Oh, Junie B. You've been around so long that you are legal to drink, and yet everyone has the same complaint about you. STOP TALKING LIKE A BABY!
The grammar in the Junie B books is terrible, but they are funny and children love them. One first grade teacher in my former library district even recommended them to her students. I personally don't think that she knew what she was doing, but I spent every summer steering children away from the comfortable, but grammatically incorrect world of Junie B to something much more satisfying.
Just this weekend, my best friend (Hi Sara!) asked for read-alikes for Junie B with better language. Here's my list of top picks, in no particular order.
Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper
The Just Grace series features a funny main character and intermittent pictures. It's a little more challenging of a read than Junie B, but readers will be rewarded.
Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker
Clementine is definitely a grammatically correct Junie B. She doesn't always behave herself and she's quite the handful, but the text and pictures could not be more fun.
Bink and Golie by Kate DiCamillo and Allison McGhee
Bink and Gollie are two best friends that are total opposites and they are totally irresistible! The reading level is spot on for Junie B fans, and it won the Geisel Award for young readers, meaning that this is a great beginning reader book.
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
I know what you're going to say-that's a pig, not a girl!. It doesn't matter. Mercy Watson is hilarious, and boys and girls just crack up over her. Wonderful color illustrations pair with funny text, and a pig running around for crying out loud. You couldn't ask for a better combination. This also makes the Geisel list, so perfect for beginning readers.
Ling and Ting by Grace Lin
Ling and Ting are newcomers, but Grace Lin is a very talented author that will grace us with more adventures of these two identical twins. What these two lack in difference of appearance, they make up for in difference of attitude. This is on the easier side, but readers will love it!
Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows
Ivy and Bean had to become friends after a joke gone wrong solidifies their bond. These girls are very different but perfect together, like an older Bink and Gollie. These books are quick and funny with plenty of charm.
Ruby Lu by Lenore Look
Ruby Lu is spunky, energetic and positive. This is a girl that loves to put on magic shows for the neighborhood and have a good time. She's everything that Junie B should be.
So, there you have it, six great series about wacky girls, and one about a pig. I have shown you plenty of books to reform your little Junie B lover into a grammatically correct feisty girl.
Do you have other great Junie B read-alikes? Would you like to see more books for boys that love Junie B.? Any other burning reader's advisory questions out there? Comment below or email me at misstiffreads at gmail dot com.