A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Jane Breskin Zalben (Paths to Peace: People Who Changed the World; Four Seasons), Tim Jacobus (It Came from New Jersey!: My Life As an Artist, Goosebumps series cover artist).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Charlotte BrontĂ« (1816-1855) Jane Eyre.
- John Muir (1838-1914) was born on this day. Read Squirrel and John Muir by Emily Arnold McCully; John Muir: Americaâ€™s First Environmentalist by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Stan Fellows; and John Muir: Americaâ€™s Naturalist by Thomas Locker.
- According to legend, twins Romulus and Remus found Rome in 753 BC. Read Romulus and Remus by Anne Rockwell and Roman Myths by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark.
Today we celebrate Kindergarten Day, observed on the birth of Friedrich Froebel, who founded the first kindergarten in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1837. Froebel believed that play, toys, and music formed the building blocks of childrenâ€™s education.
Certainly the most famous kindergartner in the canon of childrenâ€™s books, Junie B. Jones, does not initially believe that going to school is a good idea, particularly riding on that stupid, smelly bus. In fact, she will do anything, even hide in the supply closet, to avoid it.
Welcome to the very real and very funny world of Junie B. Jones, created by comic genius Barbara Park. Reading expert Jim Trelease has always claimed that Junieâ€™s series, which started to appear in 1992, are the most stolen books in the United States. One teacher in Washington, D.C., records having 800 Junie B. Jones books swiped from her classroom in one year. She happily replenishes themâ€”because after all a stolen book is one that a child canâ€™t live without.
The saga begins in Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus. Junie starts Kindergarten in her own mannerâ€”driving the teacher, principal, and her mother a bit crazy on her first day. She says what she thinks; she talks when she wants. She acts up, and she murders the English language. Most readers in the six- to eight-year-old age range identify with Junie B. immediately. Iâ€™ve known children who read only Junie B. Jones books while they are in kindergartenâ€”one after another.
Not only do adults misunderstand Junie B., she frequently misinterprets them. In the second book, Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, Junie hears her grandmother describe her newborn baby brother as a cute little monkeyâ€”and Junie takes Grandma literally. Now Junie B. believes she will have a pet monkey to play with.
With twenty-seven volumes that take Junie B. from kindergarten to first gradeâ€”and with around twenty-five million copies in printâ€”this series provides the perfect way to keep kindergarteners entertained as the year progresses. With her energy, screwball logic, and true-to-life behavior, Junie B. Jones has won over one reader after another for eighteen years. Although adults donâ€™t always comprehend the behavior of Junie B., her readers knowâ€”beyond a shadow of a doubtâ€”that Barbara Sue Park completely understands them.
Hereâ€™s a passage from Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus:
The little curly girl was sitting near the front. And so I tapped on her.
â€śGuess what?â€ť I said. â€śMother said for me to sit here.â€ť
â€śNo!â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™m saving this seat for my best friend, Mary Ruth Marble!â€ť
Then she put her little white purse on the place where I was going to sit.
And so I made a face at her.
Originally posted April 21, 2011. Updated for .