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Aloha-ha-ha!: Junie B., First Grader    by Barbara Park order for
by Barbara Park
Order:  USA  Can
Imagination Studio, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Junie B. Jones is a cross between a whirling dervish and a drama queen in this latest episode, Aloha-ha-ha!, narrated by Lana Quintal with spirit and an appreciation of what really matters to a first grader.

Junie B. tells us that 'Time is as slow as a turtle' as she waits to share her news at show and tell - she's heading on a family vacation to Hawaii, to spend a week in paradise, or 'Pair-o-Dice' as her classmate misinterprets. Though Junie B.'s nemesis May keeps mentioning 'spewy hot volcanoes', it doesn't dampen her enthusiasm, especially after her long-suffering teacher, Mr. Scary, gives Junie B. a disposable camera and asks her to be Room 1's 'first official photojournalist' (after all, official=important).

When Mr. Scary also asks the irrepressible Junie B. to work on her grade 1 journal on the trip, she concludes that 'Teachers and children do not have the same kind of brains.' For the occasion, mom gives her daughter Hula Girl Barbie. Junie B. calls her Dolores and introduces her to her stuffed elephant Philip (he's not impressed). The photojournal starts off badly with a picture of 'grouchy ladies' on the airplane. Photos continue to capture minor crises at the pool, on the beach, and on a tour bus.

But after her floral headpiece leads to a scene from The Birds on a scenic hike, Junie B. takes photos that make up for all that has gone before, the prefect ending to a memorable trip to paradise. Kids will enjoy sharing Junie B.'s perspective on life, the universe, school and parents, and will appreciate her strength of character, which often gets her into trouble and out of it again.

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