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#1 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so, i've been reading themto my class for the past week and they love them! they can't wait for large group time to start and they also like predicting what junie will do next.

my question is what do you guys think of the character of Junie B. Jones? she sounds like she has add and some serious impulse issues and i'm wondering how good that is.
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#2 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 12:58 AM
 
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I have never read these books but my neighbors son loves them. I think I read another thread where these books were mentioned and someone said that they didn't like them. Let me see if I can find it and I will post it for you... ok here it is just scroll down and the reference is made to it there http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...hreadid=108027

HTH personally anthing that gets kids exctied about reading can't be half bad~

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#3 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 01:53 AM
 
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My kindergarten-teaching mom got a few of those books for my 6yo neice recently. My neice loves them & was reading me a few of the books one day & my initial thoughts were that Junie has a bit of an attitude & isn't all that creative of a child. But, she is an honest little girl & is inquisitive & asks about things that she thinks are wrong & tries to make them right.

Overall, I'm just happy for my neice's love of reading. She can relate to Junie b'c they're the same age. I remember liking the stories written in the first person, who were around my age (at various ages). Ultimately I feel that kids will learn more form the living examples they are given rather then a book character. Plus, your discussion group is a GREAT thing for them to do!
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#4 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 09:42 AM
 
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My second grade students love them too. They are actually deceptively challenging to read because Junie uses many "words" that aren't actual words, so the kids need to really make use of their phonics skills to sound out these non-words correctly. The issue I have is that some children think the words Junie uses are real, when they are actually mispronunciations of real words, so it sometimes misleads children who then start using these words in their speech and writing. But on the whole, they are fun.
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#5 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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so i did read the thread and some responses were not very possitive. i see junie as a very intense child who wants the classroom to focus on her. can you imagine her homeschooled? but i also see the adults dealing with her very patiently, especially her teacher, but not so much her mother. as far a the writing style of the author, i like the way she uses the grammar of a first grader.

our scholastic book order came and the kids were begging me for junie B. jones books.
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#6 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 01:43 PM
 
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when I first started reading junie b to my dd, I had some concerns too, but I think it's good to see another child acting like she often does or wants to. It seems to feed a need in her. She was a reluctant reader, but now is a voracious one and i think her love of jb is a major contributer.
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#7 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 03:02 PM
 
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I personally *hate* the grammar of them (DD does *not* talk like that IRL). Accd to a good friend, you can pick and choose and get some good ones, but there are some that are pretty bad, too. DD has like 5-6 of them (we get a *lot* of Scholastic books around here!) but she is more into Magic Tree House (which I 100% love)!

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#8 of 34 Old 01-25-2004, 05:21 PM
 
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When my dd1 got into them, I was concerned about the grammar and fake words. I got her to read some to me and had her point out al the "errors". She was almost flawless, so I let her continue reading them. She's nine now, and has grown out of them.
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#9 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 02:42 PM
 
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I think little junie is a total brat, and the language and the grammar are atrocious. That said, I have no problem with my daughter reading them. I'm of the belief that reading just about anything is never wasted time.

We talk about the characters, how they act and the language they use and it doesn't seem to have a negative impact on dd.
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#10 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 02:58 PM
 
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My 6-yr old DS loves Junie B. Jones! His 10-yr old sister reads the books to him, and points out all Junie's inappropriate behaviors.

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#11 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 03:43 PM
 
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We love them around here. I think they are hysterical. No worse than Ramona (which I grew up on) The bad grammer does bother me but at the same time makes them so fun to read. My dd got the "personal Beeswax journal" for Christmas and is haveing a great time with it. I thihnk they are just fun and I am no more worried about my children picking up Junie Bs bad habits from reading a book than I am about her casting spells on her friends after reading Harry potter.

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#12 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 05:55 PM
 
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Well, since you asked, I have a very strong objection to the Junie B. Jones books.

1. Junie is an unmitigated brat whose rudeness and insensitivity to other people apparently meet with few or no consequences by the authority-figure characters in the book. This conveys to kids the message that this behavior is acceptable -- JBJ is the main character and normally a main character is where we as readers sympathize.

Example: In the first book, the teacher -- oh, horrors -- has the temerity to forget the "B" and addresses Junie as "Junie Jones." Junie then SCREAMS, "EVERYONE FORGETS MY 'B'..." and neither the teacher nor her mother correct her behavior.

Sorry, but if she were my daughter, she would be apologizing so fast...I don't condone being impolite and insensitive because I think we have enough of that in the world without adding to it.

2. The grammar and spelling are atrocious. Gee, if you've ever wondered why kids don't speak or write well, this is one among many reasons. How is a kid supposed to know what's correct and what's not?

