The Goody

Orchard. Sept. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338789546.
Gr 2-4–When your parents label you “The Goody” as compared to your sibling, does this restrict you from exploring your personality and expressing yourself? “Goody” Chirton discovers that it does. His willful sister Myrtle is allowed to stay up late watching TV, she doesn’t have to eat her broccoli, and she never remembers to clean the rabbit’s pen. Does she misbehave because she’s labeled as bad? Myrtle discovers that she does. When she gets the opportunity to be herself with someone who doesn’t know she’s “bad,” Myrtle behaves well and feels good about herself. Chirton sums up their similar experiences: “Being a Goody is not what makes you nice. But being nice when you can be nice can make you feel good.” Exploring children’s feelings when they are labeled, Child uses color, space, and geometric lines to direct the action and suggest rigid structure in the characters’ lives. Black text at the top of the page is separated by a thick white border from the colorful illustration beneath. At the bottom of the page, red text contains plot-related questions and comments that extend the story line into a conversation between the author and reader.
VERDICT This story provides an intimate exploration of children’s feelings and can be paired with similar picture books including Jory John’s The Bad Seed and Mo Willems’s The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!

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