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Junie B., First Grader Audio, Cassette – Audiobook, January 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Listening Library; Unabridged edition (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739338293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739338292
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,650,892 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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "amjohnsn" on November 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
First grade may never be the same! My own class can hardly wait for reading time when we've got a Junie B. book, and they we're especially excited to hear about her foray into the first grade. We loved it. The first grade book introduces you to Junie B. and her new journal (where Junie expresses her famous off the wall sense of humor), her new teacher, her new friends, and (gasp!) her new glasses. The book is both touching and funny. It perfectly captures the fear young children have about being different and about being made fun of by their classmates, and handles it with both great comedy and a sense of reality that all kids can relate to. I was really surprised to read that this book disappointed some. I couldn't imagine a better introduction to the first grade and neither could my students. We're all looking forward to the next one.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In this story when Junie B. gets to be a First Grader, she needs to get glasses because she cannot see the board. She also has a new teacher named Mr. Scary. It's funny because she has her friend Lucille in her class. Also, her other friend Grace has a new friend to sit with on the bus and Junie B. has nobody to sit with. I really love Junie B. and have the whole collection.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. Flocco on June 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
These books are completely inappropriate for the kindergarten/1st grade set. Words like "hate" and "stupid" are commonplace as is name calling and other bad behavior. I was very disappointed as I had hoped for a great series for my almost 1st grader. These books give kids a really bad example of how to treat others.. something they should be learning at this age.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My kids and I were so excited when we heard the new Junie B. was finally out, we could hardly wait to start reading it. We are huge fans of the whole series, and her first adventure as a first grader did not disappoint. The only time we put it down was to hold our aching sides (caused by laughing too much). There is one scene where Junie B. is trying to read the chalk board- before she gets her new glasses- that is absolutely hilarious
Junie B. as a first grader is a little older, a little wiser, and a little more mature- as one would expect- but every bit as funny. We can't wait for the next one!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My kids love Junie B. and are thrilled that she's finally in first grade! The latest book in the series is just as funny as the kindergarten books, and I was pleased to see that Junie's now facing some of the same issues my kids are (fear of a new classroom, etc.), and is of course handling them with her signature hilarity. The book gave us a lot to talk about (it's a little meatier than the other books, and a great jumping off point for discussions) and my daughter wouldn't rest until we'd read it through twice (she also wants to start keeping a journal--which Junie does in the book). We loved the new characters (know-it-all May had us laughing out loud) and were so happy to see some of our favorites back from the earlier books. Kudos to Barbara Park and Junie B. Jones--we can't wait to see what the rest of first grade brings!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mbuna on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
I can't imagine more inappropriate reading for a 5-8 year old. These books are loaded with poor grammar, individual words that are too advanced and, on top of that, they encourage bad behavior. Avoid this series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm 10, and I just finished: Junie B., First Grader (at Last!) and it wasn't the best. Junie B. may have improved on how she talked, but I didn't like the way she acted. She acted sort of like a snob, like when her mom talked about how glasses can be like a window, put them on--POOF!--and the world's crystal clear. All Junie B. said was: *Poof yourself.* I thought that was mean. I would have gotten more than a time-out if I said that. ***Junie B. also needs to have writing skills like a First Grader. Her journal writings look like a 12-year-old's. The book was nice, but I think Junie B. needs to learn to act a bit more polite and needs to learn to act a bit more like the Junie B. I've learned to love.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
I don't think Junie B acts much like a FIRST GRADER. I'm surprised she spelled lots of words right in her journal at school. That has (and STILL) confused/confuses me. I'm 11 and I have some of my School Journals from 1st and 2nd grade. I couldn't spell: Yesterday, muscles, believe, recess, actually, sentences, brought, or teacher. But Junie B spelled ALL of those words right!!! I was sort of shocked. I don't even write entries like THAT in my school journal. Junie B has lost her spunk and her laugh-out-loud antics. All the kindergarten books are better than the Junie B., First Graders. I wish she had her bow back too. Like some of the other people who wrote these reviews, Junie B isn't the same without the big bow on her head. Now a pair of outrageous purple glasses are in its place. Come on, people! They're PURPLE!!! Just like what May had said. Junie B feels like a totally different kid and character now. It's like a brand new series that has NO connection with the kindergarten books, except for when she occasionally mentions friends from kindergarten. I wish Junie B was the same again. And not this new bossy kid. Hey! My brother Carson (he's older than me) figured something out! THE "B" STANDS FOR BOSS!!!! It also stands for: Bully, Big Meanie, Bad Girl, and Blabber-Mouth. She's spoilied and bossy and gets her way a lot. She's getting away with more stuff as a 1st grader. I wish she was still the same...
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