Gooney Bird Greene (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Gooney Bird Greene (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

by Lois Lowry


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A most unusual new student who loves to be the center of attention entertains her teacher and fellow second-graders by telling absolutely true stories about herself, including how she got her name.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780606367165
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication date: 01/06/2015
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 784,760
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
Age Range: 7 - 10 Years

About the Author

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After several years at Brown University, she turned to her family and to writing. She is the author of more than thirty books for young adults, including the popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award, the California Young Reader's Medal, and the Mark Twain Award. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, NUMBER THE STARS and THE GIVER. Her first novel, A SUMMER TO DIE, was awarded the International Reading Association's Children's Book Award. Ms. Lowry now divides her time between Cambridge and an 1840s farmhouse in Maine. To learn more about Lois Lowry, see her website at

Read an Excerpt


There was a new student in the Watertower Elementary School. She arrived in October, after the first month of school had already passed. She opened the second grade classroom door at ten o'clock on a Wednesday morning and appeared there all alone, without even a mother to introduce her. She was wearing pajamas and cowboy boots and was holding a dictionary and a lunch box.

"Hello," Mrs. Pidgeon, the second grade teacher, said. "We're in the middle of our spelling lesson."

"Good," said the girl in pajamas. "I brought my dictionary. Where's my desk?"

"Who are you?" Mrs. Pidgeon asked politely.

"I'm your new student. My name is Gooney Bird Greene — that's Greene with a silent 'e' at the end — and I just moved here from China. I want a desk right smack in the middle of the room, because I like to be right smack in the middle of everything."

The class stared at the new girl with admiration. They had never met anyone like Gooney Bird Greene.

She was a good student. She sat down at the desk Mrs. Pidgeon provided, right smack in the middle of everything, and began doing second grade spelling. She did all her work neatly and quickly, and she followed instructions.

But soon it was clear that Gooney Bird was mysterious and interesting. Her clothes were unusual. Her hairstyles were unusual. Even her lunches were very unusual.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, her first day in the school, she opened her lunch box and brought out sushi and a pair of bright green chopsticks. On Thursday, her second day at Watertower Elementary School, Gooney Bird Greene waswearing a pink ballet tutu over green stretch pants, and she had three small red grapes, an avocado, and an oatmeal cookie for lunch.

On Thursday afternoon, after lunch, Mrs. Pidgeon stood in front of the class with a piece of chalk in her hand. "Today," she said, "we are going to continue talking about stories."

"Yay!" the second-graders said in very loud voices, all but Felicia Ann, who never spoke, and Malcolm, who wasn't paying attention. He was under his desk, as usual.

"Gooney Bird, you weren't here for the first month of school. But our class has been learning about what makes good stories, haven't we?" Mrs. Pidgeon said. Everyone nodded. All but Malcolm, who was under his desk doing something with scissors.

"Class? What does a story need most of all? Who remembers?" Mrs. Pidgeon had her chalk hand in the air, ready to write something on the board.

The children were silent for a minute. They were thinking. Finally Chelsea raised her hand.

"Chelsea? What does a story need?"

"A book," Chelsea said.

Mrs. Pidgeon put her chalk hand down. "There are many stories that don't need a book," she said pleasantly, "aren't there, class? If your grandma tells you a story about when she was a little girl, she doesn't have that story in a book, does she?"

The class stared at her. All but Malcolm, who was still under his desk, and Felicia Ann, who always looked at the floor, never raised her hand, and never spoke.

Beanie said, "My grandma lives in Boston!"

Keiko said, "My grandma lives in Honolulu!"

Ben said loudly, "My grandma lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania!"

Tricia shouted, "My grandma is very rich!"

"Class!" said Mrs. Pidgeon. "Shhh!" Then, in a quieter voice, she explained, "Another time, we will talk about our families. But right now —" She stopped talking and looked at Barry Tuckerman. Barry was up on his knees in his seat, and his hand was waving in the air as hard as he could make it wave.

"Barry?" Mrs. Pidgeon said. "Do you have something that you simply have to say? Something that cannot possibly wait?"

