Friday, May 08, 2009

Review: Gooney Bird Greene

We are still working along on Sonlight Core 1 with Zach. This week we finished up Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry. I was a little worried honestly about this one. First of all it has a picture of a little girl on the front in a pink tutu. That just isn't a cover that catches Zach's attention honestly. Thankfully though, it was a read-aloud rather than a reader, and hence he didn't have a choice.

It started a little slow and seemed a little bland in the first part. Zach, however, did start to enjoy it rather quickly, enjoying the funny tales Gooney Bird had to tell. He seemed to easily find the humor in the wording, and grasp why it was funny.

I honestly still didn't particularly like it through the middle of the book. This book is better for an independent reader than a read-aloud, as is scheduled in Sonlight. I can perhaps see why it is scheduled as a read-aloud, as the parent can be sure the student fully grasps the humor and why, and perhaps use it is a leap-off discussion of how to write a good story. However, the font changes and so forth that are used to indicate to the reader that what is a "Gooney Bird Story" from regular text are completely lost when done orally. That alone made it a bit of a problem for a read-aloud.

By the end of the story, I too was sad to see it end though. Zach, and even Noah, were enjoying the book. As it wrapped up, I really saw it's value as we read the last chapter. That chapter talks about how each of us has stories to tell and how to find them, using specific concrete examples from the stories Gooney has already told so well. So, a young reader is left with the message that he/she has stories in her own life to tell, and reminded that there are specific storytelling techniques to utilize that will make it the most interesting it can be for the audience. That is a great message to leave with the reader.

Now that we have read it as scheduled, my own independent reader will get a chance to reread it and see the written techniques used as well. He loves to reread, thankfully. I'm very glad we had exposure to this through our curriculum, because honestly I would not have picked it out for my son, nor would he have chosen it for himself, based on the cover art or description on the cover. It really was an excellent book though.

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