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When Lightning Comes in a Jar [Hardcover]

By Patricia Polacco (Author) & Patricia Polacco (Illustrator)
Our Price $ 11.89  
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Item Number 157775  
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Item description for When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco...

Trisha is extra anxious to get to this year's family reunion as Gramma has promised to show all her grandchildren the secret to catching lightning in a jar, in an amusing picture book by the author of Chicken Sunday.

Publishers Description
It's family reunion time Trisha and her cousins can hardly wait to see one another again. They can't decide what they like best: the great feast (with zillions of meatloafs and gazillions of Jell-O salads), the softball game, the storytelling . . . the yearly rituals go on and on. But this year, Gramma has a new surprise in store: She promises to teach the grandchildren to catch lightning in a jar. 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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 1114
  • Kirkus Review - Children - 05/01/2002 page 665
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/13/2002 page 70
  • School Library Journal - 06/01/2002 page 108
  • Bookpage - 07/01/2002 page 28
  • Booksense '76 Childrens Fall02 - 08/01/2002 page 1
  • Booklist - 08/01/2002 page 1975
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 01/01/2002 page 342
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2003 page 66
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 07/01/2002 page 342
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 745

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Philomel
Pages   40
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 11.3" Width: 8.92" Height: 0.44"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2003
Publisher   Philomel
Age  4-8
ISBN  0399231641  
ISBN13  9780399231643  
UPC  048228016991  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 10:09.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco Patricia Polacco belongs to a family of storytellers, poets, farmers, teachers, and artists. They came from many parts of the world, but mainly Russia. She grew up to be an illustrator, a designer, and creator of many beloved children's books, including "The Keeping Quilt", "The Blessing Cup", Fiona's Lace", "The Trees of the Dancing Goats", "Babushka's Doll", and "My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother". She lives in Union City, Michigan.

I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived, in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City , Michigan.

I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother ) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks.My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our front yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.


In 1949 we left the farm to move , first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California . I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin.When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course , now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and LISTEN...LISTEN...LISTEN.

Patricia Polacco currently resides in Union City, in the state of Michigan.

Patricia Polacco has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Aladdin Picture Books
  2. Dell Picture Yearling
  3. Mother Goose
  4. Paula Wiseman Books
  5. Picture Puffin Books

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > Substores > jp-unknown1
2Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12 > General
3Books > Subjects > Children > Authors & Illustrators, A-Z > ( P ) > Polacco, Patricia
4Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > General
5Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Family Life > Multigenerational > Fiction
6Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 9-12
7Books > Subjects > Children > Issues
8Books > Subjects > Children > Literature

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Reviews - What do customers think about When Lightning Comes in a Jar?

When Lightning Comes in a Jar  Oct 12, 2006
This book is a very good book that I have read in my class. This book is by a very good writer named Patricia Polacco. This book is fiction. The main characters are Trisha,Lydia, Sandy, and Trisha's dads side of the family.

In the beginning of the story Trisha's family is coming for a family reunion. At the party Trisha meets Lydia and Sandy and they eat gazillions of Jell-os and Meatloafs, that are each a differnt kind that represents each of the Aunts cooking. Then after they eat they have their Annual Basball game, croquet, bag races, Watermelon- seed -spitting contests, and rides on grandpa's horse. They also see how tall everybody is. Next the Aunts tell stories about old time photos. they also get a family photo. Then when night falls grandma tells a poem about lightning bugs and the kids catch fireflies. Then everbody waits till next year to see everybody again.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes family reunions and some fiction and Non-fiction. I liked this book because it has a lots of things happening and some of it is Non-fiction and fiction mixed togther.
Grandmother creates memories for her grandchildren  Mar 22, 2003
The theme of this moving story can be summed up in the last two paragraphs. "I'll send them home with full bellies, tired bones and flickering jars in their laps. Their hearts will be overflowing. Full of lightning, put there by folks who loved them even before they were born. Gramma knew this well.
She also knew that someday they would tell their children about all of us, and of the magic nights when we caught lightning in a jar."
Inspired by another of Polacco's real life memories, she writes about a family reunion, after a forty-one-year gap. Her grandmother organizes all the children, teaching them how to catch fireflies. The children put these fireflies in a jar and then there is magic! Childhood memories are the ones that sustain us through our adult life. And often, we will pass these memories on to our own children and grandchildren. This is a precious book that will leave all readers with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Family Traditions and Heartfelt Memories.....  Jul 25, 2002
"Today is the family reunion! I can hardly wait. My dad's side of the family will come soon. It's been ages since I've seen them all..." And as Trisha anxiously awaits the arrival of all her relatives, she remembers the last family reunion at Gramma's house, so many years ago. First all the wonderful food, including about a zillion meatloafs, each made by an auntie from a different recipe, and a gazillion different Jello salads shaking and shimmering on the table. Then there were the games, baseball, croquet, potato sack races, and watermelon spitting contests. Next, all the kids were carefully measured on the side of the milk shed, and Trisha remembers looking at the marks of her gramma and aunties when they were just girls. And last, out came the old photo albums and stories of walking seven miles to school and seeing "the first-ever flying machine in the state of Michigan." And as the day ended and night fell, "small bursts of starlight puffed up out of the grass", and all the children ran to catch lighning in a jar..... Inspired by her own childhood memories, and "the real-life experience of hosting a large reunion after a forty-one year gap between family gatherings", Patricia Polacco's evocative, heartfelt text is full of imagery and magic as she draws the reader into her large and boisterous family for an enchanting day of fun. But it's her expressive artwork that really brings the story to life, and each two-page, water-color and pencil spread is filled with nostalgic, joyous detail. Perfect for youngsters 4-8, When Lightning Comes In A Jar makes a marvelous read aloud the entire family can share and enjoy together, and is a treasured slice of history told with great insight, wisdom, humor, and love. "I'll send them home with full bellies, tired bones and flickering jars in their laps. Their hearts will be overflowing. Full of lighning, put there by folks who loved them even before they were born. Gramma knew this well. She also knew that someday they would tell their children about all of us, and of the magic nights when we caught lightning in a jar."

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