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The Flint Heart Paperback – Abridged, August 14, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Enchanting...A crowd-pleaser brimming with action, magic, and wit.
—Disney FamilyFun

Magical adventure...A grand tale skillfully updated and tightened up, this should win the hearts of a new generation.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Told in the voice of a storyteller in the style of A. A. Milne or J. M. Barrie, the tale will make an excellent read-aloud. . . . The Patersons have done a lovely job updating and abridging this tale for today's readers.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

The Patersons have done a stellar job of maintaining the book's period feel while creating a fresher, tighter story that feels tailor-made for family reading.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Katherine Paterson is a former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Her international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the United States and abroad. She is a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, and she has received many other accolades for her works, including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. Katherine Paterson was also named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. She lives in Barre, Vermont, with her husband, John Paterson.

John Paterson Sr. (1932-2013) collaborated with his wife, Katherine, on Consider the Lilies: Plants of the Bible; Images of God; and Blueberries for The Queen.

John Rocco collaborated with Whoopie Goldberg on the picture book Alice and was Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering and served as pre-production art director at Dreamworks for the ? lm Shrek. His children's books include FU FINDS THE WAY, WOLF! WOLF!, and MOONPOWDER, and his illustrations are also featured on the jackets of Rick Riordan's best-selling YA series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. John Rocco lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 1030L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763662437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763662431
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Flint Heart is a delightful fantasy, perfect for young readers or as a classroom or family read aloud. It delivers just the right amount of heart, the right amount of scary, and the right amount of wonder to enchant kids and adults alike. Told in a manner reminiscent of classic Winnie the Pooh, the story is beautifully paced and filled with characters that are memorable and most often humorous. The narrator's casual observations and witticisms will bring smiles to the faces of adult readers, while kids will be charmed by the honest, straight forward characters who are all trying so hard to overcome the evil that is the Flint Heart.

I have not read the original version of The Flint Heart which was published in 1910, so I have no way to compare the two. I have a feeling though that quite a bit of the original language was retained in this telling. It has an old fashioned, proper feel that would place it right at home in 1910. How the authors retained that feeling while still making it so accessible to today's young audience is a testament to their storytelling skill. While there are certainly words here that will challenge third and fourth grade readers, they are presented in such a way that kids will no doubt rise to the vocabulary challenge. Parents might have to chime in and explain what a hot water bottle is, but most fantasy fans will find themselves entranced by this delightful and sometimes ridiculous portrayal of fairies, pixies, and woodland life.

The plot is summarized quite ably in the product description, so I will only add my fondness for the morals of this story.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't remember the last time I've seen such a deluxe children's book as this newest book from Katherine and John Paterson. Imagine heavy, glossy pages, a large type face, lush gold trim swirling around the cover illustrations, and a multitude of rich, magical illustrations by John Rocco throughout the book. See Wolf! Wolf! for another beautiful book by Mr. Rocco.

The story itself is a true fairy tale. There are pixies and fairies and all sorts of tiny talking creatures. There is magic and mystery, kindness and unkindness. The story centers on a small piece of flint, shaped like a heart, that has the magical ability to change a person's personality instantly. No matter how kind or cheerful he may have been, when he holds the flint heart he becomes power-hungry, cruel, and heartless.

Although the tale begins with a humorous episode in England in the Stone Age, it soon moves forward to rural Dartmoor about 100 years ago. A farmer with a large family finds the flint, and his personality is transformed. The rest of the story is the adventures of Charles and Unity, two of the farmer's children, as they try to bring back their beloved father's gentle personality. They need the help of many tiny creatures in the fairy kingdom to achieve their goal.

Parents should know that this is a true old-fashioned fairy tale, originally written in 1910, with dispassionate violence and cruelty to fairies, dogs, and children. In the Stone Age, "Phutt cooly took out his ax and whacked the man on the head, killing him on the spot." Phutt committed other dastardly acts, as did all the others that found the flint heart through the centuries.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this book rather intriguing for several reasons. First, the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. I especially appreciate Rocco's use of color as well as the addition of silhouettes. The illustrations in my opinion are the best part of the book. That does not mean, however, that the writing wasn't good. The writing reminded me greatly of Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant. In other words, the writing was very lyrical and a delight to read. The book's design is superb, with just enough text and illustrations to make reading it a pleasure.

The second thing I found intriguing about this book was the story itself. This is not a fairy tale that I have heard before so I was interested to see how the story played out. The story itself kind of meanders. It is not really compelling so much as thought-provoking. Like most fairy tales, there is definitely a message here about leadership and wisdom versus greed and hunger for power. I think the book would be enjoyable for the right kind of reader, a more thoughtful reader. Quite a few kids might pick it up because of the gorgeous cover, but I wonder how many would actually finish it. On the other hand, the book would make for some very interesting discussions as a read-a-loud.
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A Kid's Review on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If your one for magic, trickery, and action than this book is for you. Fum is a primitive man who lives in England during the Stone Age. He makes charms for people in exchange for sheep. One day a warrior name Phut comes to Fum and orders him to make a charm to make his heart as strong as the king's. Fum tries to talk him out of it but does not succeed so instead charges Phut his entire flock of sheep. When Phut receives the charm he ties it on a leather string and displays it around his neck. Instantly he becomes merciless. He murders people for amusement. Even one day he assassinates the king. Hundreds of years later a boy named Charles and his father expose it once more.

The Flint Heart by James and Katherine Patterson is my new favorite. Its riveting plot takes a turn for the worse multiple times. It is filled with action and I can easily say there is nothing unsatisfactory about this book. It's hilarious illustrations and creative characters are superb. It has just the right dose of reality and fantasy that makes it quintessential. This is a book that young and old will enjoy.
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