Barbara Park captures the simple, untamed and unshamed heart of a child with Junie B. Jones.
As a librarian, a mother of three (an old mother? - I'm 31), and having earned a degree in English literature and education, I feel saddened to see other reviewers trying so terribly hard to narrow the realm of children's literature into such absurdly unrealistic and dowdy margins.
Let little children be little children, let them not be ashamed to say "I hate peas!" and let them know that it's okay to have thoughts and feelings that mommy would sometimes call "harsh," or we will be raising the most emotionally constipated and dull creatures you are allowed to imagine.
However, if we must be constipated grammarians, allow this English teacher-turned-librarian to point out that if any of my students were to hand in a paragraph peppered with words written in all capital letters, he or she would have had to revise that paragraph until a point could be made without such horrible mechanics. The red pen would be blazing across the page to point out that the word "totally" and the phrase "a lot" are overused and abhorently amateur, and I would then assign that student to write the correct spelling of the word "author" ten times, to be handed in before they were allowed to go to the cafeteria for a lunch of bland soup and dry toast. Thank God for "young mothers" out there teaching our children from their vast experience and wealth and depth of misinformation. I pity the teacher who has these poor children in her class, teaching them not to write their names in capital letters and not to use the word "hate" so very often when referring to poverty or disease... (Children do speak often of poverty and disease at this age, do they not? Some would say children are just as concerned about who sits by them in lunch or if they are this week's line leader... The shame of their ignorance!)
Junie B. Jones is Not a Grammarian - nor is any other first grader, and obviously neither are some reviewers. Take life a little less seriously, and allow books to be a pleasure to read, not a task to be confronted with. Do not crush creativity for your children. If children learn bad grammar or harsh language from Junie B., they have little other experience in their lives.
Junie B., you're simply wonderful!