Children's Books discussion

Junie B. Jones and the  Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, #1)
Specific Books & Authors > Junie B. Jones Series

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

What do you think of these kindergarten staples? ;)

message 2: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 192 comments They still seem to be a popular series, at least in the elementary school library that I helped out at.

message 3: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
I think I read one when they were new. I recall not being surprised by the controversies over them.

message 4: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments I personally don't love them. My own children read some of them and that was okay. We talked about Junie's grammar, attitude, etc. But I don't keep them in my classroom. Most of my students are second language learners and many wouldn't recognize that Junie is using incorrect grammar. I don't want to reinforce poor grammar for them. However, there are times when I read aloud other books that a character uses poor grammar to use as a teaching point. But I want the books that my students are reading independently to be good models. The books are in our school library and sometimes my students do choose to read them on their own.

message 5: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 54 comments I was impressed by Barbara Park's knack for reproducing children's voices and depicting their foibles and joys.

Children I know have enjoyed these books. They like being just a bit farther along than Junie so that they can both empathize and enjoy her irrepressible spirit despite the setbacks she encounters.

message 6: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
My step-daughter reads them aloud to her three little ones and they all enjoy them. But I agree with Jenny; I wouldn't actually want them in my classroom. I should read another Junie B. myself, but I think I prefer the Ramona classics by Beverly Cleary and Clementine (though those might be for a slightly older audience).

My stepdaughter and I agree that Ivy and Bean are delightful. I also loved Bink & Gollie. Just to throw some more ideas out there.

message 7: by Aimee (new)

Aimee | 54 comments Jenny, I can see why you wouldn't want to use the books in a classroom of students who are not native English speakers.

message 8: by Manybooks (last edited Aug 05, 2014 11:28PM) (new)

Manybooks | 6881 comments Mod
I could see using these books in an ESL class for what I call "error discovery" (giving parts of these books to students and then having them either work in a group or by themselves to find the spelling and grammatical errors). However, I would not use them for absolute beginners (or engage in error discovery exercises with novice language learners, they would have to be intermediate students, with novices there is more of a chance that they might imitate the bad grammar and spelling). I've not used the Junie B. Jones books themselves in the classroom, but I have used the first of the Emily series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily of New Moon, for this kind of an exercise (her letters to her father in heaven are deliberately spelled badly to show that she is just learning proper spelling); it really does help with error recognition for intermediate, even slightly advanced students, and can be a fun and valuable learning activity.

message 9: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
Good point, Gundula. I like how you always come up with something different for us to think about.

message 10: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 6881 comments Mod
Cheryl in CC NV wrote: "Good point, Gundula. I like how you always come up with something different for us to think about."

But the students should perhaps not be really young either (I was doing this with university students)

message 11: by Beverly, Miscellaneous Club host (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beverly (bjbixlerhotmailcom) | 2241 comments Mod
The first time I read one of the Junie books, I was not very impressed. But a few years later, I decided to plan a Junie B Jones program at my library and started reading all the books. I discovered a lot of humor in the books, and I think this is probably what draws young readers to these books.

message 12: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
I'd have to make an effort to read more than the first at my library - I only got a copy of that because it was on the to-be-shelved cart. Staff says they're all checked out all the time.

But I didn't much like it this time, either. All that 'hate' and shoving and bad behavior. Sure, it's funny now, but in a couple of years will such behavior and language be so cute?

Sorry, I know I'm being a prig, but my three boys knew better than to hide and worry everyone by the time they were in kindergarten. And they didn't hate someone just because that person didn't want them touching that person's backpack.

I know! Even with little kids, do "error discovery" on *behavior*.

message 13: by Jenny (new)

Jenny | 722 comments We did that as my own kids read them, Cheryl. They read most on their own, but I always read a couple chapters with them or had them talk about what was happening and then we discussed how Junie should have behaved or what was the right thing to do in the situation or how they would have reacted. Sometimes they did empathize with Junie, but often they would say that Junie was "naughty."

message 14: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
Cool. Thank you for posting. :)

message 15: by Anne (new)

Anne Nydam | 124 comments I read only one of these (about 6 years abo when my kids were in 1st grade) and didn't like it much. My kids didn't like the series much either. I think for me the issue was that none of us related to Junie at all because her behavior and thought processes were so far from our own. The books are presented as humor, yes, but the teachers recommended them to my kids as if they were realistic fiction, and my kids were just baffled by the idea that Junie was supposed to be in any way like themselves. *shrug* I know my best friend and her daughter thought they were hilarious and wonderful, and devoured them all gleefully, so I guess it's just a matter of personality and taste.

message 16: by Cheryl, Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) | 6162 comments Mod
Indeed - there's no such thing as 'universal.' I encounter such hyperbole more often in adult fiction ("characters everyone can relate to") but it clearly exists in children's books, too.

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