Junie B. Jones is having a bad day: she keeps getting in trouble for mouthing off, her mom’s mad at her because she keeps waking the baby, and she keeps getting into fights with her bestest friend. So what’s a girl to do when on top of it all she has to come up with the best costume ever for career day? Junie is determined to beat her classmates by being someone who paints, carries a lot of keys, and saves people. Now she just has to decide what that job actually is.
APA Reference of Book:
Park, B. (1993). Junie B. Jones and her big fat mouth. New York, NY: Random House.
I had never read a Junie B. Jones story before, so with the very passing of author Barbara Park I thought it was time that I read a few. I opted to read Junie B. Jones and Her Big Fat Mouth. This was an easy read, and I do mean super easy read for an adult. I finished the entire story in about 20 minutes, and I am a slow reader. Now, I don’t know if this is because I am an adult trying to read a second grader’s book, but I was not all that impressed. The book itself was fun, but Junie B. Jones was written to make it sound like a second grader is talking. That’s fine to a certain extent, but to constantly use improper grammar and spelling just seems like confusion waiting to happen. Sentences like “I hided my head” made me cringe because children learn grammar from what they read and hear, so to read a book that uses words like “worstest” and “bestest” but then expect the child to know it’s worst and best seems nightmarish. That being said, I also recognize the importance of kids reading anything, especially books that they enjoy, so if this book can be used as a “gateway” book then by all means. However, I would personally try to expose children to stories where proper grammar is used.
Poor grammar aside, this book also had a lot of good aspects. It explored gender bias, career opportunities, and the importance of respecting others for the work they do. I know that when I was in school the students largely ignored the janitor or looked down on them. But Junie befriends the janitor and shows the class (and readers) that a janitor’s work is important and that it is a valid career option. I felt like this was one of the more redeeming aspects of the book. The book can also be used as a teaching tool to show children how they should not behave. Junie is loud mouthed and easily excitable—she yells out in the middle of class and around the new baby often causing the baby to wake up and her mom to get upset. Some people may view this as a bad thing, but I think that it introduces some teachable moments. I mean, what second grader isn’t easily excitable?
“Park convinces beginning readers that Junie B.—and reading—are lots of fun.”
(n.d) [Review of the book Junie B. Jones and her big fat mouth, by B. Park.]. Publisher’s Weekly. Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.com/Junie-Jones-Her-Big-Mouth/dp/product-description/0679844074/ref=dp_proddesc_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books
Like Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors, this book automatically lends itself to an introduction on career options and the importance of people in every job. I think that it would be a good idea to have some people from different jobs come to talk to young patrons like the teacher did with her students in this book.