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Junie B. Jones #19: Boss of Lunch and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch (Junie B. Jones) (A Stepping Stone Book(TM)) Library Binding – May 28, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The irrepressible Junie B.--room 9's most boisterous first grader nonpareil--has returned for another adventure, this time around as a hair-netted, plastic-mitted "helper" in the school cafeteria. (Her dad wisely guesses where this one's going: "A helper doesn't make things more difficult, Junie B. A helper makes things easier. Okay?") The 19th installment in this spunky series begins with much ado over the cultural implications of bought and brought lunches and the exciting arrival of a shiny new lunch box. ("Come, Herb! Come, Lennie and José! It's time for you to watch me eat out of my new lunch box!") But events quickly eclipse such trifles, as Junie B. runs into good ol' Mrs. Gutzman again, her "snack lady" from way back in kindergarten. ("That woman was a gem, I tell you.")

You might start feeling like Junie B.'s getting a little too irrepressible in her old age. But then again, maybe you've just had a long day (like Junie B.'s dad, presumably). Whatever the case, Barbara Park still rules the school with her likeable beginning chapter-book series, and you can bet Junie B. will be back for more, even after her lunch box loses its luster. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Several popular series and protagonists continue in new titles. The titular heroine joins her favorite cafeteria lady, Mrs. Gutzman, by donning apron, mitts and a hair net, but things go a little haywire behind the lunch counter in Junie B., First Grader: Boss of Lunch by Barbara Park, illus. by Denise Brunkus, the latest installment in the bestselling series.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 0330 (What's this?)
  • Series: A Stepping Stone Book(TM) (Book 19)
  • Library Binding: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375915176
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375915178
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,229,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. It was a small town surrounded by farmland . . . the kind of town where you greet people by name on Main Street. It was only an hour's drive to the ocean. So every summer we spent family vacations on Long Beach Island. My brother and I would ride the waves during the day and play miniature golf at night. It's the kind of idyllic memory that stays in your head long after you've grown up and moved away.
After graduating from high school and spending two years at Rider University, I transferred to the University of Alabama where I met my husband, Richard. Eventually his job brought him to Arizona. We both fell in love with the desert and wanted to stay here forever. Still, during the heat of the Arizona summers, those ocean memories would come rushing back. So-after years of sweaty summers-my husband and I finally built a house on Long Beach Island, the same island where my brother and I rode the waves as kids. In the story business, that's called "coming full circle." These days, Richard and I divide our time between the desert and the ocean. In the words of Junie B. Jones, I'm a lucky duck.

Q. What inspired you to start writing?

In my case, it was sort of "reverse" inspiration. I got a degree in secondary education. My plan was to teach high school history and political science. But, because of a scheduling problem my senior year, I ended up doing my student teaching in the seventh grade. The word disaster doesn't really cover this one. I'll spare you the details. But as I ran screaming from the school building every day, I knew that I would never be a teacher. My husband and I married after graduation, and started a family. A few years later, when I was ready to go to work, I was still haunted by the memories of student teaching. So I was "inspired" to try my hand at writing instead.

Q. How did you go about getting published?

The first children's novel I wrote was Operation: Dump the Chump. As soon as it was finished, I bought a copy of Writer's Market, found some addresses, and started sending it off to publishers who were accepting unsolicited manuscripts. It was rejected three times. All three rejections managed to work in the classic industry one-liner, "It isn't right for our list."

The fourth time I sent it to Alfred Knopf, Inc. A few weeks later, they called and said it was exactly right for their list. I felt like I'd hit the lottery.

Q: You've written middle-grade novels, early chapter books, and picture books. Which do you like writing best?

I can't really say which I like best. But after all the Junie B. books I've written, those certainly come the easiest. The middle-grade novels are more of a challenge. But in some ways, that makes them more rewarding. The last two I've written (Mick Harte Was Here and The Graduation of Jake Moon) were both about very sensitive topics, so it took a long time to get them exactly right. But I think those two books have made me the most proud.

