The Heart and the Bottle
written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
(Philomel Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
There is a young girl who loves the world around her and is encouraged to have a sense of wonder and curiosity. One day, the person who encourages her is no longer around. An empty chair symbolizes this loss. The young girl decides to place her heart in a bottle for safe keeping. While her heart is safe, the girl loses her sense of wonder and no longer notices the world around her. It takes another person filled with wonder to help the girl rediscover the world.
Oliver Jeffers had created a touching book about loss and how we can begin to recover by enjoying the world around us instead of insulating ourselves.
I think the symbolism of the empty chair is a brilliant idea. Jeffers has written a profound book with a light touch. You know the loss has occurred, but you aren't crushed by it. The art for the book is a collage of many different styles and it works wonderfully. It pays to read the tiny print at the beginning since Jeffers writes that "The art for this book was made from all sorts of stuff." Here is a 3 minute video on his process for creating this book.
The video is from YouTube, but it is also linked in the strangest of places. I could of guessed a million guesses, and never would have said Spike TV. That's right. The same channel that has a ton of MMA programming and promotes itself as "Guy TV" has a video for a children's book on its website. Weird, huh?