Sunday, December 15, 2019

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (and so does May)

Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones Deluxe Holiday Edition: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.)
October 1st 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by the publisher

First grader Junie B. has a lot of trouble controlling herself, but it doesn't help when classmate May is always tattling on her for the least transgression. Whether it's altering the lyrics for "Jingle Bells" or tussling with May and pulling her sweater, Junie is constantly in trouble. When the class picks names for a Secret Santa, of course she gets May. When the class goes to the PTO Holiday Gift Shop to pick out presents, Junie B. sees something she really, really wants for herself-- a Squeez-a-Burp. She begs for money from home and finally manages to shake down her parents and buys it, along with other gifts for her family. She is determined not to buy May a present, but at the last minute repents and gives May her beloved item.
Strengths: This is a very nice edition of this book-- large format, perfect for reading aloud to a class. Holiday books are always popular, and this addresses several common first grade concerns-- holiday programs, getting along in a classroom, and balancing personal wants against giving gifts demanded by social convention. The pictures are very fun and add to the holiday air.
Weaknesses: Most characters in early reader books are very well behaved, so people like to see different characters, but had my girls acted like Junie B., there would have been some consequences, so it was hard for me to enjoy this. Also, it felt like holiday programs and Secret Santas were things that fell out of fashion about ten years ago.
What I really think: Had I seen this fifteen years ago, I probably would have bought it for Picky Reader, who did enjoy these books. This is too young for middle school, so I will send it on to an elementary school.

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