Written by Barbara Parks, Illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Chapter Book: 1-4
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
Summary: Junie B. Jones cheats off of her classmate May, only to be caught by Mr. Scary who sends a note home to her parents. The following day, she “borrows” a word off of her friends spelling test, but both students end up coming clean once they begin to feel guilty about cheating.
I feel like I missed out on a lot as a child, never having read a single Junie B. Jones book. I’m not sure why I never read her when I was growing up, but I definitely never did. I loved the language of this book, as it was written from a first grader’s perspective. Thus, Junie’s thoughts were written in her unique language, with interesting spellings and hilarious word choices. I can definitely understand why so many elementary children love reading these books. I think that this might be because children feel like they can really relate to Junie, as they think many of the same thoughts (which they might not be as bold as Junie to act upon). I found that while the words were interesting on the page, the words really came alive once I started reading the book outloud. Reading it on the page does not allow for the enthusiasm that Junie seems to embody.
Thus, I feel like this series is a great one to read aloud to a class. With enough experience listening to someone else reading the book, young readers (likely 3rd graders or above), might find it fun to take turns reading chapters aloud in small groups. It would be a great opportunity to have them practice reading with both verbal and nonverbal cues. It might even be something that older elementary age students could read to younger “buddies” in first or second grade. Unfortunately, I think that Junie might resonate more with young female students, not as much males. Thus, it would be important to read other similar chapter books as well, not just Junie B. Jones. I know that sever others include A to Z Mysteries and Magic Treehouse books.