One of my favorite characters in all of children”s literature is Junie B. Jones. Created in 1992 by the late children’s author Barbara Park, she is without a doubt, one of the funniest kids you will ever encounter in a book.
I met Junie B. as a teacher. I used her books in my third grade class in my guided reading group that was reading below grade level. The kids enjoyed the books for two reasons-one because they are out and out funny, and two-I was simply hysterical as they read (something I was prone to do as I typically selected happy books to read aloud). My students knew I was not laughing at them…I was laughing at Junie B. (and I was grateful that she was not in my class!)
Dressing up in a Junie B. Jones costume is perfect for both Halloween and as a school book project.
The Controversy Over Junie B. Jones
While Amazon reports that there are over 54 million Junie B. Jones books in print, that number could represent more if she weren’t so controversial.
How can a five year character, who was written to entertain young readers, be a source of animosity among adults?
Parents and teachers are very divided about Junie B. for a few reasons. The first is her behavior. To say that she is spirited would be an understatement. She can be rude and obnoxious, like the times she calls her teacher “Mrs.” (with no other name), how she calls other kids or object “stupid” and how she talks back to her parents (but she is always sent to her room).
Some parents feel that she is not being a good role model for behavior. (Insert my eye roll here). She is just a character, not a real child. If anything, her inappropriate behavior is a venue to discuss self-control (which Junie B. lacks, after all, she is only five when we first meet her). Discussions about making good choices, being responsibility for one’s actions and having consequences for bad choices can take place as they happen or afterwards.
Psst…here is a hint. Kids already know that she is being bad. They like to see a character act like they sometimes want to, and she is funny.
Another reason adults are up in arms is her misuse of the English language. For example, she uses “runned” instead of “ran”, a typical mistake for a five year old who is still has not absorb the intricacies of the English language. Adults fear Junie B.’s language are simply overreacting. I had a very heated discussion once with a friend who would not permit her child to read the book series. No matter how much I explained how her child would not be harmed by it, she did not agree.
I felt bad for her kid.
Once again, this is the perfect time to stop and see if the kids picked up on it and could correct it. I promise, your children’s speech patterns will not change.
She is Not Big on Matching
By looking at the covers of Barbara Parks’ books, it would safe to say that Junie B.’s clothing is as loud as her personality. She wears bold patterns and colors that match her loud and at times, obnoxious, personality. You can match up any one of these bold leggings with any matching (or mismatching) shirts. The louder the design, the better!
Don’t be afraid to mix and match-Junie B. isn’t!
Junie B. Jones Bus Tour
About the Author Barbara Park
Barbara Park originally set out to be a high school teacher, but she realized that this was not being true to herself. People knew her and loved her for her wit-she was wickedly funny! While she earned her education degree, Ms. Park decided to write children’s books instead.
Her first books were chapter books for older children in the intermediate grades, and in then she developed our beloved Junie B. Her misadventures started on the first day of kindergarten and took readers all the way through first grade. With over fifty books to her credit, Ms. Park earned many awards for her writing.
This talented author lost her seven year battle to ovarian cancer on November 15, 2013. It was a huge loss not only to her husband, sons and grandchildren, but to her readers as well. Giving the gift of laughter to millions is something that only a few can achieve.
Junie B. Jones Costume Accessories
Popular book characters have signature looks. Laura Ingalls had her braids. Captain Underpants has his underpants and cape. Madeline has her blue coat and capulet. The Cat and the Hat has his hat. The Magic School Bus’ Ms. Frizzle has her bright dresses. They are instantly recognizable pieces that readers associate with that character.
These are the finishing touches that will create the perfect costume for the Junie B. fan.
The school girl look is only a headband away. This darling headband is wrapped in grosgrain ribbon, topped with a giant bow. Every girl has an occasion that will need this headband.
Jump into a whole new look in seconds! Take this wig out of the package and instantly transform your daughter into her favorite mischievous redhead. Click on the image to find out more about this inexpensive accessory.
The finishing touch to your child’s Junie B. Jones costume are these purple glasses, which are just like the ones she wears.
Your child will enjoy dressing up as her favorite elementary school character for Halloween or book character day at school.
Photo from Pixabay and altered by the author in Picmonkey.