1. What was your overall reaction to Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? What emotions did the book evoke? If you had a strong emotional reaction to it, what caused that?
2. Which parts of Dandelions in a Jelly Jar stick most clearly in your mind? Why?
3. Before you started to read, what were your expectations of Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? How far did it fulfill them? Were there any surprises?
4. What did you feel was the significance of the title Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? When did you realize the title’s significance? Who are the “dandelions”?
5. Are there themes prevalent in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar that speak to some people and not others?
6. Much of Dandelions in a Jelly Jar dealt with the seasons of change in life. How do you think people manage change in their life?
7. How is Trudy’s perspective on her childhood different from her sister Mae’s? Do you believe that children raised in the same house can have completely different perspectives on their childhood? If so, why do you think that is?
8. What did you feel was the purpose of the short stories? How did these stories from Lake Emily’s past connect with the main story? Did you feel they were effective in creating the “atmosphere” of living in a small town? What do you think are the challenges of the short story form for a writer? What can be revealed of a character and a situation in a small space?
9. What is the main theme of Dandelions in a Jelly Jar?
10. Dandelions in a Jelly Jar is set in a rural Minnesota town. Did you feel that Lake Emily was authentic in its representation of small town life? What details are used to evoke this fictional town? Does the setting contribute anything of significance to the novel? How did the setting affect Trudy differently than St. Paul?
11. How is Nature referred to or used in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? Consider the author's use of natural environments, and weather. Do the moods of Nature mirror the moods of characters? What do characters' attitudes to Nature reveal of their personalities?
12. What did you find most interesting about the characters in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? Are they well drawn? How well do we get to know them? Are characters revealed through description, dialogue or action? Do we ever get inside their heads does the writer allow us into the thought processes of characters, and what is the effect of this? If the characters are stereotypes, is there a reason for this? Do any of the characters seem totally original? If so, what is their most memorable trait? Consider the things that motivate the characters in the novel.
13. How far do you agree with the choices the characters make? Think of Trudy Ploog, David Morgan, Steve and Jessie Wise, Virginia Morgan, Mae and Peter Morgan. How much do you care about their struggles and problems? If you become emotionally involved in characters' lives, how did this happen? Do the characters in the novel have control of their own destinies? Explore the relationship between Fate and free will in the novel.
14. What is important to the main characters in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar?
15. Consider the main relationships between characters. What do characters reveal about themselves by their relationships?
16. How was the dialogue in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar handled? Does it seem natural? Do any of the characters have a particular way of talking that reveals their personalities?
17. What is the function of all the secondary characters in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar? Are any particularly memorable? Why? Do any characters act as foils for the main characters that is, do any of them reveal aspects of the main characters to us when we compare and contrast them?
18. Did you anticipate the tornado toward the end of the story? What other tornado themes run through Dandelions in a Jelly Jar?
19. What do you find most interesting about the writer's style? Is it unusual? Do you like it? How appropriate is the style to the story? Try to pick out instances in the book which best illustrate the writer's style and share them with your book group.
20. Has Dandelions in a Jelly Jar taught you anything surprising? Has the book changed your opinion? Why?
21. Who did you agree with on the issue of sports versus the arts in public schools? Bert or Trudy?
22. How is tension built up in Dandelions in a Jelly Jar, and how surprising was the ending?