I have taught preschool for over twelve years, essentially my whole working career. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on books for preschoolers and have some ideas for future posts about that. But I have recently discovered a new friend--Junie B.
Barbara Park has created this enthusiastic little character and written a couple dozen books tracking her adventures through kindergarten and first grade. Junie B. reminds me quite a bit of Ramona Quimby from my youth. However Junie B. is much more enthusiastic and speaks in a language that is true to life. I have had friends tell me that can't handle Junie B. because she is a brat. Well she might be a bit of a brat, but so are many other kids that I love. You gotta love a kid with spunk.
My boys love listening to Junie B. Jones and their mom loves to read about her. Here are some quotes from Junie B.
Each book starts the same: "My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all."
Junie B. on the baby's room: "Mother and Daddy fixed up a room for the new baby. It's called a nursery. Except I don't know why. Because a baby isn't a nurse, of course."
...from Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business
Junie B. on rules: "Me and Mother had a little talk. It was called--no screaming back off, clown. Only I never even heard of that rule before."
...from Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruitcake
Junie B. on her baby brother: "His name is Ollie. I love him a real lot. Except I wish he didn't live at my actual house."
...from Junie B. Jones and That Meanie Jim's Birthday
Sometimes the characters from Junie B. sneak out in play at my house. Meanie Boy Jim appears whenever a brother is not playing the way another brother likes. And Cry Baby William has made an appearance or two as well. (PS she does end up liking both Jim and William as they redeem themselves later in the series.)
If you have children you love that are in early elementary school I would recommend Junie B. I love that Colby's first grade teacher reads a bit of Junie B. everyday. She says she normally gets through to whole set by the end of the year. He has heard a few of them a couple of times, and other than he has a hard time not giving things away, he doesn't complain that he has already heard the book. I love that the boys look forward to our chapter before bed and so do I.