Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny - Barbara Park

Squirming is what happens after fibbing. At least that has always been my experience.

Back when Ridley turned four, we had requested some short chapter books for her to get something a little longer to read together, and we got a set of Junie B. Jones books. The original books have her narrating her experiences in kindergarten, complete with the sort of bad grammar and weird expressions you get when adults pretend to talk like kids. They also throw in jokes that little kids just wouldn't understand, so I'm not entirely sure what age range is meant to read these books. (Presumably slightly older kids who are reading them by themselves, but even so...)

I'll admit that while I find the books somewhat amusing the first time through, I'm a little torn whether to encourage Ridley to read them. Junie B. Jones is, to put it bluntly, a brat. She calls people and things stupid, she tells fibs, and has totally nonsensical arguments with her parents and friends. One of her best friends, Lucille, is a stuck-up rich kid, and she frequently talks about hating "that meanie Jim" in her class. It's really a lot of behavior and language that I'd rather Ridley didn't emulate.

So the newer books have Junie B. in first grade, and her grammar has improved (though some of her expressions haven't). There wasn't any mention of Jim in this book but there's a new girl May who's quite annoying and has arguments with Junie B. all the time. We also get a closer look at Lucille's family, who host a big fancy Easter party for Junie's class. It's a bunch of rich people who don't handle kids well, and while certain parts are amusing, I'm not sure that Ridley needs to be thinking about rich snobs at this point in her life, either.

Basically I think the Junie B. Jones series could be entertaining for some older kids, but I'd rather look for some books where not all the characters are quite so annoying.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 27, 2008 | Comments (0)


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