Juna's Jar

By School Library Journal

Charming soft watercolor illustrations and a sweet story that tugs at the imagination provide a flight of fancy that youngsters will enjoy hearing again and again. Little Juna and her friend Hector share adventures in the park across the street from their apartment building in Koreatown. Interesting critters and other items go into Juna’s empty kimchi jar to be studied, then released. When Hector moves away, Juna’s older brother, Minho, observing her sadness, buys her a small fish, gives her a small bean plant grown at school, then helps her find twigs and leaves in the park to provide a habitat for a cricket. Each night, the kimchi jar takes Juna on a fabulous journey. The goldfish takes her on an undersea adventure, growing so large that it must be transferred to the family aquarium. The bean plant transports her to a tropical rainforest, then is moved to a large pot on the balcony; the cricket carries Juna over city buildings to the window of Hector’s bedroom, where his stone-filled kimchi jar sits on a windowsill near his bed. Seeing Hector safe and happy allows Juna to move on and make a new friend at the park. Hoshino’s delightful detail-filled paintings of Juna’s nighttime adventures show smiling sea creatures, sloths, monkeys and crocodiles, and a city alive with activity, illuminated by vehicle headlights “that lit up the hill like a string of holiday lights.” Use this title in preschool storytimes or in the classroom to stimulate leaps of imagination.