Lauren Child creates the most wonderful picture books and The Goody is another one that readers will love.
Chirton Krauss was the perfect child - or at least that’s what his parents thought (and told him - they even gave him a ‘Goody’ badge). He did everything he was asked, he even did things - only good things - that he had not been asked. He did chores, he looked after himself and others, he was polite and considerate. He was so good, he even ate his broccoli which was something he didn’t like at all. His sister Myrtle was quite the opposite, she was bad, very very bad. Chirton was rather fed up with the whole situation. Myrtle got away with everything because no-one expected her to be good. Whereas he had to do everything because everyone expected him to be the goody. And that is when Chirton had his most goodest thought yet, “What is so good about being a Goody?”…
Lauren Child has created a very clever picture book that explores family dynamics and the often unintended consequences of child labelling, Chirton and Myrtle have been labelled by their parents - the goody and the not so good one - and the children live up these expectations. Chirton often falling foul of the situation because everyone expects the very best from him all of the time. As the story unfolds, a bit of role reversal occurs as both children experience a moment of clarity following two separate incidents. At a birthday party, Myrtle enjoys herself and even gets a goodby bag to take home. Whilst at home, Chirton is finding that not being good does not make him feel happy. The ending sees the children agreeing that being a goody is not about being good, it is about being nice.
The narrative is told in black text, and red text provides a supporting moral commentary and offers lots of opportunities for readers to question what is happening and whether things are fair or not. Child’s instantly recognisable style of illustrations feature throughout and they are as always, delightful. It is great to see that Child has chosen a BAME family as her lead characters, a people that are often under-represented in picture books.
A fun and engaging read. Children need to learn the consequences of their own actions and need to be left to make their own choices, they should be doing what is right and not what is good. This book is perfect for exploring this.
Recommended for 6+.