Author: Lois Lowry
Gooney the Fabulous is the third of four books in the Gooney Bird series. Gooney Bird is an ultra-precocious second grader. One day, as her teacher Mrs. Pidgeon is reading Aesop's Fables to the class, GB comes up with a plan: all of the students should write their own fable and share them with the class. Mrs. Pidgeon loves the idea, and naturally all of the students do, too. Faburiffic!
Ms. Lowry is a very accomplished author, with two Newberry Medals to her name. There is certainly nothing technically wrong with her writing. I just don't find the elementary school world she created to ring true. Full disclosure, I teach elementary school as well as middle school and have done so for many years. While I realize not every grade school is like the one I know best, I find it difficult to believe there are any like the one idealized in this book. All of the students are pigeon-holed within the first two chapters - the shy girl with the lisp, the boy who's memorizing the dictionary and the African-American boy who raps everything he says... Really? He did a back spin during his fable, too. Oh, boy... Between them, Mrs. Pidgeon and her mini-me, Gooney Bird, always seem to have the right answer to any problem that crops up. There's hardly anything an arm around the shoulder won't fix!
The book is cute and fun and I'm sure it teaches valuable lessons about how schools should be but it's not a world I believe. Our Girl liked the book. I need to find ways to explain why I didn't while still respecting the fact that she did.