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Book Review

The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is part of a series of "Stepping Stones" books about Julian, his brother, Huey, and his best friend, Gloria.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Julian is a young boy with a big imagination. His little brother, Huey, looks up to him. This short, easy-to-read chapter book chronicles several incidents in Julian’s life.

In the first chapter, Dad decides to surprise Mom by making her lemon pudding. He spends a great deal of time mixing everything together. He tells the boys to stay out of the pudding, but the temptation is too great for them.

When Mom returns home, and Dad discovers what the kids have done, he vows there will be some whipping and beating. The frightened boys, who were hiding under the bed, follow Dad to the kitchen. There, he makes them whip and beat egg whites and yokes for another batch of pudding.

Dad tells the boys they’re going to plant a garden, and he orders a seed catalog. Huey asks Julian what a catalog is, and Julian says it’s a book from which you order cats. He says these cats help plant the seeds and make the garden grow.

Huey is excited for two weeks, until the catalog arrives and doesn’t contain cats. Dad carries on Julian’s story, telling Huey these garden cats are invisible. He urges Huey to write a note requesting some garden cats from the company.

The boys get their seeds and grow tall corn and flowers. Julian recalls getting a fig tree from Dad on his fourth birthday. He noticed the tree kept growing even though he didn’t seem to be getting any taller himself.

He started secretly removing the fig leaves and eating them, believing they were helping the tree grow. Dad was concerned about the fig tree’s health, since it had never produced any fruit. Julian finally stopped taking the leaves off, and figs started to grow.

Julian’s parents try to help him deal with a loose tooth, since the new tooth is coming in behind it. His mother convinces him that boys in the caveman era would have loved to have two teeth in one spot. Julian gets an idea, and he charges his classmates to see his cave-boy teeth. His endeavor is short-lived, because he bites into something, and the tooth falls out.

The book ends with Julian meeting a new neighbor girl about his age. Gloria doesn’t laugh at him when he can’t do cartwheels, and she shows him how to make a wishing kite. They tie their wishes to the string until the wishes blow away into the air. Both wished they could be friends forever.

Christian Beliefs

Julian stops taking fig leaves from his fig tree. He tells God he knows the leaves belong to the tree.

Other Belief Systems

There is a wishing kite.

Authority Roles

Julian’s parents are present and attentive. Dad teaches the boys to make pudding and plant a garden. When Julian tells his brother a story about cats coming from catalogs, Dad adds to the story with his own imaginative twists. Rather than punishing the boys for eating Mom’s pudding, he teaches them to make more.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

6 to 9


Ann Cameron






Record Label



Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc.


On Video

Year Published



Irma Simonton Black Award, 1982


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