3. I don't agree with the logic that says, "Well, at least they're reading, so it must be good." This is like saying, "Well, at least they're eating, so it must be good."

In short, this is the McDonald's Happy Meal of children's literature.

Thanks for letting me vent. I think I'll stick to stuff that my child likes AND which teach her excellent language and values.

Here's a list of WAY better books than Junie Jones, in my opinion:

1. Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
2. F.H. Burnett, The Secret Garden
3. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
4. Johanna Spyri, Heidi
5. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
6. Dickens, Great Expectations
7. Dickens, A Christmas Carol
8. Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
9. Mary Pope Osborne, Tales from the Odyssey
10. Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass


Just a thought.
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#13 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 06:16 PM
 
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Charles, just for the record, my dd has also read most of your list.
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#14 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 06:38 PM
 
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In short, this is the McDonald's Happy Meal of children's literature.
:LOL :LOL I never thought of it that way.

Dd read quite a few of them when she was in 1st and 2nd grade. She's in 3ed now and doesn't read them anymore.

I also object to the cutsie bad grammar. But I believe dd had already learned the vast majority of the basic, conversational English before 1st grade. And she learned it from us, her parents. Our grammar is fine (far from perfect!).

Dd enjoyed reading the JBJ's books because they were her first "chapter" books. It made her feel accomplished.

Charles, of your list, I have read "The Secret Garden" to dd. Some on your list I wouldn't expect her to read to herself yet.

However, it's these kinds of books that stretch kids' minds and help their vocabulary to grow.

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#15 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 07:10 PM
 
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Yes, my niece also read some of the books on Charles' list... which she equally enjoys. Charles' post has made me think a bit deeper on these books (& any similar she may receive)...

Books which relate directly to my niece's age group (& written in the first person narr child-style) are beneficial as well, as they allow me/an adult to be with her in a normal, realistic "playground" situation (although hypothetical) & to help her make the "right" decisions regarding behavior, attitude, etc. I feel it is very important to introduce many types of reading to kids... even comics, in limited amounts. That said, I don't really include ALL reading material in that general statement, of course. I wouldn't let her read adult-situation books for example. As long as she is realizing that Junie makes errors in attitude & grammar & enjoys reading the books & finding the flaws, what's the harm really? I don't see the connection with stuffing junky food in her face, with the book, she's learning, which can't be compared to eating useless food. These aren't useless-knowledge books as long as you help the child realize correct & incorrect attitude & grammar. (does that make sense with what you were saying Charles? - trying to grasp your food-book statement)

I'd still recommend the books, but initially, I didn't care for them at all... thanks for helping me understand where my mom may have been coming from (I didn't buy them but felt we had to read them at least once since they were a gift from her teacher-gramma, respect). Just my deeper thoughts on this subject
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#16 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 09:16 PM
 
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Okay, allow me to hijack this thread a moment with a grammar question...

We just finished A Little Princess today -- I've been reading it aloud to dds ages 8 and 4. Often characters make statements such as, "If I lived in a castle and Ermengarde was the lady of another castle...." Wouldn't this be subjunctive, and therefore better stated as, "If I lived in a castle and Ermengarde *were* the lady of another castle...."? In a book so very full of "supposings" there was amazingly little use of subjunctive, either in characters' speeches or in the author's descriptive passages. Or am I totally offbase as to what constitutes subjunctive tense?

ETA -- Having spent an amazing amount of time over the past week explaining to my 4yo the duties of a scullery maid, I really do think there's something to be said for contemporary lit. -- at least she'd understand the social milieu presented!
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#17 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 09:35 PM
 
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Charles---

I agree with you at least most of the way, except:

Quote:
Here's a list of WAY better books than Junie Jones, in my opinion:
Those books are also, generally, at a much higher reading level, IMO (and longer to boot). How about some easier suggestions?

 

 

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#18 of 34 Old 01-26-2004, 11:23 PM
 
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My second grader and I read several of them last year and we were not impressed. I do think she's bratty and the books were not very exciting to her. We did discuss the behavior issues in it.

My daughter really enjoys the Magic Tree house books. They are very well written and she dives right into them.

While I don't think Junie B. is awful or evil - I was very happy when my daughter didn't find them inviting.
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#19 of 34 Old 01-27-2004, 12:04 AM
 
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The difference between the junie B jones books and the ones Charles Baudelaire recommend is that my dd can't even come close to readin those and barley follows when I read them too her. I have trouble reading Little Women to her and still have to explain the grammer (while it was proper, it is certainly outdated) The junie B books are short, have large print, are about topics that ntrest her and short and sweet. Just right for a beginner reader. I would equate them with fluff magazines. Besides, not everything we read needs to be educational. I read many boks just for fun.

