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MEMORY JARS by Vera Brosgol


by Vera Brosgol ; illustrated by Vera Brosgol

Pub Date: May 11th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-250-31487-1
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

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)