Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook

junie bJunie B. Jones Is Not a Crook, by Barbara Park. A children’s book originally published in 1997.

Lest any of you fear I have fallen off the deep end, am off my rocker, an elevator whose mechanism has stopped reaching the top floor, or a few eggs short of a dozen, some back story is in order here.

My niece (now in her early 30’s) was recently somewhat mortified to learn that not only had our 8 and 9 year-olds never read a Junie B. Jones book, but that they were fairly unfamiliar with the fact that the series even existed. She went about fixing the problem last month by presenting our youngest child with a set of 16 Junie B. books as a birthday gift.

It’s been a very long time since I read a Junie B book myself, so in order to re-familiarize myself with the tone and content of the series I picked one out of the stack to read. I chose Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook.

Cute, whimsical, and full of heart this book tells the story of how Junie B Jones learns the lesson of doing unto others as you would have them to to you.

When her grandpa buys her a new pair of furry mittens Junie B is over the moon. So much so that she in annoying everyone in her class with her talk about her furry mittens. When she leaves them unattended on the playground and another child picks them up, her journey to find them begins in earnest.

Along the way Junie B finds a colorful pen that another child at school has lost or misplaced and decides to keep it: Finders Keepers Losers Weepers is for the moment her favorite rhyme. She never tells anyone however, that she found the colorful pen because deep inside she knows that she should take it to lost and found.

Upon recovery of her mittens and a sage piece of wisdom offered by her loving grandfather, Junie B. recognizes that finders keepers losers weepers is not always an appropriate position to take when she finds something that may belong and be of value to someone else.

It was a cute little book and Barbara Park’s ability to combine the glee and learning experiences of childhood into a heartwarming tale are admirable. It’s certainly not Beatrix Potter, but neither is it meant to be. It engages the attention of children who may not be lovers of reading (ask me how I know that), and it was clear to me why the Junie B Jones series of books skyrocketed into popularity and have remained popular for the past 25 years or so.

Grade: A

Tailor made for the 6-9 set who are able to read on their own. Fun to read aloud as well.

Reader poll: How many of you parents view the Barbara Park series as twaddle?


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