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Gooney Bird and the Room Mother Hardcover – April 4, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3–Gooney Bird likes to be "right smack in the middle of everything" in Mrs. Pidgeon's second-grade class. The children are preparing for the Thanksgiving pageant (with Indians in feather headbands) and they are in desperate need of a room mother as all of the parents have refused. When Mrs. Pidgeon decides that the lead role of Squanto will go to the student who can come up with one, Gooney Bird comes to the rescue. She tells the class the story of how she convinced someone to take the job. The only catch is that this person wants to remain incognito until the big day. In Gooney Bird Greene (Houghton, 2002), Lowry used Gooney Bird's stories to introduce the different elements of storytelling. The focus in this sequel is the meaning of words. Whenever a difficult word such as "incognito" is introduced, the children are sent to their dictionaries to look it up. This technique flows well within the story, which is told mostly through dialogue. This is a fast-paced read, with Thomas's black-and-white drawings highlighting key moments. This sequel stands on its own, but readers may want to go back and learn how unique Gooney Bird Greene became a part of this classroom.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. The lively hero of the chapter book Gooney Bird Greene (2002) is back in her idyllic second-grade classroom, as the children get ready to celebrate a pageant of the First Thanksgiving. Dressed in various exuberant outfits, Gooney is in charge, and she even shows her wonderful teacher a thing or two. Gooney Bird's focus is on the wonder of words--from cajole and ennui to fiasco. Her special word is incognito, because she has arranged to get a room mother for the class, whose identity must be kept secret until the day of the pageant. Relaxed black-and-white illustrations capture the diverse classroom. The lessons are fun (including the history of Squanto), as are the classroom characters. Best of all is the story, which builds to a tense, beautiful climax as the identity of the room mother is revealed. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Gooney Bird
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 3rd Edition edition (April 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618532307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618532308
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,099,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More 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 www.loislowry.com

author interview
A CONVERSATION WITH LOIS LOWRY ABOUT THE GIVER

Q. When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

A. I cannot remember ever not wanting to be a writer.

Q. What inspired you to write The Giver?

A. Kids always ask what inspired me to write a particular book or how did I get an idea for a particular book, and often it's very easy to answer that because books like the Anastasia books come from a specific thing; some little event triggers an idea. But a book like The Giver is a much more complicated book, and therefore it comes from much more complicated places--and many of them are probably things that I don't even recognize myself anymore, if I ever did. So it's not an easy question to answer.

I will say that the whole concept of memory is one that interests me a great deal. I'm not sure why that is, but I've always been fascinated by the thought of what memory is and what it does and how it works and what we learn from it. And so I think probably that interest of my own and that particular subject was the origin, one of many, of The Giver.

Q. How did you decide what Jonas should take on his journey?

A. Why does Jonas take what he does on his journey? He doesn't have much time when he sets out. He originally plans to make the trip farther along in time, and he plans to prepare for it better. But then, because of circumstances, he has to set out in a very hasty fashion. So what he chooses is out of necessity. He takes food because he needs to survive. He takes the bicycle because he needs to hurry and the bike is faster than legs. And he takes the baby because he is going out to create a future. And babies always represent the future in the same way children represent the future to adults. And so Jonas takes the baby so the baby's life will be saved, but he takes the baby also in order to begin again with a new life.

Q. When you wrote the ending, were you afraid some readers would want more details or did you want to leave the ending open to individual interpretation?

A. Many kids want a more specific ending to The Giver. Some write, or ask me when they see me, to spell it out exactly. And I don't do that. And the reason is because The Giver is many things to many different people. People bring to it their own complicated beliefs and hopes and dreams and fears and all of that. So I don't want to put my own feelings into it, my own beliefs, and ruin that for people who create their own endings in their minds.

