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Gooney Bird Greene (Gooney Bird Greene #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  4,591 Ratings  ·  344 Reviews
Two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry introduces a new girl in class who loves being the center of attention and tells the most entertaining “absolutely true” stories.

There’s never been anyone like Gooney Bird Greene at Watertower Elementary School. What other new kid comes to school wearing pajamas and cowboy boots one day and a polka-dot t-shirt and tutu on another? Goon
Paperback, 88 pages
Published March 9th 2004 by Yearling (first published September 30th 2002)
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I enjoyed this sweet book. Lois uses Gooney Bird as a way to teach children how to tell good stories because Gooney Bird is a natural story telling. Throughout the book she gives tips for story telling. Plus, Gooney Bird is awesome. She is a great character who I am glad to have meet. I can't believe I didn't know her until now.

I want to know more about the quirky character called Gooney. Fun times for kids reading on their own for the first time.
Hafsa Sabira
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a small school of a small town, where everyone knows each-other, a magnificent thing happens. In the middle of the day, Gooney Bird Greene enters into the classroom. Not only her strange outfits and name surprise the students, but also her incredible ability to tell stories. Unlike many others, Gooney Bird tells the absolute truth only, but in such a way that it will keep you glued to the plot. The students and the teacher can not get enough of Gooney Bird's charm. Sadly, Gooney Bird has to m ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the little chapter book that I read to my class every single year about writing and telling stories. Gooney Bird Greene is a natural at spinning a tale. The children just eat this book up. I notice that after each reading, the student's own writing improves by leaps and bounds. Their journal stories come alive as they try to be more descriptive...just like Gooney. And, "suddenly" the word "suddenly" starts appearing more frequently in the journals of my first-time writers. Thank you, Loi ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidfic, fiction
An eccentrically-dressed and apparently over-imaginative second grade girl, Gooney Bird, comes to a new school and entrances the other students (and teacher) with her surprising, “absolutely true” stories. With her deliberate, exact way of speaking and unusual phrasing, she describes her stories before telling them in ways that make it seem as though they’ll be tall tales – but there is always a humorous, prosaic explanation. For example, “I was in jail when this happened” actually refers to Goo ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So lovely.. I loved Gooney Bird Greene, I loved the little kids and the teacher... oh I loved everything about them..

Thank you so much Lois Lowry for this wonderful book :) :)
Laura (Book Scrounger)
Dec 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2nd-grade
This was an interesting "story about stories," as Gooney Bird Greene, one of the stranger characters I've encountered lately, tells her class "absolutely true" stories, such as how she got her name, and how she moved from China in a flying carpet -- with a bit of word play involved. It was cute and will probably help elementary-aged kids learn about storytelling. I found some of the classroom interruptions to be a bit tedious, but I suppose they help with realism.
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Gooney Bird Greene is a new student at Watertower Elementary, who comes to school wearing pajamas and cowboy boots, among many other interesting clothes the following days. From her first day of school, she always wants to be the center of attention; whether that is wearing unique clothes or sitting in the middle of the classroom. When her teacher allows students to tell a story, Gooney is able to keep the classroom on their seats with her "absolutely true" stories, even though they seem anythin ...more
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Gooney Bird Greene loves to be the center of attention (just like most second graders) and only tells absolutely true stories. Gooney Bird is an excellent storyteller and tells a new story to her classroom every day. What's interesting is how Gooney Bird shows that words can mean different things than you might expect, for example, how Gooney Bird moved to her new home from China in a minivan.

