The Planet of Junior Brown

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Overview

Junior Brown, an overprotected three-hundred pound musical prodigy who's prone to having fantasies, and Buddy Clark, a loner who lives by his wits because he has no family whatsoever, have been on the hook from their eighth-grade classroom all semester.

Most of the time they have been in the school building -- in a secret cellar room behind a false wall, where Mr. Pool, the janitor, has made a model of the solar system. They have been pressing their luck for months...and then ...

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The Planet of Junior Brown

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Overview

Junior Brown, an overprotected three-hundred pound musical prodigy who's prone to having fantasies, and Buddy Clark, a loner who lives by his wits because he has no family whatsoever, have been on the hook from their eighth-grade classroom all semester.

Most of the time they have been in the school building -- in a secret cellar room behind a false wall, where Mr. Pool, the janitor, has made a model of the solar system. They have been pressing their luck for months...and then they are caught. As society -- in the form of a zealous assistant principal -- closes in on them, Junior's fantasies become more desperate, and Buddy draws on all his resources to ensure his friend's well-being.

Already a leader in New York's underground world of homeless children, Buddy Clark takes on the responsibility of protecting the overweight, emotionally disturbed friend with whom he has been playing hooky from eighth grade all semester.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Junior Brown, a 300 pound eighth grader, plays the piano and has a vivid imagination. His best friend is Buddy Clark who has been homeless since the age of nine. They both hang out in the basement of their junior high school with a janitor, Mr. Pool. Neither has been to class for a semester, and yet they are able to slip in and out of school on a daily basis without anyone noticing. Right away the situation causes a massive suspension of disbelief. This middle grade novel originally published in 1971 shows its age. For instance, a middle-aged man hiding out with two twelve-year-olds in a school basement is cause for suspicion. Not only that, but the janitor does not seem concerned that both boys are missing out on an education. Instead he entertains them with an engine-powered solar system suspended from the ceiling, including a planet named after Junior Brown. Each of the characters in this book inhabits their own strange planets. Junior paints bizarre pictures and plays a piano which makes no sound; he also imagines he sees people who are not there. Buddy has been living on the streets for years and takes care of other homeless boys, housing them in an abandoned building. Mr. Poole who is supposed to be the boys' role model, is an ex-teacher who spends all his days with the boys thereby neglecting his work. Although Virginia Hamilton is a well-respected author and this book was a Newbery Honor, its characters, like the story, are unengaging and too weird to be likeable. 2006, Aladdin Paperbacks, Ages 8 to 12.
—Leslie Wolfson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689717215
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.13 (w) x 7.61 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Virginia Hamilton

Born into a large family and raised on a farm in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Ms. Hamilton grew up listening to stories shared by her mother and father. While studying writing at the New School for Social Research in New York City, she met a young poet, Arnold Adoff, and the two were married in March 1960. In 1968, Ms. Hamilton's first book, Zeely (S&S, 0-02-742470-7; Aladdin, 0-689-71695-8. Ages 10 up), edited by Richard Jackson, was published; and she and her family (which now included her daughter Leigh and her son Jaime) moved back to Yellow Springs, building their home on land that had been in Ms. Hamilton's family for generations. Ms. Hamilton's second book, The House Of Dies Drear (S&S, 0-02-742500-2; Aladdin, 0-02-043520-7. Ages 12 up), was published in 1968 and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best juvenile mystery. The success of these first two novels heralded a long and prolific career full of accolades and the most prestigious awards in children's literature.

Ms. Hamilton won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1992 and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award in 1995 for her body of work. Also in 1995, Ms.Hamilton received a John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Fellowship, presented to "talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits" and have demonstrated "exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work." She was the first African American to win the Newbery Medal, which was presented to her for M.C. Higgins, the Great (Aladdin, 0-02-043490-1; Aladdin, 0-689-71694-X; S&S, 0-689-83074-2. Ages 10 up). M.C. Higgins, the Great was also the first of only two books ever to win the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (Philomel/Penguin Putnam, 1982), The Planet Of Junior Brown (S&S, 0-02-742510-X; Aladdin, 0-689-71721-0; Aladdin, 0-02-043540-1), and In The Beginning: Creation Stories From Around The World (Harcourt, 1988) were all Newbery Honor books. Ms. Hamilton won the Coretta Scott King Award three times, and three times her books were selected as Coretta Scott King Award Honor books. Twice she won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction (for M.C. Higgins the Great and for Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush), while Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave (Knopf, 1988) won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. In 1996 the NAACP Image Award was presented to her for Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, And True Tales (Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, 1995). She was also a winner of the Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association, and in 1984 an annual children's literature lecture was established in her name at Kent State University.

