cover image Memory Jars

Memory Jars

Vera Brosgol. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-250-31487-1

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- oree Brosgol (Leave Me Alone!) pursues this comic conceit right to its sinister edge, moving from laughs into thought-provoking images: in one, Freda stands on a ladder and “took the stars while she was at it.” Freda’s experience of grief and yearning as she remembers her late grandfather, a blueberry jam fan, gives the story an additional layer of meaning. Spreads combine vibrant color and sure, polished lines while portraying a compassionate intergenerational relationship between two Black family members. With poignant force, Brosgol’s delicious fable conveys the lesson that some things must be savored in the moment. Includes a blueberry jam recipe. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agency: Hansen Literary. (May) [/em]