This realistic book by Alison McGhee is published by Scholastic Press and written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Nine-year-old Julia Gillian's best friend is Bigfoot, her Saint Bernard. The two often go for walks around her neighborhood while Julia's parents study for their summer classes. Julia likes to keep a list of her accomplishments, but she hasn't been able to finish reading a book about a boy and his aging dog because she is afraid it will have an unhappy ending. Enzo, Julia's neighbor and baby-sitter, helps her conquer her fear, and Julia finishes the book.
Julia's parents are not always attentive because they are preoccupied with their schoolwork, and Julia is allowed to explore their nine-square-block neighborhood on her own. When Julia's mother and father realize Julia is feeling overlooked, they apologize for their actions and make plans to spend more time with her. Enzo is a perceptive, as well as consistent, figure in Julia's life, and she provides Julia with practical advice when Julia needs help.
Julia's family dines at a Vietnamese restaurant that has an altar with a Buddha figurine on it.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
The illustrations of Julia's masks include a ghost and a vampire.
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