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The Heart And The Bottle

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  4,950 ratings  ·  776 reviews
Award-winning picture book star Oliver Jeffers explores themes of love and loss in this life-affirming and uplifting tale.

Once there was a girl whose life was filled with wonder at the world around her…
Then one day something happened that made the girl take her heart and put it in a safe place. However, after that it seemed that the world was emptier than before. But would
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks (first published March 4th 2010)
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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,950 ratings  ·  776 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A picture book about grief. A little girl likes to read with her grandfather as he sits in his rocking chair, and then one day she faces an empty chair. Yes, it's that subtle, the chair is just empty, no explanation, really. Her grandpa is gone, and since she feels like she can't risk too much strain on her heart again, the girl grows up solitary, putting her heart in a bottle which she wears tied to a string around her neck. This doesn't make her life easier finally, as one might imagine. One d ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
This is the best picture book about complicated grief I’ve ever read, and one of the best books about it on the subject, period. It’s lovely in every way. It would make a wonderful present for children who’ve lost a loved one, or someone of any age who’s suffered a loss, both recently and long ago. It’s also a great bibliotherapy book for children who are grieving.

I came close to crying, but this overall this is an uplifting book that also made me smile.

There is a perfect amount of text and of
Dec 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debbie by: Dennis
A poignant picture book about the death of a loved one and the anguish that might result. I read this book to a Grade 4 class today (9-10 years old), but the students didn't seem to "get" it. Perhaps middle school-aged students and older would appreciate its lovely subtle message. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
How does it feel like to keep your heart in a bottle never to expose it to anyone?

It's life-shattering, isn't it? But what drives one to do such thing?

Do read this picture book about grief and sorrow.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Heart and the Bottle is a very short story with a very big message. It is about a girl who is fascinated and curious by everything around her including the stars and the sea. She tells her attentive Father about all the images in her head, but one day she runs to show him her drawings only to find his empty chair. She becomes very lonely and grieving for her Father, she puts her heart in a bottle and hangs it around her neck. This way she some how protects her heart so it does not get hurt o ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've often said that many children grow up over-protected. Many parents dread addressing the big issues with their kids and therefore don't prepare them for what is out there - often claiming that they don't want to be cruel. I disagree with that policy. Should I ever have children, they will never think that there's a farm up-state where all the old animals go. I will certainly not replace a dead pet with one that looks just like it either. Death, as heartbreaking as it is, is also a part of li ...more
This is one of those wonderful books where you don't know whether to cry or smile, so you wind up doing a little of both. Highly recommended.

Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hayat by: Martin
***I'd like to thank my GR friend Martin for this rec!***

This is a touching story about bereavement in childhood and learning to accept the loss of a loved one.

“In truth, nothing was the same. She forgot about the stars… and taking notice of the sea. She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything… other than how heavy… and awkward the bottle had become.”

But when the time comes, will she remember how to take her heart out of the bottle?

Pixi Jo
Oh this was a lovely little book!
The story is short and sweet but hits you right in the heart!
(Be your heart in your chest or in a bottle waiting to be freed)
It's a jolly good little reminder that for all the world is full of tragic things, without magic, wonder and imagination, how much more awful it would be?!

And 10/10 for the illustrations, they were scrumptious!
Fatima Farzeen
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My heart couldn't handle the tenderness of this beautifully illustrated story! :') It's a short, simple yet introspective tale of a little girl dealing with the loss of a loved one. Kudos to the writer for handling a sensitive topic like death with such warmth and kindness. 💓 ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Oliver Jeffers writes very grown-up picture books, the kind that kids love and that can make adults cry. Okay, so he can make this adult cry - especially with The Heart and the Bottle.

It's the story of a little girl, "much like any other, whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world." Her grandfather takes her to the forest, the beach, and listens to her stories and all her many questions. But then one day his armchair is empty.

