4-6 and 7-9 years old
By Barabara Park (Scholastic)
It’s Junie B Jones’ first day in Grade 0 and she has to ride on a bus. She manages to get to school but when it’s home time she decides there’s no way she’s repeating that experience – so she hides in the school until everyone leaves. She has a great time running around the classrooms, opening cupboards, sharpening pencils, pretending to be a nurse in the Sick Room…until she needs the toilet and finds they’re all locked. Being a clever little girl she finds a phone and dials 911. A hilarious rescue ensues.
Long before Charlie and Lola or Fancy Nancy, there was Junie B Jones – a funny, impulsive, curious and big-hearted little girl who can’t help but be honest – even if it lands her in trouble. Children love her cute way of talking, her disregard for authority (she uses words like stupid, hate and dumb – this was way before books became more PC!) and her habit of speaking her mind. She is precocious – not everyone will love her – but she offers a different model of a little girl that is quite refreshing.
Author Barbara Park once said: “There are those who believe that the value of a children’s book can be measured only in terms of the moral lessons it tries to impose or the perfect role models it offers. Personally, I happen to think that a book is of extraordinary value if it gives the reader nothing more than a smile or two. In fact, I happen to think that’s huge.’ Children agree and although Park passed away this year, with over 50 million books in print, and 30 titles to choose from, Junie B Jones is a kid’s classic. Kids can log onto www.juniebjones.com for games, jokes and fun activities.