Gooney Bird Greene

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First edition (publ. Houghton Mifflin)

Gooney Bird Greene (2002) is the first of a series of children's novels by Lois Lowry concerning the storytelling abilities of a second-grade girl. It was illustrated by Middy Thomas.


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.

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