Memory Jars
Memory Jars

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Annotation: Memory Jars is another unique, funny, and heartfelt story from Caldecott Honoree Vera Brosgol, about a young girl who wants to keep her favorite things--and people--close to her forever.
Catalog Number: #305826
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-31487-9 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0569-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-31487-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0569-6
Dewey: E
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl learns that she can store all sorts of things in jars—but should she?It’s summer, and Freda and her gran, who are both Black, are out picking blueberries. There and on the journey home, Freda stuffs herself silly with blueberries but wails, “I can’t do it! I can’t eat them all!” Gran tells her not to worry because they’ll make blueberry jam—a favorite of Freda’s deceased grandpa—so they can enjoy blueberries, even in the winter. If blueberries can be kept for later enjoyment in jars, Freda wonders, what else can be saved? Freda starts small (with a warm cookie) and soon graduates to bigger things (her friend Jack, who’s moving to Arizona) and on to items significantly larger than that (the moon) and even the nonphysical (music). After Freda puts Gran in a jar (with consent!) she finally begins to see that it may be better to enjoy some things in the moment. Maybe. Brosgol’s accomplished line-and-color art is bright and engaging, and it neatly pairs with the text, giving the illustrations space to tell the story not expressed in words. In close-ups, however, Freda’s drawn with wide eyes and prominent reddish lips, a depiction that’s uncomfortably reminiscent of caricature. (This book was reviewed digitally.)A charming concept undermined by unfortunate visuals. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)
Publishers Weekly
Young Freda lives with her sensible Gran, who reassures her when Freda can-t finish eating the perfectly ripe blueberries they pick: -Calm down, French Fry,- Gran says. -We can put them in a jar and save them.- Sure enough, when they-re made into jam and preserved in glass, they-re just as luscious. Wondering if other ephemeral things can be similarly captured, Freda tries placing a freshly baked cookie in a jar, then an unmelted ice pop, before branching out to more consequential fare. Caldecott Hon-
School Library Journal Starred Review
K-Gr 3 A sweet story of a child's attempts to capture all of her favorite memories in one place. Freda is a young girl who likes spending time with her gran, and among the activities they enjoy together is picking berries. When Freda realizes she can't eat all of the berries they pick in one day, her gran shows her how to make jam to save the fruit. This is something Freda remembers her grandfather enjoying and she gets the idea to preserve other things in the same way, starting with a warm chocolate chip cookie. When it works, she moves on to storing her other favorite things, including her best friend Jack, whose family is about to move away, the full moon, and a unicorn-shaped cloud. She eventually realizes that by storing these things away, she isn't getting to experience or enjoy them. Brosgol ( Leave Me Alone! ) uses gouache illustrations to bring Freda's world to life. Freda and her grandmother are Black, while Jack is white. The illustrations are bright and colorful at the beginning of the story but get darker and gloomy as Freda fills her jars. Text and pictures work together to convey Freda's feelings of excitement, happiness, and eventual worry. VERDICT Readers will delight in Freda's journey to keep her memories safe, as well as her subsequent understanding of what she has done, in a book that would be at home in all collections. Sara Thomas, New Castle P.L., DE
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Freda loves the blueberries she collects with Gran every summer, so much so that she wants to eat them all before they're gone! Clever Gran, though, knows better: they make blueberry jam (recipe in the back matter!) so they can enjoy the fruit even in the winter. Brosgol (Leave Me Alone! 2016) begins her latest with a fairly quotidian cooking project, but she soon spins the task of canning to fantastical proportions. Inspired by her gran's ability to preserve something she adores, Freda sets out to put everything she loves in jars: a fresh-baked cookie, a Popsicle, a unicorn-shaped cloud, her best friend before he moves away, the moon, and evitably an. Brosgol's cartoonish illustrations become dusky and quiet once Freda is done with her task and stacks of jars fill her house. It's an unsettling image that poignantly communicates the implications of wanting to save everything instead of experiencing it, even if that experience is fleeting. A taste of blueberry jam makes her realize her mistake, in a sunny two-page spread of Freda's blissful face, surrounded by images of happy summer memories. Brosgol's artwork does a lot of heavy lifting, making fantastic use of color and white space, while subtle details in the artwork clearly communicate Freda's change of heart. This playful, off-kilter story will resonate with any kid frustrated by a good thing being over too soon.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (3/1/21)
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly (12/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

A young girl finds a clever way to keep her favorite things--and people--close to her forever in Memory Jars , from Caldecott Honoree Vera Brosgol. Freda is devastated when she can't eat all the delicious blueberries she's picked. She has to wait a whole year before they're back, and she doesn't want to lose them! Then Gran reminds her that they can save blueberries in a jar, as jam. So Freda begins to save all her favorite things. But it turns out that saving everything also means she can't enjoy anything, and Freda realizes that some things are best saved as memories. Reviews "Upset that she can't eat every bucketful of blueberries she picked with her gran all in the same afternoon ("they were the best right then and they'd never be any better"), a lovably quirky girl takes "preserving" to a whole new level. Add Brosgol's signature big-eyed characters, a touch of dark humor and a mouthwatering jam recipe, and you've got all the ingredients for a sequel." - The New York Times

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