28.Mar.2010 The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

On Friday night I was wandering up through Newtown before a friend’s art event and stopped in at our local bookshop – you know, one where the staff actually know about the books they sell, and write little ‘reviews’ on the ‘staff picks’.

And there it was in the children’s section – the new Oliver Jeffers’ book, The Heart and the Bottle. Given the enthusiasm we’ve had for Lost & Found (which I’ll write about later), I picked it up without much hesitation.

In short, the narrative revolves around a girl who is fascinated with the world around her before she finds (her Dad’s) chair empty one day. She puts her heart in a bottle, grows up and loses her interest in the world around her until she encounters a child who shows her how to get her heart back. On first reading to G she immediately asked ‘what happened to her Daddy?’ – quickly picking up on the subtext of the story.

We’ve been back to it several times this weekend already. (K reckons we should buy a copy for a couple of our adult friends.)

Not surprisingly for a Jeffers’ book, the illustrations are full of tiny details – especially the girl’s fascination with the creatures of the sea and how they work – and I’d recommend removing the dustjacket as underneath lies a fabulous visual collage. G and I have been going through the illustrations trying to figure out their secrets.

In fact, dustjackets – yes or no? That’s another post I should get around to writing.

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