Friday, July 11, 2008

Junie B and Nancy D

Earlier in the week, Marian, Dana and I started discussing (in comments to Marian's post) children's books that adults enjoy. I mentioned the Junie B. Jones books. My husband and I found these books hilarious when our children were reading them in first and second grades. Here's a brief excerpt from "Junie B. Jones and Her Big, Fat Mouth!"

And so then I spit the cherry Life Saver on the ground. 'Cause the guy was scaring me, that's why.

Janitor bended down next to me.

"I didn't mean to frighten you, sis," he said. "But I spotted a bunch of dirty candy in the grass. And I was going to clean it up when I finished painting."

He looked serious at me. "Don't you ever eat anything you find on the ground. Do you hear? Not ever."

"But I blowed off the germs," I told him.

Janitor shook his head. "You can't blow germs off," he said. "Eating things that you find on the ground is very, very dangerous."

Then Janitor picked up the dangerous candy. "Now, run along and play," he said.

I did a big sigh. "Yeah, only I can't," I said. "'Cause I shot off my big fat mouth in kindergarten. And then I got punishment. And now I hate my bestest friend Lucille."

Janitor smiled a little bit sad. "Life is hard sometimes, isn't it, sis?" he said.

I bobbed my head up and down. "Yes," I said. "Life is P.U."

Then Janitor patted my head and he walked away.

And so guess what?

I just like Janitor.

And that's all.

(Text copyright 1993 by Barbara Park.)

The books are so cute and so like something kids would really think and say. For example, in one book, Junie B talks about the "Cheese Man" coming. The Cheese Man comes to school and takes your picture, and he tries to make you say cheese. Only what is funny about cheese?

The other books I never quite outgrew were the Nancy Drew mysteries. In fact, I have one of those tiny books from Books-A-Million on my desk called "Nancy Drew's Guide to Life," by Jennifer Worick. The book is filled with tidbits from Nancy Drew mysteries that we modern girls can possibly put to good use at some time or another. For example, "When searching for important clues, anything labeled 'Top Secret' might be a good place to start." That tip was taken from "The Crooked Banister." Sleuthing is not the only thing Nancy can teach us about. The book includes wilderness tips: "Dive into any available water when attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes." (From "Mystery of Crocodile Island") And "If you see something resembling a shark in a river, don't fret. It's more likely to be a small submarine operated by thieves." (From "The Mystery of Lilac Inn")

Huh. Maybe cheese is funny after all. ;-)


Marian Allen said...

I never got into Nancy Drew. I read the Hardy Boys, mostly. Also liked Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden. There were usually mysteries featuring whatever girl star was popular at the time, like Janet Lennon or Shirley Temple's one-time nemesis, Jane Withers.

zhadi said...

I used to read Nancy Drew when I was a kid - I had a bunch of old ones from the '30s/'40s my Mom gave me. My cats peed on the box and I lost them all...Sigh.

I think I need to read the Junie B books... and give them to my friend Maureen (my co-partner at Murder for Hire), who is a nanny and would probably appreciate them even more than I would.