Barry nodded yes. His hand waved.

"And what is so important?"

Barry stood up beside his desk. Barry Tuckerman liked to make very important speeches, and they always required that he stand.

"My grandma," Barry Tuckerman said, "went to jail once. She was twenty years old and she went to jail for civil disobedience." Then Barry sat down.

"Thank you, Barry. Now look at what I'm writing on the board. Who can read this word?"

Everyone, all but Malcolm and Felicia Ann, watched as she wrote the long word. Then they shouted it out. "BEGINNING!"

"Good!" said Mrs. Pidgeon. "Now I'm sure you'll all know this one." She wrote again.

"MIDDLE!" the children shouted.

"Good. And can you guess what the last word will be?" She held up her chalk and waited.


"Correct!" Mrs. Pidgeon said. "Good for you, second-graders! Those are the parts that a story needs: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Now I'm going to write another very long word on the board. Let's see what good readers you are." She wrote a C, then an H.

"Mrs. Pidgeon!" someone called.

She wrote an A, and then an R.

"MRS. PIDGEON!" Several children were calling now.

She turned to see what was so important. Malcolm was standing beside his desk. He was crying.

"Malcolm needs to go to the nurse, Mrs. Pidgeon!" Beanie said.

Mrs. Pidgeon went to Malcolm and knelt beside him. "What's the trouble, Malcolm?" she asked. But he couldn't stop crying.

"I know, I know!" Nicholas said. Nicholas always knew everything, and his desk was beside Malcolm's.

"Tell me, Nicholas."

"Remember Keiko showed us how to make origami stars?"

All of the second-graders reached into their desks and their pockets and their lunch boxes. There were tiny stars everywhere. Keiko had shown them how to make origami stars out of small strips of paper. The stars were very easy to make. The school janitor had complained just last Friday that he was sweeping up hundreds of origami stars.

"Malcolm put one in his nose," Nicholas said, "and now he can't get it out."

"Is that correct, Malcolm?" Mrs. Pidgeon asked. Malcolm nodded and wiped his eyes.

"Don't sniff, Malcolm. Do not sniff. That is an order." She took his hand and walked with him to the classroom door. She turned to the class. "Children," she said, "I am going to be gone for exactly one minute and thirty seconds while

I walk with Malcolm to the nurse's office down the hall.

Stay in your seats while I'm gone. Think about the word character.

"A character is what a story needs. When I come back from the nurse's office, we are going to create a story together. You must choose who the main character will be. Talk among yourselves quietly. Think about interesting characters like Abraham Lincoln, or perhaps Christopher Columbus, or —"

"Babe Ruth?" called Ben.

"Yes, Babe Ruth is a possibility. I'll be right back."

Mrs. Pidgeon left the classroom with Malcolm.

When she returned, one minute and thirty seconds later, without Malcolm, the class was waiting. They had been whispering, all but Felicia Ann, who never whispered.

"Have you chosen?" she asked. The class nodded. All of their heads went up and down, except Felicia Ann's, because she always looked at the ßoor.

"And your choice is —?"

All of the children, all but Felicia Ann, called out together. "Gooney Bird Greene!" they called.

Mrs. Pidgeon sighed. "Class," she said, "there are many different kinds of stories. There are stories about imaginary creatures, like —"

"Dumbo!" Tricia called out.

"Raise your hand if you want to speak, please," Mrs. Pidgeon said. "But yes, Tricia, you are correct. Dumbo is an imaginary character. There are also stories about real people from history, like Christopher Columbus, and —" She stopped. Barry Tuckerman was waving and waving his hand. "Yes, Barry? Do you have something very important to say?"

Barry Tuckerman stood up. He twisted the bottom of his shirt around and around in his fingers. "I forget," he said at last.

"Well, sit back down then, Barry. Now, I thought, class, that since Christopher Columbus's birthday is coming up soon —" She looked at Barry Tuckerman, whose hand was waving like a windmill once again. "Barry?" she said.

Barry Tuckerman stood up again. "We already know all the stories about Christopher Columbus," he said. "We want to hear a true story about Gooney Bird Greene."

