This first humor book in the "Junie B. Jones" series by Barbara Park is published by Random House Children's Books.
Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus is written for kids ages 6 to 8. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Starting kindergarten doesn't make Junie B. Jones nervous — but riding the bus is another story. She thinks the bus smells like egg salad and black smoke, has screechy brakes and no glove compartment for Kleenex, and is filled with pushy boys and girls. Rather than ride home in the bus, Junie decides to hide in a classroom closet. After that, she roams through several rooms trying out various school supplies and equipment in the nurse's office. Finally, her mom, teacher and others find her, and Junie's mother arranges for Junie to sit with a girl from her class on the next day's bus ride.
Most of what we learn about Junie's mom is based on her inaction — and Junie's resulting behavior. Whether Junie is yelling and interrupting her mom and the teacher or running freely through the school after hours, Junie is neither reprimanded nor punished. Additionally, Junie demonstrates a disturbing lack of remorse for or understanding of the error in her antics — even for a 5-year-old. All of this suggests Junie's mother may be failing to provide her with appropriate communication skills and a basic understanding of right and wrong.
Other Belief Systems
Miri sometimes communicates with her friends and the boy she loves through a telepathic language used by the local miners called quarry-speak.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Junie decides immediately that she hates one classmate and could beat up another.
What happens when you make judgments about people before getting to know them?
- When Junie roams the school, she plays with school supplies and equipment.
Why is it important not to touch things that don't belong to you?
- If you were Junie, what would you have said to help me (your mom/dad) understand why you didn't like riding the bus?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.