Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Banned Books Week : Junie B. Jones - Barbara Park

Summary: Remember when it was scary to go to school? 'Cause it was your first day and you didn't know anything. Meet Junie B. Jones, kindergartner. She's so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it's time to go home, she doesn't.  (Summary from – Junie B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly School bus)

My Review:  I feel like Junie B. and I have been friends for years.  My younger siblings read her all through my high school years, and I was so excited when my oldest was finally ready to be introduced to the Junie B. series.  They’re the perfect introduction into chapter books, written from the point of view of a precocious kindergartner (who also happens to be a little bit of a pill).  Imagine my surprise, then, when I found out that Junie B. was one of the top 100 books to be challenged nationwide!  The reason behind it?  She bungles clichés.  She sometimes says things like pasketti instead of spaghetti.  Oh, and she may incite other children to naughtiness.  As my mom put it, “Doesn’t being a child incite other children to naughtiness?”

In the span of a week, my six year old reread and I read the entire series (books that cover Junie B.’s kindergarten year and most of her first grade year), and I have to admit, Junie B. can be a little naughty, but it’s a realistic naughty.  I did get a little Junie B. overdosed, but I was thrilled when we entered her first grade year.  It was like I was reading about my own son’s class.  I could very easily see my son making the same mistakes or being friends with someone who made those mistakes, and it was heartening to see other kids dealing with—and learning and growing from—the same issues my son does. 

Let’s face it.  Kids are stinkers.  They mispronounce things.  They make mistakes.  Find me one who doesn’t, and I’ll show you a really, really boring kid who won’t ever do anything notable.  Junie B. gives my son a buddy—someone who has the same fears, desires, and makes the same mistakes as him, and shows him that it’s all right to be a kid.  Banning such a relatable character from their bookshelves may just do more harm than good.  And she’s really funny!

Charlie's Review:  Junie B. Jones is my favorite series, and anyone who doesn't like it is just crazy!  Kids should be able to read these books because her mistakes make you smarter, and because she is really smart and funny.

Rating:  Five stars.  I love Junie B., mispronunciations, mixed metaphors, mischief and all.

Sum it up:  A delightful series to introduce chapter books to your young readers – or just to read with them.


Monica said...

I love these books - but I think they are better enjoyed when parents read them to children -- there are some darn funny parts for parents. Love Junie B

Lindsey said...

I love reading Junie B to my son. I have to say that we recently picked up Ramona the Pest and Ramona and Junie are pretty much two peas in a pod. I don't understand the stink about poor Junie. She cracks me up.


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