A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series has been a favorite with young readers since the first volume, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, was published in 1992. Junie B. is a kindergartner in Books 1-17, and then a first grader, beginning in No. 18, Junie B., First Grader (At Last!). She is funny, strong-willed, and prone to misunderstandings and mishaps. Junie B. sometimes loses her temper and acts out; she might say she hates another kid, and she and her classmates sometimes push or fight, but there's nothing outside of common childish behavior. One aspect of Junie B. that many parents do find objectionable concerns the character's use of poor grammar; for example, Junie B. will say she "holded it" or something was her "favoritest." A 20th Anniversary edition of the first Junie B. Jones book, published in 2012, includes bonus features from the author and illustrator.
What's the story?
The main character in Barbara Park's JUNIE B. JONES SERIES starts kindergarten in Book 1, Junie B. Jones and the Smelly Bus, and the series -- 30 books and counting -- follows her into first grade. In each book, Junie B., a funny, strong-willed handful of a girl, survives minor mishaps and navigates social and personal challenges. The character of Junie B. is in some ways similar to Beverly Cleary's Ramona, but these books differ greatly in approach as they are written for very young readers and are narrated by a 5- or 6-year-old. Junie B. repeats various amusing turns of phrase ("Wowie wow wow!" "Yeah, only ..." "Guess what?"); she also frequently uses incorrect grammar and verbiage, which is funny to first graders but sometimes objectionable to parents. A 20th Anniversary edition of the first Junie B. Jones book, published in 2012, contains bonus features, including background about the development of the series, an inside look at the way illustrator Denise Brunkus draws Junie B., and an "interview" in which Junie B. asks questions of Barbara Park.
Is it any good?
The Junie B. Jones books are vastly entertaining to young grade schoolers, who will see an exaggerated, slapstick version of themselves in Barbara Park's funny, sassy main character. These books are just the right level and length for new chapter-book readers, and they offer that quality sometimes lacking in "edutainment" for early graders: big laughs. Denise Brunkus' broadly animated illustrations add to the fun and help tell the story for new readers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about whether Junie B. Jones seem like a real kid. What about her seems real to you, and what doesn't?
Which is your favorite Junie B. Jones book? What happens in it?
In the first book in the series, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, Junie B. doesn't want to ride the bus home from school. What does she do to avoid taking the bus? What do you think she could have done instead?
- Author: Barbara Park
- Illustrator: Denise Brunkus
- Genre: School
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: July 28, 1992
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 6 - 8
- Number of pages: 80
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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For kids who love humor and strong girls
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