Ms. Hamilton's writing career spanned more than thirty years, during which time she was awarded every major honor for children's book writing. To learn more about Ms. Hamilton and her books, please visit her Web site: http://www.virginiahamilton.com/

Biography

A writer of prodigious gifts, Virginia Hamilton forged a new kind of juvenile fiction by twining African-American and Native American history and folklore with contemporary stories and plotlines.

With Hamilton's first novel, Zeely, the story of a young farm girl who fantasizes that a woman she knows is a Watusi queen, she set the bar high. The book won a American Library Association Notable Children's Book citation. Hamilton rose to her own challenge, and every new book she published enriched American literature to such a degree that in 1995 she was awarded the ALA's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement.

Born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and raised in an extended family of farmers and storytellers (her own father was a musician), Hamilton's work was inspired by her childhood experiences, family mythology, and Ohio River Valley homeland. In an article about the importance of libraries in children's lives, she credits her mother and the "story lady" at her childhood public library with opening her mind to the world of books.

Although she spent time in New York City working as a bookkeeper after college, and traveled widely in Africa and Europe, Hamilton spent most of her life in Yellow Springs, anchored by the language, geography, and culture of southern Ohio. In The House of Dies Drear, she arranged her story around the secrets of the Underground Railroad. In M. C. Higgins, the Great, winner of both a John Newbery Medal and a National Book Award, she chronicled the struggles of a family whose land, and life spirit, is threatened by strip mining. Publishers Weekly called the novel "one of those rare books which draws the reader in with the first paragraph and keeps him or her turning the page until the end."

In her series of folk-tale collections, including The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales, In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World, and Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, Hamilton salvaged and burnished folk tales from cultures across the world for her stories; stories that suffused her fiction with its extraordinary blend of worldly and otherworldly events, enchantment, and modern reality. Virginia Hamilton died on February 19, 2002.

Good To Know

Hamilton's first research trip to a library was to find out more about her family's exotic chickens, which her mother called "rainbow layers," because of the many tints of the eggs they laid.

In 1995, Hamilton became the first children's writer to win a John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur "genius" grant.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      March 12, 1936
    2. Place of Birth:
      Yellow Springs, Ohio
    1. Date of Death:
      February 19, 2002
    2. Place of Death:
      Yellow Springs, Ohio
    1. Education:
      Attended Antioch College, Ohio State University, and the New School for Social Research
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2007

    A reversal of standards

    The characters in this book are described as people that everyone should wish to be unlike and who form a fantasy world that is interesting but leads nowhere. It's opposite because - the janitor, an ex-teacher, knows that the two boys should be in school and the boys know that they should be in school, but since they're only boys, they're only attracted to a 'planet' of their own. A bad senario that should be read, but understood in reverse.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    The Planet of Junior Brown

    Homeless in the city, Buddy Clark, a Junior High student has to show his new friends the way to live in the dangerous, busy world. Junior, a very wealthy and family-oriented boy becomes a very close friend with Buddy. They have to encounter the problems life throws their way and overcome fears they may have. This story will bring you through the dangers of the city and show that through it all, friends will always be there for each other. Mike Lupica¿s book for young adults, ¿Heat¿ uses the popular sport of baseball to attract the reader¿s attention. The story has a famous player as a character. Its point of view is that if someone sticks to his/her motive it will come true. This book is grade for both genders and has a great plot to attract male readers as well as get the attention of female readers to learn and have a feel for baseball. It has a slight love story to go along with a tragic lifestyle.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2006

    This stinks

    This book stinks there is no plot or story line.Also shouldnt Junior have diabetes? And what did the title mean by planet? the run down houses used as shelters or the model solar system

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    this book was ok

    it took me on a trip to bordsville at the begining.but at the middle it started to get alittle better.i dont see how this could realate to some thing that really happened.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2001

    THIS BOOK WAS HORRIBLE!!!

    I DID NOT CARE FOR THIS BOOK BECAUSE IT WAS SO UNREALISTIC!!! I HAD A HARD TIME READING THIS BOOK AND KEEP MY CONCENTRATION!!! ALTHOUGH IT IS JUST AN OPINION, I WOULD NOT RECOMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    I LOVED IT, COULDN'T HELP BUT CRY...

    THIS BOOK IS WONDERFUL!!! JUNIOR BROWN WAS SO TOUCHING.... HIS DIABETIC MOTHER AND OTHER PROBLEMS HE HAD AS A TEENAGER ARE VERY RELATABLE...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 1999

    Stories for people who live in the ghetto

    Virginia Hamilton The book the planet of Junior Brown is such a good book. The part where Buddy anJunior get caught for skipping school was such a good part it was described in so much detail that it felt like I was there. Over all I think The book was so far the best book I've ever read. Clarence Yang Grade 8 Wilson Junior High School Manitowoc Wisconsin.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews

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