The Heart and the Bottle is a picture book that addresses the issue of bereavement. A young girl curious about the world wishes to learn as much as she possibly can from her grandfather. That is, until she finds an empty chair. Feeling lost, the girl decides that in order to protect her heart from further pain she should place it in a bottle for safe-keeping. Years go by, the girl becomes a woman, yet the heart remains in the bottle. It is not until she meets a young girl that reminds her of how she used to be so many years ago, that she decides it is time to take the heart out of the bottle. But there is a problem, she has forgotten how. Fortunately, the still-curious little girl knows a way...
Oliver Jeffers addresses the issue of bereavement beautifully in The Heart and the Bottle. The use of vibrant, detailed illustrations coupled with simple yet powerful sentences ensures that the story of love and loss is weaved brilliantly. The reader is drawn into looking beyond what is explicitly said or not said to the expressive pictures. What does it mean to the reader, when the little girl is drawn running to her grandfather but instead finds his chair empty, in a dark room? A large proportion of the audience will be able to relate to and empathise with the heartache felt by this young girl. The attention to detail is remarkable, and it is only fitting in an Oliver Jeffers book that there is a message behind the story. In this particular instance, the reader is reminded that hearts can be mended and though loved ones can be missed they can also be remembered, fondly.
- Reading Age: 4-11
- Reading Aloud Age: 4-11
This book is suitable for children of all ages due to its universal message and simple, clean yet effective language.
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