Monday, May 7, 2007

The Stories Julian Tells By: Ann Cameron

Cameron, A. (1981). The Stories Julian Tells. Random House.

This chapter book is part of a type of series where the author Ann Cameron has written this first book about Julian, and has written a sequel entitled More Stories Julian Tells. Then, she has also written about Julian’s little brother in Stories Huey Tells, and then in its own sequel More Stories Huey Tells. Additional books have been written with Julian as the central character, such as Julian, Dream Doctor, and Julian, Secret Agent. In the last chapter of this Julian book, we are introduced to Gloria, who has her own collection of books that Cameron has her as a star in. In this first book about Julian, there are six chapters in which Julian gets into mischief, with his trusty younger brother Huey falling victim to his big brother’s convincing more than once.

I liked the styling of language that Cameron used to have Julian describe to the reader his father: “When he laughs, the sun laughs in the windowpanes. When he thinks, you can almost see his thoughts sitting on all the tables and chairs. When he is angry, me and my little brother, Huey, shiver to the bottom of our shoes.” (p. 2) Despite being a shorter, easy chapter book, Cameron still provides solid description that is concise but still paints a specific picture of visuals and actions, involving your senses while you watch the story play out in your imagination.

One bit of mischief the two of them get into in the book is that they dive into eating pudding that tasted like “a whole raft of lemons. It takes like a night on the sea.” Their father had made it for their mother for when she got home, but they couldn’t resist tasting uncontrollably while their father napped. Julian, as the older sibling, had instigated it all by egging on his brother to start. As a result, they got a “beating and a whipping.” However, what they mean is that they had to make a brand new batch under their father’s direction, beating eggs and whipping the mixer with a beater. They, of course, learn a valuable lesson – listen to what your parents say, and stay out of the dreamy lemon pudding!

It’s clear that throughout all of the stories, classic moments of older versus younger sibling and childhood blunders leading to lessons learned reign, giving the reader a laugh and many moments to make self-to-text connections to!

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