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A third book about a likable, strong-minded child who lives in a friendly British village with her ``mom.'' Fans of Josie (Josie Smith, 1989) will remember that, though she's conscientious and well-intentioned, her imagination and persistence tend to get her into amusing trouble. This time, three long episodes involve Josie's abortive attempt to take her new teacher a bouquet; the difficulty of making friends with an Indian classmate who doesn't know English; and a mix-up concerning a class play, when the new haircut Josie at first admires causes her to be drafted for a male role—which turns out to be just one of several miscastings that precipitate a comical epidemic of tears. Nabb's artfully mixed humor and sympathy for childhood's dramas and misunderstandings rivals Cleary's. Her deftly sketched characters, both children and adults, are wonderfully three- dimensional: a martinet of a principal, Josie's wise but not infallible mother, perennial rival/friend Eileen—each is a believable blend of strengths and faults. Again, Vainio's lively drawings capture the essence of the more telling moments. A fine chapter book for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 1991

ISBN: 0-689-50533-7

Page Count: 106

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1991

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Gooney Bird Greene (with a silent E) is not your average second grader. She arrives in Mrs. Pidgeon’s class announcing: “I’m your new student 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.” Everything about her is unusual and mysterious—her clothes, hairstyles, even her lunches. Since the second graders have never met anyone like Gooney Bird, they want to hear more about her. Mrs. Pidgeon has been talking to the class about what makes a good story, so it stands to reason that Gooney will get her chance. She tells a series of stories that explain her name, how she came from China on a flying carpet, how she got diamond earrings at the prince’s palace, and why she was late for school (because she was directing a symphony orchestra). And her stories are “absolutely true.” Actually, they are explainable and mesh precisely with the teacher’s lesson, more important, they are a clever device that exemplify the elements of good storytelling and writing and also demonstrate how everyone can turn everyday events into stories. Savvy teachers should take note and add this to their shelf of “how a story is made” titles. Gooney Bird’s stories are printed in larger type than the narrative and the black-and-white drawings add the right touch of sauciness (only the cover is in color). 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. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-23848-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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At ``Step 2'' in the useful ``Step into Reading'' series: an admirably clear, well-balanced presentation that centers on wolves' habits and pack structure. Milton also addresses their endangered status, as well as their place in fantasy, folklore, and the popular imagination. Attractive realistic watercolors on almost every page. Top-notch: concise, but remarkably extensive in its coverage. A real bargain. (Nonfiction/Easy reader. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-91052-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1992

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