Q. Tell us about your most recent picture book.

It's called, MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! It's about a baby in utero who is bored out of his mind. The idea for it was born (so to speak) when my daughter-in-law, Renee, invited me to my first grandson's ultrasound. Although I had never had an ultrasound myself, I'd seen pictures of other babies in utero. But I wasn't prepared for how amazing it would be to see my own little grandbaby on that screen. I felt like I was watching the Discovery Channel.

Q. How much did you continue to think about the baby after seeing the ultrasound? How did this develop into the idea for the book?

A. On the way out of the doctor's office, I remember thinking, Okay, so now we're all going back to our busy lives. But the baby is still in there just floating around. Except for an occasional kick or hiccup, he's got absolutely nothing to do.

A few months later-when I was getting ready to give Renee a baby shower-I wrote this poem, framed it, and gave it to her as a shower gift.

Q. Of the characters you've created, who is your favorite?

A. This would be a bit like picking a favorite child. I don't have a single favorite character, but again, I lived with the characters Mick and Phoebe Harte and Jake and Skelly Moon for a very long time. So those four are the most dear to me.

The characters I've had the most fun with have been the little ones. Little kids are so free to say whatever is on their minds. They aren't silenced by peer pressure and the notion that they have to sound cool. Molly Vera Thompson in The Kid in the Red Jacket is six, and Thomas Russo in My Mother Got Married and Other Disasters is five. They both were such fun to write about that they led to the creation of Junie B. Jones.

Q. Is Junie B. modeled after you as a child? Did you ever do any of the things that Junie B. does?

A. I was sent to "Principal" in first grade for talking. There were lots of notes sent home that year, as well. My father was on the Board of Education. Not good.

Q. There's been some criticism of the Junie-speak in the series. How do you answer concerns that Junie's grammar is not good for young readers?

A. Honestly, most of the grown-ups I hear from are writing to tell me that Junie B. Jones got their reluctant readers to read. I have drawers full of letters from parents and teachers that are so meaningful to me, I can't bear to part with them. These are adults who understand that fictional literature plays a whole different role in children's lives than a book of grammar or a basic reader.

That having been said, there are always going to be a handful of people who denigrate books that speak in a voice other than their own. I've stopped trying to explain the concept of literature to people like that. Wasted time better spent.

8. What makes you laugh?

My sense of humor is a little bit off-center, I think. In the movies, I usually laugh at parts that no one else seems to think are funny. Then there are movies like Young Frankenstein where I laugh from the opening scene straight through to the end.

Lots of other things make me laugh, as well. My husband and sons make me laugh. My dog. My grandsons. Friends. The absurdities of life. My lopsided cakes. The list goes on . . .

What advice do you have for teachers that are aspiring writers? For kids?

There's nothing revolutionary in my advice, I'm afraid. It's the same old stuff. Write as much and as often as you can. Try different genres to find your niche. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And-above all-be your own worst critic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 20, 2002
Format: Library Binding
I am a 7 year old who loves to read. I have read all of the Junie B. Jones books and I love them. I waited along time to read this book and it was worth the wait. Barbara Park has done it again. Junie B. Jones is now in first grade and is just as silly as ever.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angela Pearce on June 23, 2002
Format: Library Binding
I am a librarian and love the Junie B Jones Books. This one is funny as Junie B. takes a sack lunch but everyone else gets school lunch. I found Boss of Lunch funny in parts but did not have me rolling as the first Junie B. stories did. Still has some funny lines and the kids are sure to relate to her feelings about lunch time and school lunch. I did like Mrs. Gutzman and how she interacts with Junie B. If you have the rest of Junie B. you need this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Cain on October 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
Junie B.'s antics begin with a "bought lunch" versus "brought lunch" debate against her classmate May. During lunch that day, Junie B. realizes that her old friend from Kindergarten snack-time, Gladys Gutzman, works in the kitchen of her school cafeteria. Disregarding school rules, Junie B. leaves her lunch table and runs to the kitchen yelling for "Mrs. Gladys Gutzman." Mrs. Gutzman and Mr. Scary, Junie B.'s first grade teacher, make a deal with Junie B. If she can follow the rules for the remainder of the day, she can be a special cafeteria helper complete with "'quipment" (apron, hairnet, mitts). This begins Junie B.'s dream-come-true adventure as "Boss of Lunch."

