cover image Idea Jar

Idea Jar

Adam Lehrhaupt, illus. by Deb Pilutti. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-5166-6

An unseen student narrates Lehrhaupt’s celebration of storytelling creativity, pointing out the teacher’s Idea Jar. “We keep our story ideas in it,” the child explains—scraps of paper with words such as dragon, robot, pirate, and Viking written on them. “There’s no such thing as a bad story idea,” the student continues, and many ways to tell a tale: “You can write it. Draw it. Talk it.” At one point, a red-bearded Viking climbs out of the jar, offers pointers (“That ship should be way bigger”), and generally advocates for Vikings to be part of every story. After the mischievous Viking tips the jar over, a dragon, robot, and other creatures explode into the room, creating chaos that can only be resolved by a story that brings the ideas together. Pilutti’s goofy visual comedy—speech balloons with smart-alecky comments, ocean water flooding the classroom—provides laughs, and although Lehrhaupt doesn’t really explore or explain how ideas come together to create a story, it seems destined to help jump-start classroom writing assignments. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Feb.) [/em]