I have an early reader at my home. When my four year old had started reading on her own, it was the most exciting thing to experience. We would pick books together, she would read it to me and we would chat about it later. Things have changed since.
She now gets home one book from school every weekday to read. She picks it on her own. It is part of the homework curriculum. Everyone is reading chapter books now and Junie B Jones is supposedly quite popular. So two weeks ago, my daughter brought home the book, Junie B Jones and a Little Monkey Business. We usually read the homework books together. It gives us an opportunity to work on the punctuations, expressions, the difficult words and help her understand the purpose/moral of the book.
The Junie B Jones book did not go well. Page 1, It had use of the “H” (Hate) word. My daughter exclaimed that it was a bad word. A word not allowed to say in the school or anywhere for that matter. She asked me why Junie was using that word and I responded by pointing to her how Junie is corrected by her mom on the next page. As we progressed further through chapter 1, there were phrases that I felt strangely awkward with “Dumb Bunny Room” “Stink Bomb” and addressing the parents as “You Fellas”. To give you some context here, Junie B Jones is a Kindergartner and so is my daughter. I hear the argument that she is a kindergartner and is learning good versus bad.
My problem though is the message from the book and not just the choice of words, I had a tough time explaining the meaning of the sentences to my daughter. For instance, Junie is going to have a sibling in the chapter that we were reading and the reference to “Stink Bomb” was in reference to how babies smell. My daughter has an infant sibling that she is extremely fond of and helpful with. Their association is of love and innocence and such opinions do not exist. I am sure this is not the case just in our home. So why would even plant such a thought in innocent minds ?
And by the way, which kindergartner talks to her mother like this  :“You did not get me a darned thing, did you?”. We read just one chapter and did not proceed further. I could tell my daughter was not exactly fond of the book. She even told me she would likely not get a Junie B again.
Peer pressure starts pretty early. Junie B did come back home this weekend. Junie B and the Party Animal. My daughter handed me the book and asked “What is a party animal?”. I read through the first chapter to see how this book compared to the previous. Chapter 1 was enough for me to decide that we had to tread through this book carefully together or not read it at all. Junie B and her friend discuss how their grandma’s were “Losers” “Duds” because they did not own a fancy car and a big house. I tried but could not explain the meaning to my daughter. May be I just did not feel the need for it.
We instead read another one of Dr.Seuss.
Am I the only one who cannot comprehend the sense behind this extremely popular series ? Am I missing on understanding the concept of this series ? How is this book appropriate for this age group ?
I have more questions than answers this Sunday evening. I will be curious to know what other parent’s think. 

This post has been shared by a Mother of a Kindergartner who loves to read and reads whatever she could lay her hands on. This is our first story in the series of “Reading Along With Our Kids”. 

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