Rereading: JULIA’S MAGIC by Eleanor Cameron

Eleanor Cameron wrote many books I love, including five about Julia Redfern. I bought and read them as they were published in the 1970-80s, but oddly, they were written mostly in reverse chronological order, telling stories about Julia at younger and younger ages. I’ve decided to reread them in chronological order, and this is the first, when Julia is a young girl of about five years.

Julia lives with her parents and brother Greg in Oakland, California, across the bay from San Francisco, where her mother’s brother and his wife live in a fancy house they love to visit. Julia’s own house is more modest, and rented, but has a nice yard, and they all enjoy it. Julia is rather good at getting into trouble, and when she accidentally breaks her aunt’s perfume bottle, she keeps it a secret. Later, she finds out that Aunt Alex has accused their cook and maid, Hulda, of breaking the bottle, causing Hulda to leave, and that causes Uncle Hugh and Aunt Alex to fight and separate. Julia knows it’s all her fault, and she wants to set things right, but how?

Meanwhile, their landlady has sold their house, and they must move, but can’t find anything nearly as nice as where they live now. Everything comes to a head when Julia rides the trolley to find Hulda, but gets lost.

Beautifully written, wonderful characters, set around 1915, though the situations somewhat autobiographical and are timeless, and the illustrations by Gail Owens are charming. Recommended.

Julia’s Magic by Eleanor Cameron

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