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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,055 ratings  ·  119 reviews
A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published May 31st 1986 by Aladdin (first published March 1st 1985)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,055 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you love something, set it free...

There's something magical about summer nights and fireflies, and this book will bring back memories for so many readers. In this story, a boy collects fireflies in a jar, but when he sees their lights start to dim as they grow weaker, he makes the right choice and sets them free. With fireflies becoming a topic of concern as their numbers dwindle, it's more important than ever to remind kids to be kind and responsible with these amazing little creatures.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely pictures; meaningful story.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
RAR April picture book reads...krb 3/29/19
Megan Shoff
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe is a great example of a realistic fiction text. This story is about a little boy who goes out one summer night to collect fireflies. He is so excited to collect an entire jar and is disappointed later in the evening when he sees that the fireflies stop glowing. I think many kids can relate to this because many students have probably spent some time in the summer trying to catch fireflies. If they can't relate to catching fireflies specifically, they might be able to ...more
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent mentor text for introducing personal narrative
A boy catches a jar full of fireflies and is so excited and mesmerized. However, as he watches them, he sees their lights start to dim and realizes that he has to release the bugs or they will die. I enjoyed this story for many reasons. I think it is very relatable for children in this climate who can observe fireflies firsthand. It provides a good opportunity to reflect on how our actions affect others and how sometimes what makes us happy is hurting others. It could also lead to a science disc ...more
Melanie Dulaney
I use this book in a library lesson year during the weeks leading up to state mandated testing as a mentor text. It is short but packed full of opportunities for students to make inferences and discuss character traits and how and the main character changes from the beginning of the book to the end. The 3 color pictures are well-drawn and engaging and while fireflies are not as prolific as when I was a child, many students have some experience with them. “Fireflies” can be used with children age ...more
Jen Munnerlyn
Mar 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book to add to your collection- however you may have to search it out at a second-hand bookstore because it seems to be out of print. I first came across Fireflies! when I began teaching writing using the Lucy Calkin's UOS g.3-5. The story is an excellent one for teaching the basics of writing a small-moment or seed idea. When my student's and I study this mentor text as writers, we always learn things we could model in our own work.
Balambika Hariharan
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing gem of a book I discovered today... Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe

This goes straight into the must haves list. A boy who is so excited and thrilled to see the fireflies outside and rushes out with a jar in his hand to get his own jar of moonlight. Catch moonlight in a jar, he sure does.. hundreds of fireflies, all his, all glowing. But how long do they glow? The light in the jar diminishes until it’s all dark, like a moon that’s totally eclipsed. The boy has a lump in his throat wh
Madyson Wynegar
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Fireflies tells the story of a young boy who goes outside one night with friends and catches a jar full of fireflies. He is ecstatic about the beautiful light the fireflies put off in his room that night, but notices that their light begins to dim and die out the longer they stay in the jar. The boy ends up setting the fireflies free so that they can live.

Evaluation: This story is beautifully illustrated, allowing the essence of the fireflies to come to life for the reader. I loved that
Jenna Paolazzi
Summary of the book: When the light starts to dim in a young boy's collection of fireflies, what will he do?

Evaluation of the book: I didn't like this book to be honest. I found it to be really hard to relate to on a personal level, as I found it more difficult to relate to the plot. As I was reading this story, I never developed a personal connection to the story; therefore, it made it harder to be able to relate to it.

Teaching Idea: If I were to use this book in my classroom, I would use it
Tatiana Ensz
Reading Levels
Lexile: AD550L
DRA: 18

Explanation of rating: I gave this book two stars because I found it to be boring and not very exciting. Sure, the message behind it was sweet that he wanted to set the fireflies free but it was not the most engaging book.

How we might use this in our classroom/application of six traits: The trait that stood out to me the most was the organization of the piece. Even though the content itself was boring, the story was well-organized and it was easy to comprehend.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book brought back memories from my childhood. Before it talked about putting holes in the jar, I had the same thought myself. The description and imagery made me feel like I was there. I remembered the distinct smell of fireflies (yuck) and how exciting it was to have a special night light of fireflies. It was a simple, descriptive book that was enjoyable. This would be good to read to any age elementary student or middle school to have the students relate to the story or as an intro to do ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this with my second graders today. They were impressed with the descriptions. They understood the emotions and could make some connection to having to let go of something you loved. It was a great mentor text for personal narratives.

I only wish that it could provide more background info about fireflies because my class has never seen fireflies (and despite traveling to over 30 countries and frequent camping growing up- neither have I).
Jul 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, summer
Our three year old son adored this book. It's a reading rainbow book published waaaaay back when his parents were kiddos themselves ;) so it made us nostalgic for our own summers. We've been reading lots about lightning bugs. This was one of his top five books. Definitely a good bedtime book for kiddos who can tolerate longer books.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great example of a realistic nonfiction book to read to students. Many students would be able to relate to wanting an animal they have caught in the wild and think that it is their own. Then suddenly realize they were not meant to be kept in someone's home, but rather they should be free, no matter how much we like them.
Marissa Ellis
I gave this book a three-star rating because although the book has a solid storyline, the illustrations are rather outdated and dark, making the story seem sad. I think this book would still be worth using however if you teach in an area where students see fireflies often.

Guided Reading: K
Lexile: 501-550
Grace Retter
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I love the glittering magic of this book and its storyline, but I wish the moral of the story were a little more explicitly stated. However, I suppose the implied meaning would make for a good lesson about making inferences and reading between the lines. I also worry that children would not view the ending as a happy one, even though it was meant to be powerful and uplifting.
Though the book was not dull, it was not great either. The pictures are penciled which adds depth to them. They are also executed very well. However, the story itself seemed choppy and like there could have been more. It did remind me of the times when I tried to catch my own fireflies.
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book brought back a lot of memories because I use to catch fireflies when I would visit my grandparents in Chicago. I loved how he released them too.

DRA Levels: 4
Lexile Measures: BR-220

Presentation, Word Choice, Voice
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful story that takes an adult back to their childhood as they read it to children, and causes a child to ask themselves what they would do, and what they get very excited about. The illustrations go with the story marvelously.
A young boy and some of his friends spend a summer evening catching fireflies. He catches many of them, and is gleeful. But his glee soon turns to gloom as he notices that the captured fireflies glow begins to dim, and he has to make a decision.
Lynn  Davidson
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful story with fabulous illustrations. One night a boy and his friends catch fireflies in jars, and the boy sets his jar on a table by his bed. He is happy at first, but as their light dims in the small space he has to decide what to do.
Becky McLaughlin
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a great book to read to my group of 3rd graders. We used this book as an introduction to making inferences. My students ate it up!! From making to connections to inferring about how the main character was feeling, this book brought so much discussion!! I highly recommend it!
Kevin Summers
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sample quote: "Then we dashed about, waving our hands in the air like nets, catching two, ten--hundreds of fireflies."
McKendra Fisher
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Using great details, brings me back to when I was a child.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wou-ed-689
This story made me think of the saying, "if you love something, set it free", which the young boy has to learn the hard way that this is often true.
Keri Keehn
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
Awesome story about summer and memories.
Kris Dersch
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidslit, picture-book
This was sweet. Felt very old-fashioned and steeped in nostalgia but my kid still loved the fireflies.
Adrianne Rosal
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
He loved the fireflies but if he wants them to keep glowing will he keep them in the jar? Read on to find out.....
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