PB 14:14 Day 14 – The Heart and The Bottle

Woohoo!  But also Boohoo!  Today is the final day of the Picture Books 14:14 Challenge.  I’ve learned so much from studying these picture books in terms of their strongest story elements, and I’ve discovered so many new books from reading other participants’ PB 14:14 blog reviews.  Thanks, Christie, for putting it on, and for everyone who read my blog along the way and who shared their own picture book insights!

The Heart and the BottleI discovered that the story element I referred to the most was theme, and I think it’s because theme strengthens a book for me more than any of the others.  A book can thrive with lovable character, hilarious conflict, or innovative style, but theme is what the story is really all about.  The theme is the heart of the story.  And speaking of heart, here is one that’s all about heart, and that pulls at mine, The Heart and the Bottle.

Title: The Heart and the Bottle

Author & Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers

Publisher: Philomel Books, 2010

Once there was a girl, much like any other, whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world.

The girl finds delight in the sea and the stars, until she experiences loss and finds herself alone in the world.  To protect her heart, she takes it out and places it in a glass bottle, which she hangs around her neck.

Her heart is safe, but the girl no longer delights in the world around her.  Plus, the bottle is awkward and heavy.

Older now, she comes across a girl who is curious about the world as she once was, and she decides she is ready to put her heart back where it belongs and talk to the girl.  The problem is, she can’t get the heart back out of the bottle.

The girl has an idea, though, that may just help.

The theme of this book is the very reason that I love books.  To remind us to take delight in and wonder at the world around us and to share our heart with others.  Even though sometimes it hurts.  A lot.

Keep reading and may your heart be unbottled.




Filed under Picture Books

14 responses to “PB 14:14 Day 14 – The Heart and The Bottle

  1. ManjuBeth

    Laura, This is another PB that would make a great book discussion. Does the girl have a name? Or is this an “everyman” story?

  2. What a powerful metaphor to give children a way to talk about difficult topics and having experienced hurt. Lovely.

  3. Oh, how beautiful! I have to get a copy and see how she gets her heart out of the bottle.

  4. Wonderful! I need to find this book too…there are some adults I know who need to keep their hearts un-bottled. Your last comment is profound: “Keep reading and may your heart be unbottled.”
    THAT may be my next tattoo.

    • Oh, I love that idea! I don’t have plans to get any tattoos myself, but I love thinking about them, and I usually find myself imagining my own tattoos as children’s book inspired. 🙂

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this one! Thanks for the review! I love the fact that she puts her heart somewhere for safe-keeping and then can’t get it out. How many times does that happen to us with just the little things? We put something somewhere so we can get it out later, and then forget completely where it is! I love the idea of taking wonder in the world (as a fellow world traveler, I can certainly relate!) and sharing our heart with others. . this whole theme resonates with me a lot. In fact, my first book is all about a little girl that learns she must give her heart away but doesn’t want to do it unless she gets something in return.

  6. Laura, thank you so much for sharing this book. I love how deep it is, but also approachable. I will be buying this one.

  7. this sounds like a delightfully insightful book. Sort of a modern fairy tale. And I’d never heard of it!! Thank you for introducing me to it.

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