I recommend this classic Junie B. story that will make children of all ages laugh out loud. As a first grade teacher, I could relate to many of the situations in this book. I have had to settle "brought lunch" versus "bought lunch" debates before they ended in hurt feelings. I have also rewarded students with time spent with our cafeteria workers and plastic mitts. I read Junie B. books to my first graders, who adore her and relate to her experiences. I use Junie B.'s mistakes (both with grammar and behavior)as a teaching tool to discuss correct/incorrect grammar and right/wrong decisions. I will add this book to my collection and will use this book in my classroom because it will continue to keep my students interested in reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Brown on October 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
As a third grade teacher I am happy to say Boss of Lunch is the Boss of my classrooms' student selected reading time. In Boss of Lunch, Junie B. has just recieved a brand new lunch box covered in baby bird pictures. Of course she can't kep her hands off of it during class and "Prissy" May has to tell Mr. Scarry on her. This leads into a class discussion of if brought lunches are better than bought lunches. When it is finally lunch time Junie B. is disappointed to be eating her sandwich when the other kids get hot hogies and cookies. Mrs. Gutsman solves this problem when she invites Junie B. to be a cafeteria helper and arrange napkins and sponge off the counter the next day. Junie B. has visions of being the "Boss of Lunch" and eating all the cookies she wants, but things aren't exactaly as she plans. To find out how Junie B.'s job as cafeteria helper turns out , you will need to check out Junie B. Jones, First Grader, Boss of Lunch By: Barbara Park and start turning pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jaymar on June 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
It seems like Junie misbhaves a bit, and I don't know if I want to encourage that in my children....although, on the flip side, it is hard for a first grader to behave 100% of the time, and I am sure it is refreshing for them to read that they are not the only ones who can't sit still and do what they are told sometimes!

The thing that really bothers me is that the author tries too hard to sound like a first grader who was raised by people who can't speak proper English. She uses horrible grammar throughout the book. Not all children speak that way. I find myself changing the words to read properly when I read this to my daughter.

I live in an area of the country where there is a lot of poverty and a lot of children being raised by people who can barely read and write. I visited my son at school one day, and he brought a friend to lunch with us. The little girl used words like "ain't" very freely. I was horrified when she told me her mother was a high school teacher. If a child reads a book, it would be best if they could read it written in proper English. That may be the only place they hear people speaking correctly.

Teachers tell us not to be afraid to read books to our children, even if they are considered to be "above" their level. They say the children will understand, and it will build their vocabulary, help them with grammar, etc. I have to agree.

No need to dumb it down. There are plenty of kids who can speak proper English out there, and I would like to think that Junie B could be one of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Steenbergen on October 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
Again, I read another Junie B. book to my four year old and she loved it. She just loves the way that Junie B. sometimes talks like she does. Of course Junie B. is up to her pranks again in Boss of Lunch. The book starts out in her wonderful journal that we all have already grown to love. Her spelling is so cute and fun to decipher. Junie B. is so excited just like she usually is, she has gotten a new lunch box and just can not keep her hands off of it. May, the "tattletale girl" tells on her everytime that she even looks at or heaven forbid touches it. This new lunchbox leads into a class discussion of if brought lunches are better than bought lunches. As the story develops Junie B. decides that maybe bought lunches are better than brought lunches but only because of what they were having in the cafeteria that day. The lunch lady learns of Junie B.'s disappoint and gives her a special job the next day at school. You'll have to read the book to see what a mess Junie B. makes of her special job. I did not say it at the beginning but I will now. Yes, I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. It is just as good as all the other Junie B. books. I am truly enjoying watching Junie B. grow up. I am twenty seven years old and because I work with children and have my own I can really relate to Junie B. a lot of the time. She is great. Keep it up, Ms. Park.
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