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Junie B. Jones

It’s Halloween! Only here’s the trouble. Junie B. Jones is afraid to go trick-or-treating. ’Cause what if witches and monsters are really real? And what if pumpkins with sharp teeth can eat your feet? And don’t even get her started on the candy corn issue. So how is Junie B. supposed to even enjoy this scary holiday? But then—with a little help from a friend—she gets an idea for a costume guaranteed to outscare even the creepiest competition. And so maybe Halloween will turn out to be a real scream after all!

In this guide for Junie B., First Grader: Boo . . . and I MEAN It! Junie B. fans learn that math can be fun, especially when you involve candy wrappers! Learning is easier when students get active, so take a survey, tally the answers, and then graph their results. Students perform better on standardized tests when they discuss what they’ve read, so the questions here help guide their responses to the book. A lesson on snacking is also a fun way to remind students to think about what they eat. By adding prices when Junie B. goes shopping for her clown costume, students review addition of money values.

Pre-Reading Activities

Write on the blackboard the question: What are you afraid of? Then, as a class, brainstorm a list of all the things students find scary. Ask the students whether they think everyone is afraid of something? What do you do if you’re afraid? Should you face what you’re afraid of or just try to avoid seeing it? Why? Can people ever stop being afraid of something? How?

Give each student a blank piece of paper and crayons or markers. Ask them to draw a scene from Halloween and give them ten minutes to complete their work. Then, as a class, brainstorm a list of things that are associated with Halloween. Prompt the students to use all five senses as they create the list so that it is more than just simple objects. Circle the things they think would scare many students. Ask students if anything about Halloween scares them? Do people sometimes like to be scared? Why? Is it worth being scared to get free candy?

Let’s Talk About It

  • Why is Junie B. afraid of Halloween? What would you do if you had heard the five secrets? Would you want to go trick-or-treating? Why or why not?
  • Should Junie B. Jones believe Paulie Allen Puffer? Why or why not? How do you know whether someone is telling the truth or not?
  • Do you think Junie B. should ask someone she trusts about the five secrets? If so, who? If not, why not? Would you?
  • Why does Junie B. decide to dress up as Squirty the Clown? Describe Junie B.’s costume.
  • Does Junie B.’s plan work? Does she scare anyone? Does she get plenty of candy?

Fear Not!

When Junie B. is scared about what to do for trick-or-treating, she turns to her very dear friend Phillip. Phillip happens to be a stuffed elephant, but so what? He is very supportive. Ask students to bring in their favorite stuffed animal for class one day. Once the animals have arrived, explain that a dialogue is a conversation between two people. Reread Junie B. and Phillip’s conversation as an example of dialogue. Just like Junie B. they can pretend to have a conversation with their stuffed animal about things that scare them.

Have students take a blank piece of paper and fold it in half lengthwise. Then put their names at the top of one column, and their stuffed animals in the other. Have them write a conversation back and forth between the two, being sure that each has time to talk about what scares them and what they can do. To extend this activity, students can pair up and have their animals talk to each other about where they live and what their favorite thing is about their kid!

Candy Wrapper Count

Junie B. may be scared to go trick-or-treating, but she knows she’s willing to face her fears to get lots of candy. Teach students how to tally and create a bar graph about their favorite thing . . . candy! Have students bring in the wrappers from several different types of candy from their trick-or-treating. Then give each child a blank piece of typing paper. Have them fold it several times to create at least six squares. Students can tape or glue their wrappers onto the squares, one for each block. After that, students can walk around and ask students to make a tally mark on the one square of the candy they like best. (Or, if you prefer a quieter approach, send the papers around the room one at a time, waiting a brief interval for each child to answer.) Finally, have students graph the results in a bar or pie graph.


This guide was created by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, a reading specialist and children’s author. Visit her Web site to find many guides to children’s books.