top of page

The Picture Book Buzz

Star in the Jar - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I took a break for the later part of December, to spend time with my family and friends. But I can't stay away from books. Either ones that I have stacked around the house to read for reviews or the Cybils, or adult ones just my own pleasure or escape.

Nor can I seem to stay out of bookstores. When my family "loses" me in Barnes & Noble, they always start looking in the kids section. During a gift hunting spree, I stumbled across this precious debut picture book and wanted to be sure it got the recognition and book love it deserves.

So, for my first #PPBF post of 2019, I am going feature one final 2018 book.

Star in the Jar

Author: Sam Hay

Illustrator: Sarah Massini

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (2018)

Ages: 3-6



Friendship, siblings, wonder, and letting go.


When a little boy stumbles across a lost star, he decides to take care of it, putting it in a jar and carrying it with him everywhere. But when the sky calls out for its missing star, can the little boy and his sister figure out a way to return the star to its friends in the sky...even if it means saying goodbye forever?

This warm-hearted and enchanting bedtime story celebrates the rewards of true friendship.

Opening Lines:

My little brother likes looking for treasure.

Tickly treasure . . .

Glittery treasure . .

even trash-can treasure!

But one day he found something extra special.

So special I thought it must belong to someone else.

Why I like this book:

This story has the perfect pairing of succinct, child-like, first person narrative and imaginative, wonderful illustrations. Those beautiful opening lines left so much room for the Sarah Massini.

Text © Sam Hay, 2018. Image © Sarah Massini, 2018.

The illustrations show us her brother's discovery of a feather (tickly), gold coin (glittery), and the star (extra special). They also portray the loving, gentle, supportive relationship between the siblings.

After the children show the star to everyone they can think of - a school friend, lunch lady, sheriff, fairies, and wizards - and no one claims it, the little brother tenderly places the star in a jar and takes it everywhere.

But like bugs, a star doesn't belong in a jar and it begins to slump. That evening, the boy notices a message in the sky. (Oh, I love this illustration!)

Text © Sam Hay, 2018. Image © Sarah Massini, 2018.

Determined to help the star return to the sky, the siblings try using trees, kites, and trampolines, but nothing works. Until his sister has a bright idea; a way to send a message back. You have to check out the lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations of the answer to their message and the ultimate solution.

Text © Sam Hay, 2018. Image © Sarah Massini, 2018.

The poignant loss of a treasure is ameliorated when the boy discovers that instead of "losing" a treasure, he's made a life-long friend. This is a sweet story full of wonder, love, creativity, empathy, friendship, and learning to let go.


- write or draw a picture about your favorite treasure;

- what would you do if a special shell (a treasure) you found on a beach happened to have a live snail or little crab still living inside it? or

- fill a jar with your favorite constellation (

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

Follow Me

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • 1473394675_goodreads
  • Pinterest



bottom of page