Junie B. Jones has a Dead Reckoning
I'm going to have my vent right here about what I have so far been quite ignorant about. I am not the most vigilant of parents, so it shouldn't surprise me that this escaped my radar. I was just happy to find that Priscilla was getting into reading on her own and choosing to read for leisure. It warmed my heart to see her lying on her bed after school reading voraciously. I just figured, how bad can 1st or 2nd grade literature be? Should be fairly harmless... besides, I don't have time to read every cutesy novel that crosses her path. Think again, clueless Mama.
Junie B. is not necessarily earth-shatteringly bad. It did do what I suppose it set out to do - inspire reading. That's about all I give it credit for. After asking someone what she thought of Junie B. I was surprised to discover she wasn't given the green-light go-ahead by my friend. Then I thought, 'Well, I can't just rely on what my friend said - she may just be hyper-sensitive, I'll have to read one for myself...' And I did, and it took all of less than 30 minutes - which I didn't feel was too great a sacrifice to be sure my kid wasn't mentally digesting junk food. I'd say junk food in reality would be a better waste of time and energy - you can run off junk food and change diet and be none the worse for wear. What is planted in the heart and mind is not so easily shrugged off.
Here's my story-line suggestions for our dear hopeless brat named Junie B.:
Scenario 1: The Spiritual Approach
Junie B. discovers a Bible. She flips it open and her eyes fall upon: "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." She falls off her chair. Her heart sinks. Her eyes turn towards Heaven and with great anguish of voice, she calls out her prayer: "Oh Lord, forgive me for my rebellion and foolish ways. I repent of my lack of respect for the authorities you have placed over me! I repent of making light of what little discipline I encounter! I am so sorry for thumbing my nose at authority. I have wandered through my first-grade world thinking I am in control. I have considered myself my own boss, and have forced my will on all those about me. Please forgive me. Amen."
Scenario 2: The Common Sense Parent Approach
Junie B. sets out to become a hair dresser. She certainly needs lots of practice and begins with her stuffed animals, graduating to her dog and finally herself. This, after repeated instructions by Daddy about leaving well-enough alone. Suddenly, parents get a backbone! She is NOT rewarded for her ill-gotten behaviour with a trip to the hair-dresser to fix her debaucle. Oh, no. Not when Common-Sense Parent (CSP from here on out) arrives on the scene.
"Junie B. will you come here please!" calls CSP from the kitchen.
Junie shudders to think what she will face if she answers this call. "I'll just hide under the covers and make her come find me." she thinks to herself.
"Junie! I know you hear me. If you are in the bathroom I'm giving you 'til the count of three to finish up and come here." CSP calls out.
"I will just stay here cozy and warm in my bed. She'll forget in a minute." naiively Junie reckons - not realizing the force she is about to come upon.
"Okay, you made your choice." In marches CSP.
"Junie, you will have a spanking for not coming when I called you." (If you can't handle the spanking part, insert "Skip dessert tonight." here.)
Spanking over CSP looks upon her shorn daughter. What a sight! It looks as if the lawn mower zig-zagged across her scalp - taking spontaneous leaps and bounds right and left. Well, Junie B. is about to have her reckoning with reality.
"Junie, because of your disobedience and lack of respect for the instructions you have been given, you will be going to school today without a hat. You will face your classmates, teacher, and most likely, Principal as you are. You will not tell lies, make up stories or any such subversive thing. You will truthfully read from the card you will carry with you throughout the day: 'I foolishly disobeyed my parents. I look this way because I chose to put myself above the authorities in my life. I was wrong. I have to endure your laughter because I deserve it. This is my punishment. Will you still be my friend?'
You get the idea.
Scenario 3: Choose your own Adventure Junie B.
Junie B. grows up after her many years as a 1st grader, though she has sailed through the higher grades, her maturity has stayed at 1st grade level. She is so glad her parents and teachers love her - this is all that matters to her! Never mind that they tell her what to do and she can't really figure that out, since she really is master of her universe.
She enters college.
"What do you mean I have to turn this in by Friday? When will I ever get my nails done?!" she tells the professor.
His jaw drops and says, "Oh, I'm so sorry, please, be my guest, turn it in whenever you please. Just be aware what happens to students who choose to ignore my directives..." Junie is puzzled. She chooses her own adventure.
A. Dawdle her time away chasing bunnies all over campus
B. Do her paper on time
C. Display her fancy nails to the class when she conveniently forgets to do her assignment
D. Transfer to another school
E. Become a cheerleader
Then each story line will have it's own ending...
Junie ought to be thankful, or on second thought, enraged, that she didn't have a parent like me. What was the author thinking writing this stuff?! Oh, it's so cute - children are like this, and they like to read about kids who reflect their own imaginations and reality. I'm sure they do. Why not plant weeds in their little hearts and inspire them with foolishness!?
When I write and send my letter to the school, the District and the Library I'll include a copy on my blog. I'm too annoyed to say much more here at this point.