Friday, November 8, 2013
"Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus" by Barbara Park
First off, I have to question the reason this book was banned. Because Junie uses the word "stupid?" Please, I hear much worse from kids every day. And having ridden a school bus on occasion, I kind of agree Junie. But all that aside, this book was really cute. In Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, Junie B. (don't forget the B!) is starting kindergarten. It's a whole new experience for her and she isn't quite sure what to make of it. Her first day isn't so great and she really doesn't want to the ride the bus home. So she hides in the teacher's closet until everyone has left and finds herself alone in the school. She has quite the party until she realizes she needs to use the restroom, but the doors are locked. What's a kindergartner to do?Reading this book, I was reminded very much of Ramona's first day of school in Ramona the Pest. Like Ramona, Junie B. isn't used to the rules and structure of school and, without meaning to, makes a nuisance of herself. For instance, when told to sit, she decides which chair she wants to sit in, even though that seat was already occupied (reminded me of Ramona sitting "for the present" on her first day of kindergarten). In a way I am glad that Park seems to have captured the magic of Ramona's world, but for a more modern audience (though a bigger part of me hopes that Ramona will never become irrelevant). I have steered young girls to these books before, but can do it with more confidence now. It seems that in Junie B.'s world, girls will the see everything with new perspective and have a lot of fun doing so.