The Heart and the Bottle

32p. 978-0-39925-452-9.
Gr 2-5 A short, bittersweet story about a little girl "whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world." In the accompanying picture, she tells her kind, attentive father about all the wonderful images in her head. But one day, she runs to show him a drawing and finds only his empty chair. To ease her loneliness and grief, she puts her heart in a bottle and hangs it around her neck. Eventually, she learns that this is ultimately no solution at all. By then, she's grown older, and it takes another little girl, much like the child she used to be, to help her find a way out. The whimsical illustrations appear to be paint and pencil, with a touch of collage. The people are depicted very simply, and the natural landscapes are sweeping, with colors that reinforce the subtly shifting moods. Aimed at an older audience than one would think at first glance, this allegory about grief and the futility of attempts at self-protection will resonate most with those who've suffered a loss. An unusual, original book."Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
In this overly allegorical story, a girl and the unidentified man (father? grandfather?) she lives with share a love of astronomy, oceanography, and life science. When the man (presumably) dies, the girl puts her heart in a jar for safekeeping and abandons her studies. Finally, she meets "someone smaller and still curious" with the power to release her heart. Jeffers's fanciful mixed-media illustrations provide a lift to the heavy text.

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