Why I Don’t Love Junie B Jones

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.

15 responses to “Why I Don’t Love Junie B Jones

  1. man I have got to check out book reviews before I buy books. Madison has a ton of her books. She hasn’t read them yet. But we always learn the hard way. It started when Madison wanted a book series in K about a boy named David. It was horrible. He was naked on one page. I need to get the name of the books Mitchel read. The same sort of problem that Junie had. And its really popular.

    • Ha! Ok, I have to admit that we actually like “No, David!” around here! 🙂 I didn’t mind it because at least David was getting in trouble for the bad things he did…

      Let me know about the series that Mitchell read…I’ll put it on the “do not buy” list!

  2. Wow, so that’s what we have to look forward to.

    Are you with me in also thinking Baby Bear on Sesame Street should be banned?

  3. Jill (thebaglady)

    Ditto here…. I even had a hard time reading Junie B because of the bad grammar. I read Winn Dixie to the kids often. A few years ago I started to read the Lemony Snickets series of unfortunate events (or what ever it’s call) but the kids were too young – I had to stop & explain too many words. I remember reading the Chronicles of Narnina when I was a kid, & now my kids have seen the movie.

  4. I’m on the same page with you regarding JBJ. I’ve heard much of the same and haven’t bought any for Savannah, but my mom gave her one while we were on vacation. I thumbed through it and sure enough, my prejudgements weren’t far off! Savannah hasn’t started it yet and I haven’t said anything. I’m kind of hoping it gets shoved under the bed or something. I did let my mom know I’m not a fan, so hopefully we won’t get any more gifted to us!

    Savannah’s favorites still are all the Ramona and Henry books. I love that kids are still reading some of the same classics we did! My favorites were The Boxcar Children… I’m looking for those to give them a reread before hopefully handing them off to Savannah! Let us know other good reads you come across!

  5. To my knowledge, our girls never had the JBJ books, but they might have read them? (I don’t even know if they existed when you guys were the appropriate age.) I have glanced at a few of them, just out of curiosity, and I picked up on the “attitude” very easily.

  6. I completely agree! Captain Underpants also horrified me – but I have to say the title did that, and then I never even checked the content.

  7. Okay – so glad to hear you say all this. I flipped through aJunie B book earlier this summer looking for something that might be fun to start reading to Sloan and I, too, hated it. Not only did I find the poor use of grammer appalling, but I just thought they were dumb. So I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. I did not know, however, that those were books that were typically read to students in school. How does a teacher stand reading such nonsense?

  8. I’ve never even heard of these JBJ books so my first thought is that they are something new in the last 10 or 12 years?

    I’ve always been of the opinion that there are way, way too many good books out there to waste any money or time on junk. Unfortunately it means that you have to stay on top of book content (as a parent) since “junk” seems to gain a lot of popularity.

    If you are looking for read-aloud stuff don’t forget Charlotte’s Web. A classic!

  9. You know I ditto this!

  10. good to know. we haven’t read any of those books and i’ll make sure we now steer clear.

  11. Another chapter book idea: there is a series of books by Bill Myers called “My Life as a…”. For instance, the first book in the series is “My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce”. The girls really liked them! The reading level is ages 9 to 12 so you might consider them as read-alouds or for later when they can read them themselves. They come with good lessons to the stories. The church library has the whole series.


  12. I’m glad your that parent! We need more parents like you around in schools.

  13. I’m with you on this series… and the school decision????

    Whenever I’m reading a book out loud to the boys and come across a word that isn’t necessarily bad, but what I consider unnecessary, I insert my own. For example, I see “stupid” and actually say “silly.”

    For those books with just a few of those instances, it works for me. But yes, I try to teach them that they are going to hear these words, but they don’t need to say them.

  14. I agree. Junie B Jones is intolerable. This book is supposed to be for first graders but even my first grader thinks that there is something really wrong with her. After finishing the “Little House on the Prairie” books followed by the new “Ivy and Bean” series, this book was a complete and utter disappointment.
    I feel that the language in this book is a “dumbing down” to kids. Junie B acts and speaks just like a baby.

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