Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's the beef with Junie B.?

Not too long ago, I picked up a Junie B. Jones book, but I never did read it. I felt ridiculous, reading a first-grade chapter book, even for the purpose of studying the genre.

But I've changed my mind, my interest has been piqued. Last night at my son's parent/teacher conferences, I asked his teacher about introducing him to chapter books. My son is a great reader, but he reads mostly very simple picture books. I figured, if Junie B. Jones is a first grader like him, he should be able to handle the books.

His teacher didn't hesitate to tell me to challenge him, to begin introducing chapter books. But she also questioned the appropriateness of some of the subject matter from the Junie B. series. I can't imagine anything inappropriate in a children's book written for first graders, but I might be wrong. My son attends a very conservative Christian school, so maybe that's why the concern.

Anyway, I plan to test out my copy of Junie B., but, as per his teacher's advice, I also plan to find chapter books of special interest to him -- things like karate and race cars. And books with characters of color, though honestly, I don't think color matters to him...yet.


Sherry Rogers said...

Don I picked up a June B Jones book myself a couple of years ago. . .for the same reason you did. I was really surprised at the topics they covered. I wasn't sure it was appropriate for a small child either. And the wording was odd and clumsy. . .the more recent books may have changed.

Good luck!

susan taylor brown said...

I don't know about the subject matter and its appropriateness but many people are turned off by the bad grammar. I haven't read one so I can't comment on either.

rindawriter said...

I've commented on this elsewhere, I can't remember where, but as I recall the debate is over Junie's proper use of English and her apparently somewhat bratty attitude to her parents. Some think she is not given enough consequences for bad behavior, etc.
I can see why the ultra-conservatives might complain...but, oh, I don't know. I foudn them funny and harmless enough though a bit shallow, even though I HAVE to be, at times, a stickler for the proper grammar side of things (NOT ON YOUR BLOG, I HOPE!!!)


Listening to the Blind Boys of Alabama....LOVE THEM!

Your SON! MAY not find them intersting just because they are about A GIRRRRLLL!! Who knows!

Liz in Ink said...

Yep, it's mostly an arguement against her improper English usage. And she's a little sassy. But my experience is that kids KNOW she's grammatically incorrect and just think it's sort of the odd-funny way Junie B. talks...
Some of the books are quite, quite funny. Not high literature, but quite, quite funny....