Elspeth Lorraine

Book Reviews

August 18, 2023

"One More Jar of Jam” By Michelle Sumovich Illustrated by Gracey Zhang

Do you ever read a book and think, why didn’t I write that? One More Jar of Jam is that book for me. This summer I discovered the bounty and glory of the Mulberry Tree. I don’t know if I’m changing and discovering the beauty of nature and simpler experiences, or the Mulberry Tree in my backyard sprang up just this year. Either way I never noticed it. But this summer I was wandering my yard and trying to stave off an anxiety attack when I saw her. Bursting with dark, juicy richness and begging me to taste. I had never eaten a mulberry in my life! And now I was presented with my own tree? Bliss. Every morning I went out and ate her berries, starting my day with the birds sharing in the feast. I collected her berries and made natural paint, creating a mulberry tree piece I can enjoy all year. See my DOODLES page to take a look.

A mulberry tree is a gift. A gift Michelle and Gracey know well as they blended this story together with heart and happy feelings. This story could be looked at two ways, a story of a girl’s lifelong relationship with her mulberry tree, or a cyclical story about, love, loss, rebirth, and all the feelings in between. A girl climbs her mulberry tree in her backyard and collects sweet berries to bring inside so she and her father can make sweet jam. A jar goes to a neighbor, a friend, into her belly. Her summer revolves around the tree, all her outdoor playtime with it. But when a storm comes and knocks her beloved tree over, will she experience that happiness again?

Bits and Pieces: The artwork was created traditionally using ink, watercolor, and gouache paints on paper. I’m a big fan of Gracey’s and I found this book through following her work. There’s no question one of the reasons I love this artwork is it has my favorite colors. Green, white and purple. 

Not Sure About: I already said! I’m not sure why I didn’t write a mulberry story. Michelle did a perfect job though, so I can’t even be upset! 

Favorite Part: The feeling I got when reading this. It moved me. It reminded me why respecting the land and environment we live in isn’t just a blessing, it’s critical to our well being. It also moved me straight to the fridge to eat a small spoonful of jam. 

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