Reviews

Juna’s Jar

Juna and her best friend, Hector, have many adventures together, and they love to collect things in empty kimchi jars. Then one day, Hector unexpectedly moves away without having a chance to say good-bye. Juna is heartbroken and left to wonder who will on go on adventures with her. Determined to find Hector, Juna turns to her special kimchi jar for help each night. She plunges into the depths of the ocean, swings on vines through the jungle, and flies through the night sky in search of her friend. What Juna finds is that adventure-and new friends-can be found in the most unexpected places.Coupled with dreamy watercolor illustrations by Felicia Hoshino, Juna’s Jar is a heartwarming and whimsical tale about the power of the imagination.

Praise for Juna’s Jar 

Juna’s Jar Review
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.

Juna’s Jar Review
By Publishers Weekly

A girl named Juna gets significant mileage—in more ways than one—out of an empty jar of kimchi in Bahk’s debut, which won the publisher’s New Voices Award. Juna is distraught after her friend Hector moves away suddenly; to cheer her up, her brother gets her a small fish, which she keeps in her jar. At night, “when everyone else was asleep,” Juna joins the fish on an imaginary underwater journey, and in the morning, “Juna’s fish had grown so big its mouth nearly touched its tail.” This surprising development sets the state for subsequent “was it really just a dream?” adventures, which eventually let Juna make peace with Hector’s absence. Hoshino (Sora and the Cloud) contributes warm watercolors, dominated by pale yellows and greens, that bring Juna’s nighttime sojourns to full life—in the final one, she dons aviator goggles and flies over a bustling city on the back of a cricket. Despite the elements of magical realism interwoven with the plot, Bahk never loses sight of the very real emotions that drive her pensive, curious, and openhearted heroine.

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