Friday, July 16, 2010

The Heart and the Bottle

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers was my last great find at the Cover to Cover Sidewalk Sale. As I keep rereading this book, I think it's more for me than my students. I think our youngest learners will enjoy the illustrations and the story but I could really see working wtih third graders and discussing the meaning in layers.
A young girl loves to wonder about the world and shares her wondering with an older gentleman. The text is told through narration and the two characters thoughts are told through mini illustrations in speech bubbles. This is brillant and what a unique approach to illustrating dialogue. I think students of all ages would enjoy trying this technique. The little girls loves discovering and wondering about things until one day she goes to share her discoveries with the older gentleman and his chair is empty. She is so sad, she decides to put her heart in a glass bottle and wear it around her neck to keep it safe. Don't we wish we could keep our hearts safe when we lose someone? The little girl continues to grow and wear her heart in a bottle. We learn she's not wondering and discovering as she once did. She meets a little girl at the sea who is curious and wants to share this with her but she can't because her heart is in a bottle. With the help of this little girl, her heart is taken out of the bottle, wonder is brought back into her life, and the chair is no longer empty.

I think it's important in teaching to wonder with our students and about our students and it takes the heart to do it right. Embrace your heart and wonder.


  1. One of my favorite new books this spring...cried after reading it aloud (my second reading of the book). The kids would hand me kleenex each time I went near the book.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Katie. I thought I would have a hard time reading this aloud, once I figured it all out. I'm glad to know it tugged at your heart too.

  3. I loved Heart and the Bottle too, but I definitely felt it was more for adults than for kids, unless they were in a particular situation. I did read it to my daughter (5) but it isn't one she's ever asked for again.(I briefly reviewed it here: ) Oliver Jeffers has written several other books which my kids ADORE, however and they are definitely worth looking out for.