Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “Junie B. Jones” series.
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.
Miri sometimes communicates with her friends and the boy she loves through a telepathic language used by the local miners called quarry-speak.
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.
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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. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.