When Lightening Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco

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Hello everyone! I hope everyone has been good. I have a few reviews to get on here and I’m going to try to catch up right now. This last week has just been insanely busy for me.

I believe I told you about Patricia Polacco before but one note worthy fact about this author and illustrator is that she frequently bases her story lines off of personal life events. This one is based on a family reunion tradition.

Polacco, Patricia. When Lightening Comes in a Jar. Illustrated by author. New York, Puffin Books, c2002.


The story tells the story of a young girl who tells the events occurring at her grandmothers house for a family reunion. She tells about all the traditions, food and new traditions. They then go on to tell about this little girl in the future in her grandmothers position so many years ago. This story is a bit longer than other Polacco books I’ve read. She goes into incredibly deep details in this story though. She tells stories told to her and her cousins by way of her grandmother and aunts. She tells details about the expected food that would be there, as well as specifics about one of the aunts meatloaf’s. She also includes commentary. We’re also told about a new tradition that her grandmother shows them, and then later at the end she does the same thing with her young family. The illustrations are uniquely Patricia Polacco’s. She uses lines to outline everything and for shading. She uses the same charcoal lines for the deep wrinkle lines on the older peoples faces and to outline the hair strands, no matter the hair colors. The color palette is realistic and color usage is believable. Polacco has this method with drawing faces, where the faces closer to the front you are able to make out facial features, where as the further they are back, the more blurred she makes the faces. She has a way with dimension and is able to give us lots of dimension and not just a flat picture. I really do love her books and illustrations. I feel as though they always give us a secret message. This one I feel as though we are told to listen to our older family members so that we are able to pass down to our children. If ya’ll have a chance, go to the library and check out some of her other books including this one! She is wonderful!


xoxo, Jade


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