I may be in the minority in this opinion…I don’t know. I’m new to this phase of books for children. But I had to get this out: I hate Junie B Jones.
I was at a garage sale last weekend where I scored a TON of short chapter books for $5 – literally, there were 35 or more in the box. I knew that Junie B was popular amongst early readers, so I grabbed all of those, plus all of the Magic Tree House books they had and a few more that I will be reading to the boys: “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Because of Winn Dixie”, for example.
When I got home I realized that I had two copies of a Junie B book, and it was one that Luke told me (after seeing the books) his kindergarten teacher had read to them last year. I emailed a friend with a young reader and asked if she wanted the copy…she politely declined, saying that they’d inherited a large quantity of Junie B books from her niece, and that she wasn’t too impressed with Junie B, and asked if I shared her opinion. I responded that I wasn’t sure since I hadn’t actually read them, but that I’d let her know after I had a chance.
I read about 6 pages of one book and immediately I KNEW I hated them (and why my friend did, too).
First of all, Junie B has a bad attitude and a sassy mouth…not exactly things I need to encourage in my children, but hey, Luke’s 6 1/2 years old. While they’d better not be coming out of his mouth, I know that “dumb/stupid/idiot” are things that he hears and knows he’d better not repeat. So that’s one drawback. But for me, the biggest one is this: Junie B’s speech is horrible. I know, I know…the author’s trying to be cute and make it sound like a real 5 or 6 year old is talking. But wait: how many kindergarteners/first graders do you hear using the words “rided” and “bestest” and “runned”? Three-year-olds, maybe. But six-year-olds?
So, I broke the news to Luke that we would not be keeping the Junie B Jones books at our house. I told him that I realized he’d probably hear them at school* and that it wasn’t that they were bad exactly, just that we didn’t like how she spoke or acted. I even gave him examples, using “bestest” and “rided” and he immediately knew that they were incorrect and what the correct words were. No sense in further complicating the already-complex process of teaching your children proper grammar.
Here’s the best part. Remember that I got all of these books for $5? Well, I took the Junie B ones to the resale shop that I love, and they bought ALL of them. For $14, which I got in store credit, which I used to purchase some good books for Luke to read. Now how’s that for a deal?
*Um, yeah. So they read these in school. Which is troubling to me…I guess I’m just not in the “so long as they’re interested in reading, it’s fine” club. There’s plenty of much higher-quality children’s literature out there. Why on earth choose something this bad? I’m perplexed. And I may just raise the question with his teacher (who, for all I know, could hate Junie B too, and then we’ll be BFFs), because yes, I am that parent.