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Children's LiteratureThis is the second book about one of the most unique heroines in middle grade fiction. Gooney Bird loves to be "right smack in the middle of things." She wears unmatched socks because matched socks give her a feeling of ennui. Gooney Bird is a second grader (my only concern is that she seems more like a 4th grader) whose passion for words, writing and stories has ignited the learning pleasure of her schoolmates. Gooney has capitalized on their excitement by getting every one of them a dictionary of their own and now when Gooney tells a story and lovely words erupt in the telling, her teacher Mrs. Pigeon dashes to write it on the board and classmates scatter for their dictionaries so they can learn the glories of words like "indefatigable" as they work on their Thanksgiving Day mural (or Muriel, as Gooney Bird calls it). The mural is interrupted by the need to search for a new room mother because this second grade is the only class that does not have one. Gooney barters the privilege of being Squanto, which will put her "right smack in the middle," for finding a room mother. Of course she succeeds, but the room mother insists on being "incognito" (another word that sends the 2nd graders scattering for their dictionaries.) Unbelievable situations become believable as readers are sucked into the superb word play and writing of Lowry and the enchanting character she has created! 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 8 to 11.