Park, B. (1992). Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. New York: Random House.
Junie B. Jones (Don’t forget the B!) is about to begin kindergarten. While the thought of school doesn’t make her stomach feel all squishy, the thought of having to get on a big yellow bus does. When her fears prove true, Junie B. goes to extreme measures to avoid having to go home on the bus after her first day of kindergarten.
The strengths of these long lasting and extensive book series are Junie B.’s authentic experiences and voices. Many young kids can relate to Junie b., her experiences and actually grow with her a Junie B. grows through kindergarten and on into the first and second grades.
While many absolutely love this series, there are many teachers and librarians who absolutely HATE it. They cite the fact that Junie B. regularly uses improper grammar, breaks rules and insults people. Cause real kids never do that.
This book also serves to give a good moral to adults as well: Listen to children when they seem concerned about something. Sometimes, when you listen to a kid's worries and talk them out, you can avoid losing said child and having them cause chaos.
Activities to do with the book:
This is a wonderful first chapter book read aloud to share with kids have are about to, or have just started kindergarten. What’s wonderful about this series is the fact that if I child gets hooked to having them read aloud to them, these books are an easy transition to a child’s (most often a girl’s) first chapter book read on his or her own.
If a teacher is reluctant to share these books because of the improper use of some words, as an activity they could share some of the sample improper sentences and ask students to correct them orally or using red markers on poster board. It would be very important to keep the activity fun.
Also, since Junie B. has an “Emergency” and calls 911, a teacher or parent could emphasize what actually constitutes a 911-worthy emergency
“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don’t like Beatrice. I just like B and that’s all.
I’m almost six years old.
Almost six is when you get to go to kindergarten. Kindergarten is where you go to meet new friends and not watch TV” (p. 1).
“I have on my new shoes.”
I held my foot way high in the air.
“See how shiny they are? Before I put them on, I licked them” (p. 2).
“I stayed scared about the bus for a whole week. And last night when my mother tucked me into bed, I still felt sickish about it” (p. 9).