Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus

“On the first day of school, new friends are NOT actually friends yet. They are still strangers. And strangers are STRANGE.”  Junie B. Jones

Yesterday was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon for us locally. The sun was shining and all seemed right with the world. I popped into a French bistro for brunch and then headed to my favorite bookstore to peruse some of its latest offerings.

There was a little redheaded girl sitting alone in chair much too big for her, reading a storybook. She glanced up at me, grinned, and went back to reading. I went back to browsing but after a few minutes, her mother walked over, sales woman in tow and I overheard their conversation…

Mom: She just loves to read, and she’s read all of the chapter books, but we want something new for her.
Salesperson: Has she tried the “Pinkalicious” books?  
Mom: Yes, she has, and “Fancy Nancy,” as well.
Salesperson: Hmmm. Well, there’s Skippy Jon Jones?
Mom: She’s going to be in first grade and we wanted something about school.
…Me: (In my head… Hello… !?Who hasn’t heard of Junie B. Jones? Has this child not read Junie B. Jones?) Excuse me, has she read any Junie B. Jones? 

After a reply to the contrary and a few minutes, the little girl was happily buried in a stack a Junie B. Jones books. 

After a 20-year ride as the go-to book for newly reading grade schoolers, I was surprised that they hadn’t heard of Barbara Park’s award winning “Junie B. Jones” book series.

If, like the two in the bookstore, you have searched for a great book for your grade-schooler but aren’t aware of the spunky child that is Junie B.,  then by all means you should check out this book series.  

Random House released its 20-year anniversary edition of “Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus” just a couple of months ago, and readers who haven’t read them are in for a treat. Junie B. Jones is one of those little girls who are naturally doing everything that their parents would prefer that they don’t.

Told from Junie B’s point of view, the books will get young readers interested, entertained and most importantly, reading for pleasure. I sometimes read these books when I need a good chuckle, sans children. I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself, or looking over any of the other Junie B. books. 

One of my nieces initially a reluctant reader, fell in love with Junie B. after reading of her plight with love-interest Warren, and quickly devoured the girl-powered series, much to the surprise of her parents.  

Junie B. is a great character who tells it like it is, and is a down-to-earth grade school hero that kids will genuinely adore reading about. Her quirky take on life’s snafus and her snarky attitude are just what any grade-schooler needs to get into the reading game.