Julia Gillian is quite accomplished for a nine year old. Thus far she's mastered the art of making papier-mâché masks, spreading her gum evenly across her teeth, and knowing exactly what her dog Bigfoot is saying even though he doesn't speak "human." Though she hasn't yet conquered the claw machine at Bryant Hardware by grabbing the stuffed meerkat, Julia keeps her skills sharp by every Friday and Sunday afternoons during her walks around the neighborhood with Bigfoot.
By far and away though, Julia Gillian's greatest skill is the art of knowing. For instance: she knows what her mother's making for breakfast before entering the kitchen, she knows the news paper is full of nothing but bad news, and thirty-six pages into her new green book from Quinn Booksellers, she *knows* the story isn't going to end well.
Set in Minneapolis, JANA GILLIAN (AND THE ART OF KNOWING) is a down-to-earth story featuring a precocious young girl's struggle figuring out how to deal with the unsettling realities life (sometimes) presents. A few people might object to Julia's lack of summertime playmates, especially living in a large city; having grown up only child though, I can attest to the challenges of ferreting out peers. Alison McGhee gives children an intelligent and determined central character dealing with relatable problems in an honest, straightforward narrative. I'm definitely setting this one aside to pass on to my nieces.
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