Gooney Bird Greene has just transferred to Mrs. Pidgeon's second grade class in Watertower. She is unusually self-confident, likes to be the center of attention, has an eccentric flair for style, and an exciting, almost magical past. When Mrs. Pidgeon suggests storytelling lessons, instead of well-worn Christopher Columbus, the class demands Gooney Bird as the main character of the story.
So begins Gooney Bird's series of autobiographical tales, outlandish in theme but "only absolutely true": "How Gooney Bird Got Her Name","How Gooney Bird Came from China on a Flying Carpet", "The Prince, the Palace, and the Diamond Earrings", "Why Gooney Bird Was Late for School Because She Was Directing a Symphony Orchestra", and "Beloved Catman Is Consumed by a Cow". Along the way, the class learns not just about Gooney Bird, but how to tell a story, and how everyone has a story to tell.