In a Jar

Putnam. Jan. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525514596.
PreS-Gr 2–Marcero (My Heart Is a Compass) applies her considerable talents here to the art of collecting. Llewellyn is a young rabbit who saves treasures in jars that he places on shelves. At first, these items are fairly typical of young gatherers: leaves, shells, heart-shaped stones. It is when he arrives at the shore on a night “the sunset painted the sky the color of tart cherry syrup”—and when he meets Evelyn—that the collections become more interesting. He gives a jar with the “cherry light” to his new friend, and it “glowed through the night with the memory of that sunset.” Marcero’s pencil, watercolor, ink, and digital compositions display a marvelous sense of pattern within exquisite spreads. A scene with dozens of white birch trees is enlivened by hundreds of yellow and orange leaves, presented as single entities. As the seasons change, pink tulips in various shades dot a deep green field, moving closer together as they recede in the distance. Insets in a range of combinations and sequences focus on details and are sometimes shaped like jars; these show the progression of wondrous phenomena and experiences the duo share: snowball fights, firelight, ducklings, and thunderstorms. Then, Evelyn must move away. Throughout the narrative, sensitive pacing; understated but lovely language; and creative imagery combine to convey the deepening bond and the pair’s way of connecting when presented with physical distance.
VERDICT An enchanting examination of the pleasure reaped from cultivating imagination, friendship, and memory.

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