The Barnes & Noble Review
Everyone's favorite kindergartner is in first grade! The wonderfully outrageous Junie B. Jones starts out the school year with a bit of trepidation. New classmates in a new classroom with a new teacher is enough to make even this feisty redhead a bit nervous. And when she has serious trouble reading the blackboard, she find out she needs glasses! How does the beloved Junie survive these elementary-school horrors? With a sense of humor and a new friend named Herb.
Fans of this popular series will be very familiar with Junie B.'s wild and spontaneous antics, so it's no surprise when she darts from her father's arms on her anxious first day of first grade. She is momentarily distracted when she spots a glimmer of hope -- her very best friend from kindergarten, Lucille, is in her class. Lucille is less than ecstatic and informs Junie B. that while they were best friends last year, it's time for someone else to get a turn. Their names are Camille and Chenille, and they're twins. The oddity and magic of these identical sisters is not lost on Junie B., who excitedly wants to touch them before a line forms. But Lucille informs her that she is the twins' best friend, not Junie's. "Don't be sad, okay?" she said. "You and I can still be friends, Junie B. Just not on a regular basis." A comment riddled with the matter-of-fact nature and innocence of a first-grader.
The bus ride home does not look promising, either, as Grace, her bus buddy of the previous year, has found another girlfriend to sit with. Things look bad when Mr. Woo, the bus driver, yells at her to sit down. She plops next to Herb, a kid in her new class. When Junie mumbles that her best friends are dropping like flies and first grade is a flop, Herb agrees. And it seems Junie B. has made a new friend.
Junie's teacher, Mr. Scary, gives the students a journal to write in, to capture all their thoughts and ideas. Junie is wary of such a practice but agrees nonetheless. Throughout the story, her journal is shown, in the familiar handwriting of a new writer. It also shows her anxiety when Mr. Scary assigns them to read the blackboard and draw the pictures of the words displayed. The problem? She can't see a darn thing. Sentences like "Bob is a bug bag" and "I like my Hog spit" are not exactly what was on the board. So, after Mr. Scary's persuasion and some tests with the nurse, it is confirmed -- this little girl needs glasses.
When Junie finally gets her new glasses, she knows there is only one thing to do -- show them at show-and-tell and get it over with. After May shows her kindergarten report card and Shirley sings about her turkey sandwich, Junie stands up and pulls out her new glasses. When May's mean laugh fills the room, it is Herb who comes to rescue, jumping up and declaring that they are cool, that Junie B. is special and possibly has X-ray vision. A very glowing review in the elementary-school set.
Every Junie B. comment is marked with a hefty dose of honesty, clarity, and sass. The girl is a trip, keeping young readers (and the parents who read over their shoulder) in stitches. Creator Barbara Park has an astounding ability to tap into the mind of this spectacular girl and chronicle the life of a five-year-old with expert flair. And while laughs are a big part of Park's series, Junie B. also acts as a marvelous stepping stone for youngsters just beginning chapter books. With just the right amount of text, and those ever-so-amusing drawings of the lively Junie throughout the book, kids are sure to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.
Gr 1-3-While first grade offers a whole year of exciting possibilities for Junie B., things get off to a confusing start. Feeling tentative about her new teacher, she renames him Mr. Scary. Her last year's best friend now has two new best friends and her old bus pal has a new buddy. Then, Junie's teacher discovers that she needs glasses. Now that is something to worry about. "What if Room One laughs their head off at me? What if I look like a goonie bird and no one wants to be my friend?" However, her classmates, who already agree that twins with rhyming names, a boy with a spiky gel hairdo, and bilingual Jos are fascinating, determine that Junie B. and her purple glasses are definitely cool. As always, Park is in touch with what the kids know and how they feel. A satisfying read, especially for fans.-Sharon R. Pearce, Geronimo Public School, OK Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Starting first grade proves to be a challenge for Junie B. Jones, Park's enduring, irrepressible heroine. Junie B. is having a tough time. Not only is she nervous about starting first grade, but on her very first day of school, Lucille, Junie B.'s best friend from kindergarten, is distinctly aloof. Lucille coolly informs Junie B. that they have "already been best friends" and that now, in the name of fairness, "it's time for Camille and Chenille to get a turn." Then Grace, who sat next to Junie B. on the bus every day last year, throws her over for new friend Bobbi Jean Piper, which causes Junie B. to announce that her "bestest friends are dropping like flies." Throw in "Blabber-lips May" the obnoxious tattletale in the next seat, and it looks to Junie B. like "first grade is a flop." But Junie B.'s real problem is that she can't see the blackboard. Luckily, her on-the-ball teacher diagnoses her problem right away, sending her to the school nurse for an eye exam. With good-natured wit, Parks demystifies the process of getting glasses, also paying attention to the embarrassment and self-consciousness kids often feel when they show up at school with a new pair of specs. Although not the most amusing book in the series, fans will be happy to know that despite Junie B.'s ascent to the rigors of first grade, Park's feisty, funny heroine retains her trademark use of language, mirthful malapropisms, and essential larger-than-life personality.