Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing

Julia Gillian is accomplished at many things including the art of papier mache mask making, spreading her gum across her top teeth, and knowing exactly what her dog Bigfoot is thinking. She is still trying to master the claw machine at her Minneapolis neighbourhood hardware store. She has been trying for 3 years to get the meerkat perched inside. Julia Gillian is also good at the Art of Knowing. For example, in the morning, she's knows exactly when her mother will butter her toast, and what plate she will put her toast on.

But this summer, her Art of Knowing is letting her in on the fact that things change. Her parents haven't been taking her for picnics, or really spending any time with her at all. They are busy taking double load grad school courses. And they keep sending her out for walks in the 9 block area she is allowed in her neighbourhood. That's not exactly fun. She still has her green book to finish and she is just certain that it is going to have a sad ending. She tries talking to her babysitter and neighbour Enzo about everything, but Enzo is a woman of few words. Thank goodness Julia Gillian can put on her raccoon mask when she needs a bit more courage to head out the door.

Alison McGhee has written a sweet "moment in time" story about Julia Gillian's summer. She is growing up, and fighting parts of it. Black and white illustrations by Drazen Kozjan perfectly compliment the story. Julia Gillian is a great read for fans of Ivy and Bean, Clementine, and those who have outgrown Amber Brown.

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