Junie B. Jones, the lovable character from children’s literature known for her unbridled enthusiasm and relatable run-ins, is making her Valley stage debut. And a local bookstore is turning it into an opportunity to encourage kids to read.
Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe has partnered with Childsplay, a theater company for young audiences and families also based in Tempe, to help kids develop an interest in theater and reading.
Kids who buy any two of the nearly 20 "Junie B. Jones" titles at Changing Hands through Sept. 22 will receive a goodie bag. And six lucky kids will find two free tickets to the Childsplay production of "Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business" at Herberger Theater Center.
The winners will have lunch with Junie B. Jones and the gang before the 2 p.m. show Oct. 1 and may even get a tour of the theater, says Yvette Roder, public relations coordinator for Changing Hands.
"Nowadays, kids are so much into their Game Boys and Segas and music and CDs that people forget kids can enjoy books and theater," she says. "It’s one way of telling the kids, ‘Hey, it’s fun to read because you can go beyond the pages.’ Now we’re making her pages come to life."
Adapted from the children’s book by local author Barbara Park, the show follows Junie B. Jones, who is convinced her new baby brother is a monkey, as she creates outrageous stories for her classmates.
"Junie. B. Jones is just a rock star with the under-10 set," says Rosemary Walsh, director of marketing for Childsplay. "She’s incredibly popular with girls and boys.
"She has a way of jumping into things with all the enthusiasm of a kindergartner or first-grader and thinking afterward," says Walsh. "Kids and adults, a lot of them can identify with that."
See the play What: "Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business"
When: Now through Oct. 1
Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix
Cost: $18 to $22
Information: (602) 252-8497 or
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe. (480) 730-0205.