Children’s Fiction of 2008: Julia Gillian and the Art of Knowing by Alison McGhee

Julia Gillian has an unusual name, a loyal, healthy St. Bernard named Bigfoot, and a list of accomplishments that extends to the front and back of a piece of lined notebook paper. She’s the only child of two teacher parents, and I can only speculate that tendency toward prissiness and precocity stems from her family situation. I found it difficult to enjoy Julia Gillian at first, but by the end of the book I was used to her precise and somewhat prim voice. I was rooting for her to overcome her fears and get used to the things she cannot change about her essentially happy and secure life.

Julia Gillian is certainly not a madcap romp or a mysterious adventure, but it might suit the more sedate among the early elementary set. The story takes place over the course of a summer, and Julia Gillian matures and learns to venture into unknown territory and adds to her list of accomplishments. What more can one ask of a hot Minneapolis summer?

Book bloggers and Julia Gillian and author Alison McGhee:

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading: “Julia Gillian is a spunky as Clementine, with as unique a world view, but she’s a little older and a little more serious. I’ll be waiting just as anxiously for the next book in the series.”

Little Willow interviews Alison McGhee.

Alison McGhee’s website.

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