Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park April 19, 2011

Filed under: children's realistic fiction — Bethany @ 11:14 pm
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Junie B. is ready for her first day of school.  She meets her teacher, she sees her classroom, and then her mother breaks the news:  Junie B. has to ride the school bus to get to school.  She’s scared but her mother makes her board the bus for afternoon kindergarten.  The kids on the bus aren’t very nice and Junie B. is glad to to arrive at school.  On the first day, her class takes a tour of the school and sees the cafeteria, the nurse’s office, and the bathrooms.  School seems okay, but when it’s time to go home on the bus, Junie B. is scared.  Instead of going outside with the rest of the class, she decides to stay at school.

This is a popular series for those beginning to read chapter books.  The story is written in a first-person point of view with language that a kindergartner might use.  Instead of being authentic or cute, I found it to be annoying and distracting.  The plot line was unrealistic (Junie spends a long period of time alone in the school, wandering around and going through the nurse’s office) and there were no consequences for Junie’s rude words or actions.  There are much better books for kids to spark a discussion about being nervous for the first day or school or riding the bus.


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