Philomel Books/Penguin Group, 2010
32 pages of THICK cardstock
For: well....great for adults.....
Endpapers: Blue-line drawings of the young girl and her father
The very first illustration is of a little girls and her father in the forest. The little girl has stick legs and the flowers have no leaves. I was reminded immediately of The Great Paper Caper and I was right - this is the same author and illustrator. The father always wears pants, so you can't see his stick legs.
The little girl is an explorer, a questioner, nurtured and guided by her dad. In the evening he sits in his chair by the window and they discuss the "curiosities of the world." Then, one day the chair is empty. The little girl feels she needs to protect her heart so she puts it in a bottle around her neck. Her joy, her curiousity about the world is gone. As her life continues, the bottle gets bulkier and more awkward, but when she tries to take her heart out of the bottle, she cannot get it out. It takes another curious, questioning little girl to help her....and the book ends with her sitting, as an adult, in the empty chair with a huge pile of books beside her.
Grief is a simple thing. It's not complicated at all. It just.......is.
There's a video on the internet of Oliver Jeffers. He's from Northern Ireland with the adorable accent to prove it. I find his story interesting, clever, and beautifully illustrated. It grew on me more and more with each reading. But I'm not sure how or if a very young child would understand it.....
There's a difference between Heart and the Bottle and Heart IN the Bottle. An interesting discussion-in-my-head.