A good book for second grade students who are ready for short chapter books.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 8s-9s, funny
About storytelling, really. Gooney Bird is new and entertains class each day with a new story within context of teacher teaching about writing stories (elements of good stories). So it'd be a good one for teachers to use in writing workshop. She misleads class with funky titles that, when taken literally, turn out to be more about the normal stuff of everyday life.
Miss Byler
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Meet a quirky, one-of-a-kind girl when you meet Gooney Bird Greene! She does not seem like the other kids, but they are amazed when she begins to tell her stories. You will be amazed by the stories too when you read it!
Arianna Harris
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i like this book because its like helping to be a good person and not a bad person so you can treat people like how you treat your family and never let your family down you always should be there for then if its an problem or emergency
Becky Martin
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read this to my second graders every year. It is great for story telling, writing, vocabulary, and visualizing!
Liz Garden
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Perfect book to read when talking about oral storytelling and writing ideas during writer's workshop!
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
My children all enjoyed this (8,5,4,2). As for myself, I was particularly impressed with Lowry's introduction of the art of storytelling through the main character.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
It tries to hard to shove the message of accepting differences and eccentricities down your throat. I hate books like that.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This cute book had kept my second grade daughters interest and looking forward to reading with me each night. I love Lois Lowry's use of language and description.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Every single one of these students is in my class.
Sarah Shurm
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry introduces a feisty, yet friendly heroine in this wonderful book. Dressed each day in another eccentric outfit, Gooney Bird Greene conveys to the students of her second grade class a series of stories that Gooney Bird Greene claims to be "absolutely true"—even though initially they seem anything but. Stretching the facts creatively, Lowry uses witty and creative wordplay to describe Gooney Bird’s tall tales. Some of my favorite stories told in this book are w ...more
Madeline Vines
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Gooney Bird Greene was a staple in my elementary school. After we had received our book talk, more than half the grade wanted a turn with that book. Not only is GBG a transitional book in literary terms but her story is transitional. From starting a new school to learning the ins and outs of second grade Gooney Bird remains humorously truthful. This smaller chapter book is perfect for beginning readers wanting to move on to longer works. It is only 96 pages with fairly large font and some cartoo ...more
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got this book years ago when I reviewed for a book review website, and I remember reading it then and enjoying it, but not falling head over heels in love. I pulled it out this week when we needed a new bedtime read aloud with Kate, and just loved it so much more than the first time! It makes an amazing read aloud, one that all three of us enjoyed, and one that totally got to my sentimental adult writer heart.
Anne Meester
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This made for a fantastic read-aloud with my own second-grader. A quick, witty read, it was charming to discover with each chapter how Gooney Bird's stories were in fact "absolutely true" - as long as you opened your mind to the full possibilities of each word and phrase used. Definitely a "read another chapter!" book.
Heather Gunnell
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Staff Pick

Gooney Bird Greene is not like the other students in her new second grade class. She comes to school on the first day in pajamas and cowboy boots. On the second day, her lunch consists of three grapes, an avocado, and an oatmeal cookie. Gooney Bird also tells lots of stories, all of which she insists are "absolutely true."
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute book. Overall enjoyable. Nice idea for a story. Some of the secondary characters are a bit too one-dimensional (but maybe that is suitable for this reading level?). Fun with the double-meanings of aspects of Gooney Bird's stories. Overall nice story, but not standout. Gooney Bird is a good character.
My son really liked this one. I thought it was a good read despite being a bit over the top. It is better read to ones self, than as read aloud - in order to catch the whole play. It's also a good way to inspire story telling.
Eleni Demos
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This great author has tried every field of literature and succeeded in all, including children's lit, which is one of the most impressive feats in my opinion. A good read aloud, this book also can be read just chapter by chapter individually and enjoyed just as well!
Gooney Bird Greene knows how to tell a story! I think this is a perfect third grade read aloud book, and I will be sharing it this year with my class. The story weaves in some fantastic writing strategies. Yeah!
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-author
Loved this book and read the whole thing in print! I had to go check out the next two books in the series. I loved Gooney Bird and her stories and how they pushed the plot along even without all the action I usually read in books.
Anna Jackson
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an ideal read aloud to use along with teaching personal narrative writing. It would probably be best for second grade because that is the age of the class featured in the story, but I'm pretty sure my 3rd graders will like the character and all of her stories.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
i like books that have really good stories and that I just think thats a great kids book. I really enjoyed it because she had lots of adventures and she had heaps of good stories to tell, and I think lots of other kids would like the book really much.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gooney Bird's stories always sound fantastical but then incredibly manage to turn out to be true! Funny, entertaining book. Lowry cleverly suggests to young readers how they might write their own equally entertaining stories.
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Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always
More about Lois Lowry

Other books in the series

Gooney Bird Greene (6 books)
  • Gooney Bird and the Room Mother
  • Gooney the Fabulous
  • Gooney Bird Is So Absurd
  • Gooney Bird on the Map
  • Gooney Bird and All Her Charms

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“I like being right smack in the middle.” 0 likes
“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.” 0 likes
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