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Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus: 04/20/08
The Junie B. Jones series starts off with Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus in which Junie starts kindergarten an has to learn how to ride the bus to and from school.
Over all, I like the books from the series I've read. See for example my review of Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime from November 2006. Unfortunately, the series gets a rough start. Junie here is acting much too young and her parents and teacher don't seem wiling to give her the support she obviously needs to get over her fears of kindergarten and of riding the bus.
The story is broken up into three parts: Junie meets her new teacher, Junie goes to school, and Junie refuses to ride the bus home. Junie is normally braver and stronger willed than she is in the first book. I can't imagine any of the kindergartners I know deciding to hide in a closet while the school closes, yet this is exactly what Junie does.
Happily in the later books in the series, Barbara Park gets a handle on Junie B. Jones's personality and she starts to act like a more typical child her age. Don't let this first rough book put you off the series if you haven't read it yet.
Yes! I had the same criticisms as you when I read it -- and to boot, my daughter and I read it right around the time of kindergarten orientation, so I got nervous she'd take it to heart.
She's a tough kid. She didn't. "
My son is in kindergarten right now which is probably why the book struck me as flawed. "