In a Jar

Image of In a Jar
Release Date: 
January 21, 2020
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Reviewed by: 

“A beautiful picture book about the importance of memories we create with friends that will be a favorite at read-aloud time.”

Llewelyn, a white rabbit with long ears, collects things, normal things such as flowers and stones, and keeps them in jars. When he meets Evelyn, “Llewellyn scooped cherry lights into his jars” and “gave one to Evelyn.”

The two become fast friends and start collecting together. They gather ordinary things such as rainbows or the wind just before the snow, “things you might not think would even fit in a jar. But somehow, they did.”

Stunning illustrations support the imaginative text brilliantly. Readers will admire the beautiful picture of a meteor shower and an inspiring sky “the color of tart cherry syrup,” but they can also study details in several small vignettes that depict the small moments the two friends share and memorialize by placing them in their jars.

While these memories may seem unspectacular on the surface, they hold magic for these friends who experience them together. It is the sharing that makes an experience magical and creates a unique, bonding experience between friends.

A double spread shows the two main characters lying on the floor in Llewellyn’s house, drawing a picture together. The walls behind them are filled with shelves full of jars, each holding one of their memories. What a beautiful image to illustrate the bond of friendship and to invite readers to contemplate the value of memories friends create together.

Yet, more literal-minded readers might ask, “How can you catch all these moments in a jar? Can you really catch the sound of wind before the snow in a jar? Do these memories really stay in there?” These doubts, in turn, might provide an opportunity for adults to introduce metaphor and encourage a deeper discussion of the story’s meaning.

When Evelyn moves away and Llewellyn is left behind, sad, missing his friend. But then he realizes that he can send her his experiences in a jar, keeping their chain of friendship intact, even over a distance. She answers by collecting “the sounds, the crowds, and the bright night lights of her new home.”

The ending comes a bit abruptly on the last page. Llewellyn, while collecting autumn leaves for Evelyn, meets a boy. The last sentence, “Luckily, Llewellyn had brought an extra jar,”

indicates that Llewellyn will continue his memory catching practice with a new friend,

reminding us that we can make new friends and continue to share our lives with old friends, even if they live far away.

A beautiful picture book about the importance of memories we create with friends that will be a favorite at read-aloud time.