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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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