I grew up reading Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones books both at school and at home. Throughout elementary school, I devoured the series. As a six year old, my reading level was challenged by the books and my love for literature ignited. When I was ten, Junie B. Jones was a source of entertainment, and I loved that I could read a whole book in half an hour. A blissfully hilarious half hour, at that. Nowadays, I revel at the opportunity to read one of the books to a younger friend or cousin. I’m convinced this world would be a more relaxed, jolly place if everyone knew about Junie B. Jones and wasn’t shy about reading the books, no matter what age they are. Why are these books so beloved by me and readers around the world? I’m glad you asked.
- They’re clever and well-written
Though these books are filled with hilarious exploits and charming life-lessons, they aren’t on the low end of literary intelligence. The plot, the characters, the jokes, and the writing itself are all cleverly constructed. They are appealing to every age group. If anything, the series, though intended for children, contains humor more appropriate for adults. Junie B.’s honest outbursts and childish thinking patterns are detailed in an attention-getting, yet light-hearted manner which charms both children and adults.
- They’re funny
I’ve already mentioned this point, but it’s worth elaborating on. Both deliberately and unintentionally, Junie B. Jones is a hoot. From her candid reflections on kindergarten life to observations on relationships and beyond, she tells things as she sees them. I think one of the reasons people are so enchanted with this young character is because she says the things many have thought yet are too afraid to express out loud. One of my personal favorite quotes by Junie B. Jones concerns her feelings regarding clowns. I’m pretty sure all children loathe clowns. I certainly did, which is perhaps why I thoroughly enjoyed her saying, “I don’t even like clowns. Clowns are not normal people.”
- They’re timeless
I was surprised when I learned that the first book in the series was released in 1992. When I first started reading them in around 2003, fresh books were being cranked out every year or so. It’s a series that transcends the bonds of time or place. Are you at home? Are you at school? In first grade? In college? Doesn’t matter. It’s Junie B. time. Even now, if I happen to be at my local library or am walking past a bookshelf that belongs to someone younger, when I see a Junie B. Jones book I feel compelled to pick it up and start reading. As a nineteen-year-old college student who has studied bits and pieces across the whole literary spectrum, this series still applies to my life and never fails to make me laugh. I’m convinced that in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years, those fortunate enough to stumble across the Junie B. Jones stories will be just as amused as the readers who delighted in the series upon their publication.
Since I probably have all of you convinced by now, allow me to recommend the perfect story for beginning your new reading adventure, Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. So what are you waiting for? If you don’t want to live a happier, funnier, more joyous life, then by all means, don’t read these books. It’s summer time. What else are you doing? Go to your local library and if people look at you funny for wandering around the children’s section, just hold up a Junie B. Jones book. They will understand.
Written by Karoline