The Junie B. Jones series of books by Barbara Park follows the main character, Junie, through kindergarten and first grade. Each book features a specific theme and uses humor to teach kids important lessons. In "Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants," Junie deals with the idea of cheating and what happens when she gives in.
In the book, Junie realizes that she has forgotten to do an assignment when the teacher announces that the class will read their paper in front of the class. As most first-graders do, Junie panics, trying to figure out how to get out of trouble. Instead of being honest about not finishing her homework, Junie copies the essay of her classmate, who has left her paper sitting on her desk. However, Junie doesn't count on the teacher figuring it out.
When the each person is called up to read her essay about what they did over the weekend, the teacher realizes that Junie and May both had weekends that were pretty similar. She confronts the two about the coincidences. Junie feels bad about what she has done and confesses. The teacher appreciates her honesty, but still punishes her. Since she's already been caught, you would think that Junie would have learned her lesson about being a "cheater pants."
After Junie gets into trouble for copying her friend's paper instead of writing her own or confessing that she had forgotten, Junie decides not to cheat again. But temptation becomes too much for her to handle. Especially when another of her friends shows her an answer for the spelling test. Not thinking of it as cheating since he showed her the answer without her asking or having to sneak it, she thinks it must be OK. Of course, they both feel badly about it and confess to the teacher. Again, she appreciates the honesty, but punishes them both with a score of 0 on their tests.
Not Worth It
Over the course of the book, Junie finds herself in several cheating scrapes. Each time, she feels badly about what happened and ends up revealing what she has done. And each time, she suffers the consequences with both her teacher and her parents. Over time, she realizes that cheating is not worth the problems that it comes with and resolves to always do her own work. Through Junie's adventures with cheating, readers discover why cheating is wrong and how to avoid finding themselves in the same type of mess.
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