Junie B. Jones has a pet day problem! There's going to be a pet day at school, only guess what? No dogs allowed! And that's the only kind of pet Junie B. has! If Mother and Daddy won't buy her a new pet, Junie B. will just have to find one on her own. Like maybe a jar of ants. Or a wiggly worm. Or--could it be--something even better?
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Random House Books for Young Readers
November 17, 1998
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Excerpt from Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy by Barbara Park
Chapter 4: Ooey Gooey
"EEEW! YUCK! IT'S A WORM! IT'S A WORM! GET IT OFF ME, GRANDMA! GET IT OFF RIGHT NOW!" I yelled.
Grandma Miller quick took back the worm.
"For heaven's sake, Junie B. What in the world is the matter with you? It's just a baby earthworm. Look how teeny he is. This little fellow would make a wonderful pet."
I did a huffy breath at her.
"Yeah, only worms cannot be pets, Grandma. 'Cause pets have fur so you can pet them. And worms just have ooey gooey skin."
Grandma Miller looked surprised at me.
"Don't be silly," she said. "Not all pets have fur. My bird Twitter doesn't have fur, and he's a pet. And goldfish don't have fur. And hermit crabs don't have fur. And lizards don't have fur. And-"
I covered my ears with my hands.
"Okay, okay. Enough with the fur," I said. "But worms don't have eyes or ears, either. And they don't have legs or tails or feet or necks. And they don't chirp or bark or cluck or meow. And so what kind of stupid pet do you call that?"
Grandma Miller thought and thought.
Then she smiled real big.
"I'd call that the kind of pet that won't wake up the neighbors or sniff the company or scratch himself silly," she said back.
After that, she stood up. And she gave the baby earthworm to Mother.
"I'll leave this little guy with your mother for now," she said. "You can think it over and see if you want to keep him. I'll check back with you later."
Then she kissed me on my head.
And she grabbed the ice chest.
And she hurried out the door.
Mother looked at the baby worm in her hand. "My goodness. You are a little one, aren't you?" she said.
She got an empty mayonnaise jar out of the cabinet.
Then she poked holes in the lid for air. And she put the baby worm inside of it.
Mother looked at him in there.
"You don't even know where you are, do you, little fella?" she said. "I bet it's kind of scary in there all by yourself."
I turned my back on her. 'Cause I knew what she was up to, that's why.
"You can't make me like him, Mother," I said. "Nobody can make me like him."
"Of course not," said Mother. "But just because you don't like him, doesn't mean I can't like him."
She talked to the worm some more.
"Hmm. Maybe you'd be happier if you had some dirt to crawl around in," she said. "Let's go outside and see what we can do."
After that, Mother put on her jacket. And she went outside. And she digged in the dirt from her garden.
She came inside and showed me the jar.
It looked kind of cute in there.
There was a rock and a stick and a dandelion and some clovers.
I peeked at the baby worm.
He peeked back, I think.
"Yeah, only I still don't like him," I said kind of softer.
I rocked back and forth on my feet.
"And anyway... even if I did like him, I don't know what worms eat. And so what would I even feed that guy?"
Mother ruffled my hair.
"Are you kidding? That's the best part about worms," she said. "They get all of their food right from the soil. You don't have to feed them anything at all."
Just then, my baby brother started to cry.
"Uh-oh. The baby's crying," she said. "Here. Take this."
Then she quick handed me the jar.
And she runned right out of the room.