Monday, 17 January 2011

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

Title: The Heart and the Bottle
Author: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's
Published: March 2010
ISBN: 0007182309

Rating: 3/5

The cover on this is really bright and the bottle illustration is glossier than the rest of the cover, giving the bottle a real sense of glass.

The story is about a girl who experiences loss of a loved one.  She takes her heart and places it in a bottle so it can't be harmed again.  I wince as I write this.  This was a hard concept for both me and the older reviewer, Shaun, to accept.  I get that the author is trying to show the pain bereavement causes, it's just that in this instance I feel it's not done in an open way.  A chair is empty and signifies the loss, but we don't know the person...and it just felt odd and incomplete to me.  It does show how we can detach from ourselves and get on with life, even though things have changed, and eventually we accept and move on.  Looking back on loss for a child is different than looking back as an adult though, so our youngest reviewer didn't mind this part of the book, and accepted the book as it was without further explanation needed, which surprised me.

The Heart and the Bottle is bright, and colourful in many ways, something which may not ordinarily go hand in hand with loss, but this book does. All the illustrations are beautiful, and the wonderment and curiosity shown by the girl is lovely and heart touching.  It is also available as an iPad app, here's the trailer for it:

Book synopsis:
Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming, uplifting tale, due to be featured in a major motion picture. Once there was a girl who was full of wonderment at how the world worked. She shared all her dreams and excitement with her father, who always had the answer to every question. That is until one day when his chair was empty, not to be filled again - how would the girl ever find meaning from her life again? 

Source: Many thanks to HarperCollins, a review copy was received in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I just love Oliver Jeffers, and have a collection of them that I read with my class (who love them too). Lost and Found is my favourite. I will most definitely be buying this one when it comes out.

I think it's really important for children's books to address big issues. Michael Rosen's Sad Book is another good one for this.