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The Heart and the Bottle Hardcover – March 4, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
It's simple yet profound, and I think it's a great book for anyone at
any age who is coping with loss. It gives a fresh perspective
on a painful subject. It's like a little dose of medicine.
The Heart in the Bottle would make a confusing gift for young children, but would make an excellent gift for anyone who has ever lost someone, suffered heart ache, renewed their sense of wonder in the world, or just loves a good story. The illustrations are absolutely enchanting! My favorite is one where the little girl and her grandfather sit star gazing as he patiently explains the workings of the cosmic balls of gas which she decides to re-envision as phosphorescent bumble bees. This isn't a story with a lot of words to it - nor does it need them. Jeffer's simple, yet striking images carry the story on more profoundly than any text could ever attempt to.
A few years ago I lost my grandmother whom I was very close to and decided to get a copy of this for my mother who was still having some trouble with her own mother's death. The day after this arrived at her house she called to tell me how much she loved it and how perfectly she thought it conveyed how she felt, not only about death but about moving on and I could tell that my mom had finally been shown something that had articulated recovery in a way that made sense to her. I would highly recommend this book to anybody looking for a tasteful and appropriate gift to a friend suffering from bereavement.
Those who are drawn to Jeffers' books because of the illustrations will not be disappointed! For the first time he starts out a book with "Once there was a girl" as opposed to most of his others which the main character is a boy. The simplicity and beauty of his artwork remains remarkably the same with this new character, however the girl creates a new personality amongst his paintings. Children and art-lovers everywhere will come again and again to The Heart and the Bottle to turn it's pages and admire the new friends on it's pages.
The storyline is a bit grim and unexpected from the cheerful and imaginative Oliver Jeffers, but the way he words it, it is perfect. He introduces us to a girl, and through the pictures we see her always with her grandfather. She is happy and full of wonder, until the day her grandfather's chair is empty (this is Jeffers' way of saying her grandfather had died). She wants to protect her heart so she puts it in a bottle for safe-keeping, unfortunately this causes her to loose all the joy and youth she once had. The book takes you through her life, until you find the very happy resolution that helped her regain her heart.
Although this book has a pleasant ending, it is a bleak journey to get there, so this book isn't recommended for the tenderhearted or for children who have not discovered the fact of death just yet. The Heart and the Bottle is a fantastic tool for children (and even adults) who have suffered a loss because it teaches a wonderful lesson of not to protect your heart so much that you loose trust and happiness.
It's not really clear if the chair is empty because the man died, or if he has just gone away for a while. Is he even the grandfather? My six year old interpreted the story her own way, that the man went on vacation, and didn't find the story sad at all.
I met Oliver Jeffers a few weeks ago, and asked him about this book in particular, and his answer was that he left it up to the reader to find their own story, which I like very much.
I definitely recommend this book, and all others by this amazing author/illustrator.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A mustread picture book dealing with grief that should be read from end page to end page as there are stories within the end pages as well. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Traci Bold
Unless you're looking for a book on healing, skip this one. Two stars for illustrations. Sending it back.Published 1 month ago by THESS
Lovely art and simple message. I use this book in adult education to call learners back to their child-like curiosity.Published 2 months ago by Sarah Knapp Ellis
This book combines buetif artwork with a touching story that would be helpful in navigating through grief.Published 3 months ago by Gatsby Gal
intriguing story. fairly ambiguous for children, you might need to do some additional explaining
but the story line and illustrations are well done
not a stand alone, but... Read more
Bought this book for an 8 year-old who lost her mom. I loved how it was written and hope she does too.Published 3 months ago by j.garr
I loved this book. facilitates a great discussion about loss that children may experience.Published 4 months ago by Queenbe