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#20 of 34 Old 01-27-2004, 01:08 AM
 
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I also have a lot of objections to them, particularly the cutsie way she talks. That said, though, my dd enjoys them very much. She also loved all the Ramona books. I think it gives her some relief that there is a child out there that is struggling to make sense of how and why grown ups want her to behave. Many of you would consider my dd to be a "brat." It is my biggest challenge to not take her behavior personally and to not let others judgement of my parenting get to me. She is very spirited and being socially appropriate is not high on her priority list. She's wonderful, but she's a handful. Grownups who think kids should be seen and not heard, always polite, quiet, etc. do not like her. Others find her absolutely delightful. I am happy she relates to these characters and feels better about herself as a result. I plan on introducing her to Pippi next. . . bwahahahaha!!

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#21 of 34 Old 01-27-2004, 01:28 AM
 
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thank you, you said just what I was thinking. Kids aren't always aware of social conventions and they often just don't care about others feelings,not because they are unkind or insensitive, just because they are kids. Junie does the acting out that they can't.
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#22 of 34 Old 01-27-2004, 01:21 PM
 
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Okay! Some feedback....

Queen Gwen -- You're right, it should be subjunctive. I guess my big objection is in the degree of grammar errors and the type. Believe me, I wishmy students only had problems with subjunctive tense! Whee!

Arthead -- You said, "As long as she is realizing that Junie makes errors in attitude & grammar & enjoys reading the books & finding the flaws, what's the harm really? I don't see the connection with stuffing junky food in her face, with the book, she's learning, which can't be compared to eating useless food."

***I agree, she's learning, Arthead....but my problem is WHAT she is learning. I think children learn that it's acceptable to be unkind and rude to others, like when Junie chases down her "boyfriend" on the playground and sits on him, screaming in his face. If she were a minor character or a character whose actions were frowned-on, that would be different. Instead, she "gets away," as it were, with her rudeness, incivility, and unbelievable self-absorption.

***I think ultimately, she's stuffing junky ideas, language, and attitudes in her brain. Just my opinion, though -- I know it's certainly colored by dealing with 180 kids a year who think i'ts okay to be rude...and as a parent, I wonder where they got their attitudes from. I think JBJ isn't the only source, of course -- that's like saying McDonald's is the only reason an overweight child is overweight -- but it's one source that's easy to cut off.

To Lilyka -- I agree, some of these are "hard," but for almost every one I recommended, there are simplified versions for earlier readers -- the Bullseye Step Into Classics series. They're short (short as or shorter than JBJ) and are, IMHO, great introductions to the books. By the time they're older, they won't be intimidated by the prospect of reading, say, Great Expectations if they're already 'friends' with Pip, Estella, etc. As for Alice in Wonderland/Looking-Glass, we read that together.

I agree that not all books should be educational and some should be for fun!
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#23 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 02:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Baudelaire
***I agree, she's learning, Arthead....but my problem is WHAT she is learning. I think children learn that it's acceptable to be unkind and rude to others, like when Junie chases down her "boyfriend" on the playground and sits on him, screaming in his face. If she were a minor character or a character whose actions were frowned-on, that would be different. Instead, she "gets away," as it were, with her rudeness, incivility, and unbelievable self-absorption.

***I think ultimately, she's stuffing junky ideas, language, and attitudes in her brain. Just my opinion, though -- I know it's certainly colored by dealing with 180 kids a year who think i'ts okay to be rude...and as a parent, I wonder where they got their attitudes from. I think JBJ isn't the only source, of course -- that's like saying McDonald's is the only reason an overweight child is overweight -- but it's one source that's easy to cut off.
mmm... I have to clarify that we're on exactly the same page as far as the constitute of the Junie series. It's definitely NOT okay to behave like Junie, believe me, that girl is not an idol, just an example with whom my niece DOES relate & also, thankfully, find problems. I did have MAJOR reservations from paragraph 1, but it was a gift from gramma, again, respect had to be given to gramma's gift & choices since she, too, is an educator.

In a schoolyard situation - actually a lot of normal streetkid situations, I see 10 year-olds smoking cigs, hear 12 yr olds talking like I've NEVER (in my 30 years) been comfortable talking, ETC... & at first call, chalked it up to media, books included. A lot of it IS due to the loose-tongued media that any six year old can grab ahold of on any given day. But, then I realize that this world is what it is TODAY. & we must respond accordingly, which does not include guarding, for the most part. My niece attends public school near Chicago. I'm certain that she is exposed to much larger & waaaaaay more vulgar attitudes & wrongdoings than she sees within a Junie B Jones episode, KWIM?

