The Heart and the Bottle
By Oliver Jeffers
Philomel Books, 2010. Unpaged. Picture book.
A young girl delights wholly in the world and in all the amazing things there are to learn and wonder about with her father. However, when he fades from her life, her heart hurts so much that she decides to put it in a bottle to keep it safe. There it stays, protected from pain but also kept from loving and experiencing joy, until one day she meets someone who helps her retrieve her heart from its glass prison.
Unusual and interesting, this is not a typical children's picture book. It's more of a picture book written for older children and adults, with nuances too subtle for very young audiences to understand. The illustrations combine a fine art feel with a simple, sketchy quality and evoke the perfect mood for the story. Tender and thoughtful, this book will strike a chord with those who have tried to shield themselves from loss. Although the text is a bit obscure in places, this is still definitely a book worth reading.