Read our review about this New Children’s Picture book Storm in a Jar, a moving story about anger, loss and love taking young readers on a journey of understanding. Find out if we think this should be the next new addition to your child’s book collection.
We were recently sent a preview copy of Storm in a Jar children’s book in return for us sharing our honest thoughts with you, so read on to see what the kids thought and if all the parents agreed.
Storm in the Jar tells the story of a little boy Arlo who visits his Nana every Sunday and how each week she would treat him to some sweets from inside her special jar.
Then when Arlo finds out that his Nana has passed away he decides to keep the jar he once loved looking forward to seeing every week as it made him feel closer to his Nana.
The sadness inside Arlo, that he is feeling about his Nana no longer being here, slowly shifts to emotions of anger, creating a storm inside the jar. His emotions become stronger and stronger and the storm gets angrier until Arlo cant take it anymore and dreams of smashing it open.
This release of the storm from the jar takes Arlo on a journey of understanding how keeping things bottled up inside always find a way of coming out in the end, which sees Arlo starting a new tradition every Sunday with a Jar.
Storm in the Jar children’s picture book is illustrated by Katie Cottle, originally from Swansea now Bristol based Katie uses both traditional and digital techniques to bring stories to life and making them relatable to young readers.
Having studied illustration at UWE in Bristol and graduating in 2017 Katie has illustrated other popular books such as The Blue Giant and Omar, the Bees and me, before the release of this Strom in a Jar.
The artwork in this book is very powerful visually, helping to tell the story and clearly used to divide the darker side of the story at the frontend of the book to the brighter more positive pages at the end of the book.
The kids thought that the pictures were nice and detailed and even the youngest ones noticed that Arlo seemed to be wearing a hearing aid in his ear and we just loved the fact that the illustrations intrigued them enough to study and enjoy them.
Some of the pages the kids specifically talked about was when all the different emotions were building up in the waves inside the jar and how this image of what was inside the jar were projected across all the pages. They also really loved the cute little turtle!
Also, the image where Arlo goes to smash the jar as they really thought that his anger was well conveyed in his face.
The kids also liked the image when the waters became calm and Arlo gained the understanding that wherever his Nana was heading, she was safe and happy and the kids thought it was a pretty way to tell this part of the story with the flowers and silhouette so you never had to see the Nana’s face.
And finally, they liked the end image, noticing that the pictures at the end of the book are brighter in colour than the images at the front of the book they loved how Arlo managed to find another brilliant way to use Nana’s jar and they loved the fact that he didn’t actually smash it and that he has managed to keep something to remind him of his Nana, plus too little Turtle made an appearance again lol..
Storm in a Jar is written by Samuel Langley-Swain who is the founder of Owlet Press and adoptive Dad from a two-dad family, and this book was inspired by his own children’s experiences when his son used the “Storm in a Jar” metaphor as a way to describe how his anger and frustration was building up inside him.
Sam's world changed in 2014 when he became a Dad. It had never crossed his mind to write books before, however as a new dad, he was dramatically inspired by his children and the new universe he’d entered into and after taking his books around schools and family events, it became important to him to be able to create positive change for children through stories.
Sam’s books are all inspired by the challenge’s children face and he cleverly takes these big issues and delivers them in his books in a way that small readers can digest and discuss these issues with friends and families.
Sam has personally found his writing journey a truly life changing experience and wishes that his stories can bring joy and strength to the children who need it most.
We read this book with a lot of children to see what they thought of it and every child instantly understood that it was about feelings and dealing with emotions.
Some kids did find it a very sad story and weren’t sure that they would like to read it again, but from a parent’s point of view, whilst we could see why for some kids this Storm in the Jar Book might not be their new favourite read, we can’t help but feel that it would for sure make a fantastic addition to your little ones book collection and we would highly recommend it to families to read and just keep coming back to if and when its needed.
This empowering little picture book proved to be an excellent conversation starter for discussing the realities of loss, grief and fish out what’s whirling around in your child’s mind in relation to loosing someone in their life, be it sad, happy or confusing, its a really useful resource that’s on a child’s level.
If you want to check this book out, then you can get your very own copy of Storm in a Jar at WHSmith.