Chirton Krauss is such a well behaved child that he does things he’s not even asked to do, like the washing up and looking after his sister Myrtle’s rabbit. He even eats broccoli, even though he doesn’t like it.
Myrtle, by contrast, is never good, and no-one ever lets her forget it. She’s not expected to eat broccoli, do any chores or be polite and nice, because her parents have decided that Chirton is the Goody, and Myrtle is not.
Yet what happens one day when Chirton decides not to be the Goody anymore – and Myrtle gets to go to a birthday party in his place? Suddenly, the sibling dynamic is disrupted and Myrtle realises that you get good things like party bags when you’re nice – and Chirton realises that the bad feeling he gets in his tummy when he’s rude and naughty is definitely to be avoided.
The Goody revisits some of the relationship dynamics of Child’s Charlie and Lola books, where Charlie is the long suffering, well behaved older brother to the sometimes spoilt and selfish Lola. In this book, Child also explores the impact of parental expectations and the family dynamics that can often label children as “the good one” and “the troublesome one” – and who we all are under those labels.
Throughout, a narrator voice in red text sits below the storytelling voice and asks direct questions of the reader – is this fair? Is this good or bad? – adding a kind of moral barometer to the story and enabling the reader to consider the questions being asked.