A little girl delights in the boundless discoveries of the world around her with an older gentleman, likely her grandfather. But then the man's chair is empty, and the girl puts her heart in a bottle to help with the hurt. As she grows older, she loses her sense of wonderment, and it isn't until she meets another young girl that she finds a way to free her heart again. This book showcases some absolutely captivating artwork. The way in which Jeffers employs pictures in word balloons to convey the limberness of imagination is brilliant: the man points to the sky to talk about constellations, while the girl sees stars as inflamed bumblebees. But what begins promisingly runs into trouble, and it's not clear who the message is directed toward: children just opening their eyes to the world, or parents who have lost their sense of curiosity? Even if children don't glean much from the abstractions and subtleties of the narrative, they're nevertheless in for a treat with the unforgettable visuals of imagination at play. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
When a small girl loses her father, her only parent (Jeffers represents the loss with the father's empty chair in a moonlit room), she decides "the best thing" is to put her heart in a bottle and hang it around her neck. All the bubbly curiosity that had made her sparkle disappears, "but at least her heart was safe." Not until the girl, now considerably older, meets "someone smaller and still curious about the world" is her heart restored to her. Jeffers's (The Great Paper Caper) artwork is the sweetness in this bittersweet story. Conversations between the girl and her father appear as balloons with images in them instead of words; his answers to her enthusiastic "questions" about the world are expressed in scientific prints and diagrams. In the final spread, as she sits reading in her father's chair, a thought balloon exploding with childlike and cerebral images alike makes it clear that she is once again at peace. While the subject of loss always has the potential to unsettle young readers, most should find this quietly powerful treatment of grief moving. Ages 4–up. (Mar.) [Page 129]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.Review by School Library Journal Reviews
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 [Page 88]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
After safeguarding her heart in a bottle hung around her neck, a girl finds the bottle growing heavier and her interest in things around her becoming smaller.Review by Publisher Summary 2
The creator of The Incredible Book Eating Boy presents an uplifting tale that considers how a lonely young heart can decide to hide from or reach out to others who share the gifts of laughter, imagination and magic.Review by Publisher Summary 3
From #1 New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers, comes a poignant and beautiful story about finding joy after loss. There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play.But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play.Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a touching and resonant tale reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.Review by Publisher Summary 4
There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.Watch a Video