 3, though it includes a few concepts from 4.

– Sonlight readers–their early cores have some wonderful choices such as the Frog and Toad books, Amelia Bedelia, Nate the Great, and other childhood favorites.

American Language Series books. The first two titles, “Fun in the Sun” and “Scamp and Tramp”, go pretty well with AAR 1 and the second two titles, “Soft and White” and “At the Farm”, would go along with AAR 2., while the last two, “On the Trail” and “Sounds of the Sea”, go along with AAR 3.

– My Father’s Dragon trilogy

– Magic Treehouse books

– Henry and Mudge series

– Now I’m Reading.

– Fly Leaf, A Book to Remember – Books 2 and 3 can be read after Level 3 of AAR.

– Fun Phonics might also be a possibility–the last 3 books include concepts from levels 2-3

After completing AAR 4, our recommendations are:

– Check out our article What Happens after All About Reading? for lots of ideas on what to do next.

– Read-read-read! Get your students hooked on an age-appropriate series. Subscribe to kid-friendly magazines, check out tons of books from the library, have them read instructions for games they want to play.

– Set a daily reading time for your students to read for 30 minutes. Choose books that interest your student, both fiction and non-fiction. You can also choose books that correlate to other things you are studying, such as historical fiction or Usborne books that cover science topics. Possible sources:
Literature-based curriculum such as Sonlight
Resource books like Honey for a Child’s Heart
The 1000 Good Books List
Books for Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day
Check out the Chapter Book Reviews on our Blog

– Complete the All About Spelling program, which supports reading.

I hope this helps! If you come across additional titles, let us know so we can add them to our lists. Please let us know if you have additional questions.



I just have to say how much my seven and five-year-old and I are enjoying this series. We are on the last book and we all wish they were more!! They are so educational as well as super funny and entertaining. Thank you for the suggestion.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for coming back and letting us know how much you and your children are enjoying these books, Tara!

EM Pears


I didn’t realize that this was a series! We read one Gooney Bird book and loved it! It was laugh out loud delightful. I will look for the other books as I’m sure our children will enjoy them all! Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you enjoy them as much as the first book!



Desperately seeking help for my almost 9 year old daughter. Have tried many options and while many are great none have been the answer for us. we do AAS and really enjoy that. Would love to give AAR a go too.



Looking for some extra help getting my 8 year old to read better.



Thank you for this great suggestion – my daughter loves chapter books so we are always on the lookout for new ones!


says: Customer Service

You’re welcome; enjoy!

Hannah C.


I’m excited to check these out for my kids!



I printed this list and my daughter loves these stories! Thank you so much!

Katie Bishop


This book series looks pretty fun! I loved Pippi Longstocking as a kid! I think I will have to check these out!



SO glad you posted this! I found a few Gooney Bird books at the thrift store and quickly snatched them up!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I love it when I find books I have heard good things about at thrift stores. Great find!



We loved the first four. Need to get to the last two. Lots of fun as read alouds!



We love these books! Full of delightful stories told by the hysterical main character Gooney. Lots of laughing during our reading times.

Dandi D


I’d never heard of this series before, but it sounds like something my niece would enjoy!

mya burgoon


I love Lois Lowry! Such good child hood memories 😊 . How fun to revisit with my own kids..



These look cute!



We hope to check these books out soon!

Kimberly Bettis


Can’t wait for my kids to fall in love with reading. Thank you for the recommendations!


says: Customer Service

Try reading these aloud to your children. I found my kids were older before reading was “fun” and not just “work,” but reading aloud can really help build up that love for reading in the mean time. Hang in there!



What great timing, I have been looking for a new book series for my kids. Gooney Bird Greene sounds great, we’ll definitely look for it the next time we’re at our local library!



Thanks for this! Been looking for chapter books to get my 7-year-old hooked!



Can’t wait for my daughter to read and finally fall in love with leisure reading!



Hoping these will encourage my 2nd grader to read more.



Our girls LOVE Gooney Bird Greene!



These are such fun books. We have so enjoyed them.

Judy Christensen


I like the concept of a young person teaching.



Thanks! I’ve been searching for a new series to start reading to my kids.

Nancy Pritchett


We read Gooney Bird Greene aloud for school. I did not realize it was a series; my kids will be so excited.



I just got the first book from the library! Can’t wait to start reading it to my 3 kiddos!



My 8-year-old daughter loves the Gooney Bird Greene stories, and requested more of them at the library. I prefer them to Junie B Jones. Junie B. uses atrocious grammar and invented words to express her 5-year-old (perhaps younger) self. Good grammar, good words and proper spelling can be picked up, even while reading for fun.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for this detailed review, Lacy. We did have a question about how Gooney Bird Green compared to Junie B. Jones, so this is very helpful.

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