Q. Is it an optimistic ending? Does Jonas survive?

A. I will say that I find it an optimistic ending. How could it not be an optimistic ending, a happy ending, when that house is there with its lights on and music is playing? So I'm always kind of surprised and disappointed when some people tell me that they think the boy and the baby just die. I don't think they die. What form their new life takes is something I like people to figure out for themselves. And each person will give it a different ending. I think they're out there somewhere and I think that their life has changed and their life is happy, and I would like to think that's true for the people they left behind as well.

Q. In what way is your book Gathering Blue a companion to The Giver?

A. Gathering Blue postulates a world of the future, as The Giver does. I simply created a different kind of world, one that had regressed instead of leaping forward technologically as the world of The Giver has. It was fascinating to explore the savagery of such a world. I began to feel that maybe it coexisted with Jonas's world . . . and that therefore Jonas could be a part of it in a tangential way. So there is a reference to a boy with light eyes at the end of Gathering Blue. He can be Jonas or not, as you wish.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#9 in Books > Teens
#9 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on May 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gooney Bird Greene is a precocious second grader who loves to be "right smack in the middle of everything." Gooney has her own colorful and unusual sense of fashion, which includes wearing mismatched socks, elbow-length gloves, straw hats with flowers and silver wet-look ski pants. Her high-spirited personality stands out when she's telling her "absolutely true" stories, and she has no problem being the center of attention. This is a youngster with incredible self-esteem.

Gooney Bird also shares a few challenging vocabulary words with her class and obtains dictionaries for every class member so they can check out the meaning of new words.

Mrs. Pidgeon's class also needs a room mother. But with all the children's parents otherwise occupied, no parents are prepared to bring cupcakes to the Thanksgiving pageant. Gooney Bird promises to find a room mother if she is given the lead in the Thanksgiving pageant. There is also another rule: The room mother will remain incognito.

The suspense builds as we wait to learn if the Thanksgiving pageant is a success and who is the mysterious room mother.

Gooney Bird and the Room Mother is a charming book that 6-to-10-year-olds will read again and again. Gooney Bird is comical; her teacher is every child's dream teacher. And the room mother, well you'll have to read the book to learn about the room mother.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on September 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Gooney Bird Green is in search of the perfect room mother for her second grade class. The teacher has set up a contest. The person who finds the class a room mother will get to be Squanto in the Thanksgiving play. Join Gooney Bird in her search. You will be surprised to find out who she finds to fill the role!

The book was very funny.

I would recommend this book. It's a must read for all Lois Lowry Fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Advanced elementary to early middle school readers will relish Lois Lowry's Gooney Bird And The Room Mother telling of Gooney Bird Greene, who likes to be the center of attention most of the time. Her roles are changing as she enter second grade, leaving her in doubt about her future roles - and a mysterious Room Mother. Black and white drawings by Middy Thomas embellish the second Gooney Bird story, which needs no introduction to prove intriguing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you with daughters looking for books with strong, memorable female characters, Gooney Bird Greene is a must read series. We borrowed this book from the library initially, and enjoyed it so much we bought a copy for my daughter's 3rd grade class, along with 8 dictionaries for the third graders to use. Not only is it an enjoyable story for the first- to third-grade age range, it also motivates them to learn how to use a dictionary. I agree with one of the other reviewers that the story is not quite as strong as the first book, but it is still an enjoyable read.

Additionally, it has a surprise ending that got me choked up, and when I checked to see how my daughter's teacher liked it, she had also been surprised and choked up by the ending.

Lastly, it wasn't until we picked up some other books by Lois Lowry that we discovered she has won a couple Newbery awards for other books she has written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 11, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book and I thought it was great because it kept my attention all the way through. I couldn't stop reading it.
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By Amazon Customer on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed it!
Lois Lowry captures the essence of the story.
gooney Bird Greene is quite a character!
I recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The kids loved listening to this book. They really liked the vocabulary words that were used and liked using them themselves. They kept guessing who the room mother was, only 1 guessed it right. I didn't even guessed it right!
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By Kristen Jones on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My second grade students are in love with Gooney Bird Greene! They loved the first book and they are really enjoying this next adventure. I have even had students asking if they could each have their own dictionaries!!!!
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