Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry illustrated by Middy Thomas

I keep seeing Gooney Bird Green mentioned on book lists.  It seems there are a huge number of lists circulating in cyberspace. Lists for second graders, lists about themes, list of books to use for teaching and so on.

Now that I have read Gooney Bird Greene I can see why this title appears on lists for second graders and lists of great read-a-loud books.  Gooney Bird herself is an irresistible storyteller even the class teacher comes under her spell.

Gooney Bird arrives at Watertower Elementary School about one month after school has started for the year.  As chance would have it the class are learning about story writing.  Gooney is a fascinating girl and so when the teacher asks for suggestions about a character for the class story with one voice the whole class suggest Gooney herself.

Her introduction to the class had left every one full of questions :

"I'm your new student.  My name is Gooney Bird Green - that's Greene with a silent 'e' at the end - and I just moved here from China."  Later Gooney also tells the class she has diamond earrings given to her by the prince at a palace, she has traveled on a flying carpet and her cat was consumed by a cow.  These outlandish claims form the basis for a daily storytelling time and these stories will certainly make you smile especially when you hear Gooney say "I only tell absolutely true stories."

There are many sites with questions and ideas for using this book with a class.  This is not a new book but it is a new addition to our school library and one that I am sure many young readers will enjoy.  There are five books in the series so we need to add these to our shopping list.  Reading this book reminded me of Pippi Longstocking.  I especially loved the descriptions of Gooney's clothes each day.

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