The Heart and the Bottle

Have you read Oliver Jeffers’ new book, The Heart and the Bottle ? I’m interested in hearing what people think about it… We (my kids and I) have always been huge, huge fans of Oliver Jeffers.  His books are our absolute favourites — both the stories and the illustrations.  And we have a couple of his art prints in our house and just love them.  But… I have to say that I have slightly mixed feelings about this latest book.  The illustrations are stunning, as always, but I find the story to be slightly too complex, too obscure for a young audience. My kids were a bit confused by the story — they asked how a heart can be taken out of the body and how it actually fit in the bottle.

Oliver Jeffers takes a deeply sad topic (death of a loved one) and tries to show the emotions involved.  As an adult, I think it’s such a lovely story, but my kids certainly did not pick up on that.  Did yours?


8 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Tina | July 8, 2010 | Reply

I have not read it but this is the second recommend I have had for Oliver Jeffers. Must get on that…

2. kate naughton | July 9, 2010 | Reply

I totally agree and adore all his other books but this one was a bit too complicated.

3. admin | July 9, 2010 | Reply

Have to get my hands on this book so I can join the discussion!

4. Deanna | July 10, 2010 | Reply

I have reently purchased this book for my 4 year old son, I also was left scratching my head! Each time I read it to him he seems to ask more and more questions (..”but how did her heart come out?”, “why doesn’t she ask questons anymore”, “can my heart come out?”, “how does she put her heart back into your chest?”). By the time I have finished reading the book Im not sure that he has followed the story as such. I think its a beautiful concept. I put this book into the same category as “The Giving Tree”- profound in its message to adults but a little puzzling to children. I guess I hope that after reading these types of stories over and over through the years to my childrens the questions will at least open their minds to the profound themes touched upon by the authors.

5. Annaka | July 10, 2010 | Reply

I too would like to read the book and then comment – but you ask a good question that applies to other childrens’ books as well, especially when there’s a difficult theme like death of a loved one. For example, I hesitate to read Bambi to younger kids – and I have been fielding fair questions about the lost boys who fell out of their strollers in Peter Pan. It’s kinda scary… Not sure what to do about that.

6. Britta | July 10, 2010 | Reply

courtney — dead on (pardon the pun). the concept of detaching from your emotions (taking out your heart) is not something my 4-year old can relate to. in fact, it’s so lovely that they are still at the opposite end of the spectrum, and i’m not sure what age it starts to make sense. my daughter and i read it together once and now it’s on the high shelf for me:)

7. mominthecity | July 12, 2010 | Reply

your post arrives just while I’m thinking to write too on the same book… I/we LOVE Oliver jeffers and last time I was in london, I saw his last book and bought without even opening it
Once at home, I found out about the subject and the profoundness of the concepts. The text is now easy at all for a 4 year old child, my daughter captured “lateral” thoughts … and I didn’t explain the real meaning of the story. But I think it can be useful to have JUST in case something bad happens around us.

8. Oliver Jeffers’ newest book, ‘Stuck’ « Babyccino Kids: Daily tips, Children's products, Craft ideas, Recipes & More | September 26, 2011 | Reply

[…] man. It is no question around here how much we LOVE Oliver Jeffers (we have loved on him here, here, here and here to name a few), but now his latest book has got me completely overjoyed. I think it […]