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  • Gooney Bird Greene
  • Written by Lois Lowry
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780440419600
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  • Gooney Bird Greene
  • Written by Lois Lowry
    Read by Lee Adams
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780739372821
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Read by Lee Adams
On Sale: March 24, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7393-7282-1
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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? Gooney Bird has to sit right smack in the middle of the class because she likes to be in the middle of everything. She is the star of story time and keeps her teacher and classmates on the edge of their seats with her “absolutely true” stories. But what about her classmates? Do they have stories good enough to share?

Excerpt

1.



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 was wearing 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.

"END!"

"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."
Lois Lowry

About Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry - Gooney Bird Greene

Photo © Bachrach

“As a child, I was always writing lists and keeping journals—much like Anastasia does. Today, I still do these things. I guess I’ll always be like Anastasia; I’m still a kid at heart.”—Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry has twice won the prestigious Newbery Medal for Number the Stars and The Giver. In Gathering Blue, the compelling companion to The Giver, Lowry transports young readers to another futuristic society.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Whether she’s writing comedy, adventure, or poignant, powerful drama—from Attaboy, Sam! and Anastasia Krupnik to Number the Stars and The Giver—Lois Lowry’s appeal is as broad as her subject matter and as deep as her desire to affect an eager generation of readers. An author who is “fast becoming the Beverly Cleary for the upper middle grades” (The Horn Book Magazine), Lois Lowry has written over 20 books for young adults and is a two-time Newbery Medal Winner.

Lois Lowry was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and attended junior high school in Tokyo, Japan. Her father was a dentist for the U.S. Army and his job entailed a lot of traveling. Lowry still likes to travel.

At the age of 17, Lowry attended Brown University and majored in writing. She left school at 19, got married, and had four children before her 25th birthday. After some time, she returned to college and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maine.

Lois Lowry didn’t start writing professionally until she was in her mid-30s. Now she spends time writing every single day. Before she begins writing a book, she usually knows the beginning and end of her story. When she’s not writing, Lowry enjoys gardening during the spring and summer and knitting during the winter. One of her other hobbies is photography, and her own photos grace the covers of Number the Stars, The Giver, and Gathering Blue.

Lois Lowry has four children and two grandchildren. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



PRAISE

GATHERING BLUE
A Companion to The Giver

—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

THE GIVER

—A Newbery Medal Winner
—An ALA Notable Book for Children
—An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
—A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book
—A Booklist Editors’ Choice
—A Regina Medal Winner

YOUR MOVE, J.P.!

—A Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Book of the Year

A SUMMER TO DIE

—An ALA Notable Book for Children
—An International Reading Association Children’s Book Award
—A School Library Journal Best Book for Spring

RABBLE STARKEY

—A Boston Globe–Horn Book Award

NUMBER THE STARS

—A Newbery Medal Winner
—An ALA Notable Book for Children
—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
—An American Bookseller Pick of the Lists

AUTUMN STREET

—An ALA Notable Book for Children

ATTABOY, SAM!

—An American Bookseller Pick of the Lists

ANASTASIA, ASK YOUR ANALYST

—An IRA–CBC Children’s Choice

ANASTASIA AGAIN!

—An ALA Notable Book for Children
Praise | Awards

Praise

“Lowry’s masterful writing style reaches directly into her audience, managing both to appeal to young listeners and to engage older readers.”—The Bulletin

“A hybrid of Harriet, Blossom, and Anastasia, irrepressible Gooney Bird is that rare bird in children’s fiction: one that instantly becomes an amusing and popular favorite.”—Kirkus Reviews

Awards

WINNER 2003 ALA Notable Children's Book
WINNER 2004 Massachusetts Children's Book Award

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