"Yes! Gooney Bird Greene!" the class called.

Mrs. Pidgeon sighed again. "I'm afraid I don't know many facts abut Gooney Bird Greene," she said. "I know a lot of facts about Christopher Columbus, though. Christopher Columbus was born in —"

"We want Gooney Bird!" the class chanted.

"Gooney Bird?" Mrs. Pidgeon said, finally. "How do you feel about this?"

Gooney Bird Greene stood up beside her desk in the middle of the room. "Can I tell the story?" she asked. "Can I be right smack in the middle of everything? Can I be the hero?"

"Well, since you would be the main character," Mrs. Pidgeon said, "I guess that would put you in the middle of everything. I guess that would make you the hero."

"Good," Gooney Bird said. "I will tell you an absolutely true story about me."

Customer Reviews

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Gooney Bird Greene 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was really good if you think its for little kids by looking at the front its not it is for kids of ALL ages actually highly reccomend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is by far the best book i ever read! I wish lowry would make a sequel because i was sad when it ended!i give it 10000000000000000000000(ect) stars ! ITS A MUST READ Book Addict
Sean Long More than 1 year ago
A great book 4 3rd graders.
Bill Murray More than 1 year ago
this book is awsome i read it myself but not on the nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended this book to me for my second/third grade class. Read it and loved it! Will be a fabulous read aloud that kids can connect with as well as a wonderful book for teaching writing. I want more Gooney books now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want a book that helps your child or students write, this is an excellent start. Gooney Bird guides the children through her life while teaching the children in her classroom where to get stories and how to tell them. I used this book with the students in my classroom, and we all loved it. I plan to use other Lois Lowry books to help further their understanding of writing.
Heather19 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I guess this was an okay story, and maybe the unrealistic writing was the author's way of expressing how unusual Gooney Bird was. But to me it came off as more annoying/stupid then anything else. What kind of teacher always addresses her class by their grade? "Okay second-graders!" It sounds so strange! And the way Gooney Bird acts, how she says "I like to be absolutely the center of attention" all the time, and even talks down to the teacher! She basically runs the classroom, and it's just so unrealistic that it gets annoying.However, I did like the basic plot. The idea of turning ordinary happenings, like giving driving directions, into a big awesome story just by knowing how to tell it a certain way (and still remain truthful), it's a pretty good storyline.
mmsharp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gooney Bird Greene is about a new girl in school who knows how to 'tell stories.' She's always dressed unique and has her own style about herself. She tells stories very well with props and almost as an adult voice that she portrays.
MesserPicks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cute story about a unique little girl who is a great story teller. The thing that I like about this book is it would be a great way to teach students about great stories and holding the reader's/listener's attention. This would be a great read aloud to share with students when discussing important elements of a story!
kaitlinc23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Genre: Realistic Fiction Level: Primary This book is a good example of realistic fiction because this is a real setting in a classroom, with a classroom teacher, students and a brand new student. This little girl comes into the class and is quite the story teller. She has the class completely into all of her stories. This is a real type of setting but the scenario is not real.
bibliophile26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for my Battle of the Books Team at work. A thoroughly horrible book. Lowry (Newbery award winner of The Giver) is so much better than this.
the_abbeys on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful and insightful book on storytelling. You will enjoy the interesting stories of Gooney Bird Greene and will 'suddenly' feel transported inside Mrs. Pidgeon's class. My son learned a lot about writing and telling a story from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You were Ambahstah, right? e-e ~Le Coconut
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok)) " name is Foreverdawn" her eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him with pale blue eyes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She sighs. She leaves the clan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
[Sorry, something was up with my wifi yesterday -_-] Oakstar felt helpless as did Simpleglow. Looking at her with a slightly desperate look, the tom leaned forward. "Forever what?" He questioned, his confusion setting in because of her words. •>Confused Oakstar
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I think it was GREAT! It was better than a lot of the books I frequently read. If you enjoyed this book, you'll also enjoy "The Giver", which is also by Lois Lowry. "The Giver" and "Gooney Bird Greene" are not the same, but both are great books.
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