When Lightning Comes in a Jar

When Lightning Comes in a Jar

by Patricia Polacco

Trisha and her cousins can hardly wait to see one another again.

But this year, Gramma has a new surprise in store: She promises to teach the grandchildren to catch lightning in a jar.

Trisha can't wait to find out what she means.

It's a secret she will pass down to her own grandchildren one day, along with the family stories handed down with love through all the generations.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Childrens
  • Rating: 4.14
  • Pages: 48
  • Publish Date: June 3rd 2002 by Philomel Books
  • Isbn10: 0399231641
  • Isbn13: 9780399231643

What People Think about "When Lightning Comes in a Jar"

After reminiscing, the story fast forwards forty-one years when Polacco is now an adult and hosting the family reunion at her house. You could also use this book in an author study on Patricia Polacco or a Social Studies thematic unit on families.

The close family relationships are much of the strength of this book, and of so many of this authors books, as are the as always wonderful illustrations.

When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco, tells the story of the relationship between a little girl and her grandmother, and their growing bond during a family reunion. To further build up the little girl's excitement about the family reunion, the grandmother proclaims And we might catch lightning in a jar. After a great amount of anticipation, her grandmother reveals her magic and calls upon the fireflies, lightning in a jar. Her entire family is at another family reunion, and she tells everyone all about her grandmother and the magical experience of lightning in a jar. The book offers great geographical vocabulary and phrases that help expand the students figurative language, which enriches the story and will help build the students' concepts of diversity.

Trisha's grandmother also has a special treat for the youngsters, closing out the evening with a hunt for lightning bug--that's what we call them in the South although she calls them fireflies--and the perfect ending to a wonderful day spent with family. There's something magical about the way Polacco tells this story and how her own grandmother got the children involved in chasing after those lightning bugs, and the book reminds readers that some things are worth passing down.

Before you read this book aloud to your students have them predict what this book will be about based on the title. If you are reading this book aloud to your class then I would highly suggest doing an activity on their own family traditions. Students can present their jars to the class as we guess what their families favorite tradition is based on the object they brought in the jar.

It reminded me of when I have family reunions and I look forward to seeing everyone in my extended family and playing games and sharing stories. An instructor may ask the class, "What do you think lightning in a jar means?" -The narrative structure allows the reader to see how a day may progress at a family reunion and emphasize the enjoyment that comes with family traditions.

Still, it was an entertaining book to read aloud and certainly encourages family get-togethers and establishing traditions.

Her aunts and her grandma also tell stories about their childhoods, and the little girl loves to hear these stories. The grandma also introduces the little girl to lightning in a jar, and her and all of her cousins spend time capturing fireflies, or the lightning in a jar.

I am not certain my children would have enjoyed the story as much as I did, since they have not had the opportunity to experience family reunions as described in the story.

After reading the book and looking at the pictures, I enjoyed how accurate the illustrator portrayed a family reunion.