My initial response to those books was one of disrespect for the author... "how could she add to this dissarray of healthy kids", ETC... but now, thanks to your post & more thought on my own part... I can see it as a place that my neice can relate her very REAL circumstances (attitudinal & otherwise) WITH me & figure out how she could/should react within that given circumstance, all without my having to "crash" her playground.

I love what you believe in, Charles, I really wish every kid had the chance to be so guarded from the ugly public attitudes & misgivings, to make better students... but my niece doesn't have that option. So, books like these can let us, together, figure out that a snotty attitude is NOT cool & acting out how Junie does won't get her very far in this life... unless she finds a way to divert her SPUNKINESS (ugh, how us artistic types must suffer thru the deemed social graces!!! ).

I do, totally, agree with you on several levels, I hear about my mother's obnoxious kids at times & just want to throttle the media. Guess thats why we don't run TV thru our own television(only useful tapes, documentaries, something that will enhance us as people, etc.). Without supervision, kids are free property of the media, for better or for worse.

Hopefully for you, as an educator, and for all kids' health, the media will chill with it's pre-teen & teen HUGE attitudes in the near future.
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#24 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 04:32 AM
 
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Well, I see what you're saying...I guess what it comes down to for me is that you're absolutely right -- younger kids are doing, saying, and experiencing life in a far more mature way than (probably) you or I did.

For me, I think that there are two basic choices: buy into it or don't. I don't.

I see the wisdom of those who do -- I understand the argument that, "This is how life is, so we had better adapt." It makes sense, but for me, I want to do what I can to *change* "how life is." Some people do this through their choice to vax or not, to buy fast food or not, TV or not, et cetera. Hey -- each to his own! ;-)
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#25 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 12:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charles Baudelaire

Here's a list of WAY better books than Junie Jones, in my opinion:
I'm sure you read a lot of other books with your kids, but most of your suggestions, besides being a century old, are pretty sappy/ treacley. I think if Dickens were around today he'd be writing for Readers Digest or Parade magazine, despite his use of language. I think there is a big place for literature with less overt moral goals.
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#26 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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While I wouldn't feed my kid solely a diet of literary junk food, I really don't see the harm in it. I read every Nancy Drew ever written, at least three times each, and actually, I think it was good for me. It gave me a sense that reading can be a relaxing, pleasurable activity and is much more fun than sitting in front of the tube. Of course, I also read much more challenging books, but I do credit the Caroline Keenes for making me a lifelong voracious reader.

Personally, I agree that Dickens is fairly awful. Most of his books were the soap operas of their day. The plots are not well crafted and rely heavily on stupid coincidences.

I'm also not sure that I think reading simplified versions of books is such a great thing. I'd rather have my child read literature designed to be age appropriate. I'm a university librarian and I get so tired of the undergrads coming in asking for Reader's Digest versions (or Cliff Notes) of books they are supposed to be reading.
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#27 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 01:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by EFmom
Personally, I agree that Dickens is fairly awful. Most of his books were the soap operas of their day. The plots are not well crafted and rely heavily on stupid coincidences.
ITA. "Great Expectations" was the single most boring, slow-moving novel I ever had to misfortune to read. We had to plod through that drivel in 11th grade English, and THEN had to view the movie.

BO-rinnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg

Didn't Dickens write serial stories for some periodical, for a living?
(I remember reading THAT in a Trixie Belden book :LOL )

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#28 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 01:28 PM
 
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Great Expectations, the worst! We read it in 9th grade and also had to see the stupid movie afterward. We called it, "Mediocre Expectations." Yes, many of Dickens' works were published in instalment form, and were written on the fly as it were.

Dh teases me by threatening to read Dickens to me as a form of torture.
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#29 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 03:05 PM
 
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I read a great deal of "older" stuff to my 8 year old dd. We just finished with the "Pied Piper" fairy tale and followed that with the history of the Pied Piper and how all of the children did disappear in this German town. She was just as fascinated by the history as she was by the fairy tale. I have read many of The Brother's Grimm to her. I prefer their version of the fairy tales to Disney's adaptations.
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#30 of 34 Old 01-28-2004, 05:07 PM
 
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Nahh. If Dickons was around today he'd be writing for Salon or Slate. Obviously, having grown up in the 20th century he wouldn't write the way he did in the 19th century. Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol were strong jabs at the social status quo.

Eta, I totally agree though, Great Expectations was dull.

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