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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  918 ratings  ·  101 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 Paperbacks (first published March 1st 1985)
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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.
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
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
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
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
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
Keri Keehn
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
Awesome story about summer and memories.
McKendra Fisher
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. Using great details, brings me back to when I was a child.
Shelbi Hardin
I could teach about having a strong beginning, middle, and end in their writing by using this book.
Garstka Third
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I think the boy in fireflies is an outgoing character. For example is he wants to see what that blinking light is and it was a firefly. I realize the boy wanted to do stuff that he imagined. The last reason is he wants to let the fireflies out of the jar.

I think the boy is mean to people. For example is he says ‘I got one’ and he brags about it even though people are his friends. The last example is he said ’’ those are my fireflies’’ and just turned mean to his friends. I realize he does not wa
Sharon Nicholls
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful picture book about a boy that looks out of his window on a summer evening and is delighted to see fireflies buzzing in the air. He quickly runs to prepare his jar and races outside with other like-minded children with intentions to capture them. This picture book encapsulates a small moment in time, using intricate figurative language and rich descriptions drawing the reader into the child’s eye. The illustrations are gentle pencil drawings with flashes of soft yellows and bl ...more
Courtney Dyer
“But something flickered there, a moment- I looked, and it was gone. If flickered again, over near the fence. Fireflies!”

An enchanting story that is sure to capture the hearts of its readers, young and old alike. Brinckloe’s poetic writing and realistic images bring to life a perfect snapshot of one summer’s evening that is nothing but nostalgic for adults and something of familiarity for children.

In this story, we follow a little boy’s wonder, merriment, and sorrow as he encounters, captures, a
The Reading Countess
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Publisher's Summary: 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.
When I think of "oldie but goodie" this is one of the ones that come to mind. Of course, it could be that I have real connections to the topic. I remember fondly catching fireflies at my grandparent's
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fabulous book for teaching young writers about the craft. Brinkloe uses the word fireflies in italics throughout the book, where the reader can imagine the main character's awe inspired whisper as he encounters, catches, and ultimately free's the fireflies in the yard. Brinkloe also shows readers that although a character may not necessarily like the decision they have to make, they understand why they have to make it, and feel the mixed emotions of good and sad as they make that ...more
Hope Frazier
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book had me in tears! Beautiful story about how a young boy catches fireflies. He wants to keep them forever but he then realizes he must set them free or they will die. Elem. students may not make connections to the deeper meaning, but with a discussion they definitely can!
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story that explores children's natural inclination to explore nature and capture bugs. Fireflies are particularly compelling. After catching a jar of fireflies a boy realizes he must let them go.

Explore the reality of nature exploration, taking a bit of nature, and the need to return living things back to nature to preserve life. This is a dilemma all children face at some point in their explorations.

Kids in CO are not familiar with fireflies so this book can be accompanied by pict
Alison Durbin
This book took me back to my childhood, except where I'm from we call fireflies "lightning bugs". I remember grabbing a jar as a kid and catching tons of lightning bugs with my friends, much like the main character in this book. I also had the experience of having to let them go or watch them die in my jar. I liked how the boy quickly learned that setting the fireflies free was the best way he could enjoy the flies' beauty. I also loved how the pictures were mainly black and white except for the ...more
Cortney Perkins
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a young boy who is fascinated with the fireflies outside. He finds an old jar and decides to go outside with his friends and catch them. When he comes inside he enjoys his lights in a jar very much. But, something begins to happen to the amazing lights, one by one the bugs start falling to the bottom of the jar and stop glowing. This book would be a great read aloud for students to make inferences on what they think the boy will do.
Robert Owens
This book was delivered unannounced to my desk this year. I have no idea why. I decided to read it. It's a simple story reminiscent of the 1980's style of story for children.

A boy is happy to catch a jarful of fireflies. They glow. Then he lets them go.

There are some decent writing conventions used. Good, active verbs, prepositional phrases, dialogue, idioms, and first person storytelling.
Eric Summers
A simple account of a child who goes off into the night to collect fireflies to place in a jar. As the night wears on, he sees that the fireflies will not survive until morning unless he lets them go. Will he make the right choice and set them free, or will he keep them in the jar so that he can enjoy his home-made lantern for a little longer?

Nicely illustrated with a situation that many children can relate to.
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