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The Stories Julian Tells

for ages 5 to 9

book cover for "The stories Julian tells"This book of five stories began the ten-book series about Julian Bates, his little brother Huey, and his best friend Gloria.

The first story tells of a very special pudding that Julian's and Huey's father made for their mother. The father promises, "It will taste like a whole raft of lemons, it will taste like a night on the sea." But when it's ready, the boys mustn't eat it, he warns--they must wait till their mother comes home. Then dad goes to take a nap, and the boys guard the pudding from harm.

But the pudding looks so good that they just can't wait--and a little taste turns to a little bigger taste and another, until the pudding is decimated, and the scared boys run to hide under the bed. How their father teaches the boys a lesson--the lesson that mistakes can be repaired--has made this a favorite of children the world over.

Other stories in the book are about catalog cats--cats that, Julian claims, jump out of seed catalogs; a fig tree Julian steals leaves from in the hope of growing strong, a baby tooth that won't fall out, and Julian's happiness in making a new friend--only a little embarrassed that she's a girl.

I always thought of Julian as Everychild, having experiences that belong to children the world over. Julian, his brother Huey, and his friend Gloria are African-American children, but the text never says so. This book has a richness of language that children love, and its black-and-white drawings--by the artist Ann Strugnell--are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen in a children's book.

The recipe for a Pudding The recipe for A Pudding Like a Night on the Sea is reached by a click here.

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