heart and bottle

heart and bottle 2

She puts her heart in a glass bottle so it c
Nhi Nguyễn
What an utterly beautiful, emotional and uplifting book that makes me cry a lot. Who would have thought a picture book can have such powerful impact on me. Lovely words going smoothly with gorgeous illustrations tell a story that teaches us about grief and how to deal with it, especially when we use our hearts to feel things, and that's where grief affects us the most. But more than that, the book also shows us that no matter how empty the chair is, no matter how sad or devastated we feel about ...more
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the deceptively simple illustrations. I also appreciated how the child narrator grew up in this story - the only other book I can remember doing this is The Giving Tree. And interesting look at dealing with grief and how quick fixes may be damaging in the long run. I'm glad this was recommended to me. ...more
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Children's Stories Exploring Loss / Oliver Jeffers Fans
Celebrated (and prolific!) author/artist Oliver Jeffers explores the nature of grief in this poignant picture-book, following the story of a young girl who is filled with wonder at the world, and who shares that wonder with a beloved elder. When that elder - a father, perhaps a grandfather? - disappears from her life, the girl shuts her heart in a bottle, in order to protect it from the griefs of life. But without her heart, she finds that she has become blind to the beauty and wonder she once s ...more
Sarah Gerard
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
A really beautiful way to introduce death and grief to children. Lovely illustrations. Would be ideal to use alongside a PSHE lesson.
Amy Brydon Jones
Oliver Jeffers never fails to amaze me. An incredibly moving tale of love, loss and inspiration. I think young children may even find the idea of putting your heart in a bottle quite humorous, however from an adult’s perspective, it’s incredibly moving. It would be a great book to use in PSHE when discussing the theme of death and loss.
Overall, the artwork and impact of this book was fantastic. However, I did feel it was a slight bit cliche, as "creativity" and "unfollow the norm" is becoming more and more popular to force idiosyncracy out of individuals. Furthermore, about halfway through the book I was rather confused at one part. It was a sudden jump, and I thought I skipped a page.
Yet, I loved the ending, I loved the book, and the last sentence was marvelous. Despite that, I only deemed it three stars for it's sudden abru
Oliver Jeffers is starting to become one of my favorite children's authors. ...more
Alice Bennett
I love Oliver's beautiful books and the way he tackles such heavy subjects, such as loss and grief, in a sensitive, visual way.

In 'The Heart and the Bottle' a little girl's world is turned upside down when her beloved father passes away, after years of them exploring the wonders of the world together. However, instead of trying to deal with the difficult emotions she's feeling at such a young age, she places her heart in a bottle and wears it around her neck. This metaphor will help young child
Well punch me right in my heart book. Jeez. I've been looking for some books to help my six-year old understand sadness, grief, and death because her beloved grandpa and my dad died way too soon from a horrible and incurable brain tumor.

This one was a little over her head and hard for her to conceptualize, but it really really struck home for me, the grownup. I think the inclusion of a male presenting character (to me a grandpa) who has a beloved chair (just like my dad), and an adoring little
Claire Holloway
After wanting to read this book for a while and it being on my ‘list of betterment’ of books that I want to read, I finally bought it. I can say that I was not disappointed with this book and it offers lots of talking points in the story, such as Why is the chair empty? Why did the girl take her heart out? It also shows that how as we get older we sometimes lose our imaginations and curiosity that children have and that it takes a child to ‘release it’ again. Although this book is very different ...more
New favorite book when it comes to dealing with loss.
This coming-of-age tale follows a young girl from young childhood through adulthood as she struggles with the overwhelming loss of a male father figure in her life. In simple terms and using the metaphor of putting your heart away in a bottle which she then ties around her neck, Jeffers’s story illustrates how curiosity and learning can revive even the most difficult of losses. With simple mixed media illustrations using paint and colored penc
Lelita P.
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know I'm one of the people who almost lost their true self during adulthood. I know I have put my heart in the bottle too after facing so many changes in my life. I know I lost a kid's innocence when I let a child hidden in myself to be replaced by an adult persona. I know growing up makes me become more normal and realistic, not as imaginative as before. I still have a lot of unanswered questions about many things, but like the girl in this book, I have nobody to answer those all, so......... ...more
I grew up with this book as a constant in my house. It’s really sad and whimsical but every time I re read it I get something new out of it. Really a wonderful book.
Alethea A
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wonderful and curious people of all sizes
Meeting Oliver Jeffers:

I absolutely love Oliver Jeffers's art--when I saw this, I thought, finally! A girl book. I don't usually make much distinction when I'm reading a girl or boy picture book (unless it's dipped in bilious pink) but when I try to sell parents or grandparents one of his books, I usually get an exasperated look and a "but, the gift is for a little *girl*". What? I read books about little boys when I was a little girl, and as long as the
Ellie L
Jeffers highlights the isolating process of accepting the death of a loved one, the need to separate yourself from your feelings and reject a world that once sparkled with awe and wonder. Embracing love from others can lift the weight of sorrow and open the door to re-entering a life that appeared broken and impossible to reach.
So sensitively and simply told, the illustrations ache with loss and yet fill the reader with hope that life can and will repair itself. A lovely use a metaphor which enc
Zara Arshad
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a short story regarding loss of someone beloved and how suppressing our feelings can be harmful in the long run.

I used this link to listen to the story:
Liza Nahas
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit heart wrenching, but beautiful! Nice surprise from Jeffers!
Rushie Singh
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my two favorite children's books that deal with death. We all know the stories that children are told: Grandma is sleeping, she was very sick, no, she isn't coming back... These tend to instill more fear in children than understanding and / or relief. "Forever" is a hard concept to explain to a child who has problems projecting much further than tomorrow, if that far. The story is about a grandmother who the girl loves more than anyone else in the world - and then one day she isn' ...more
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2019 Roe Reading ...: The Heart and the Bottle 2 3 Mar 30, 2020 08:30AM  

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Oliver Jeffers' work takes many forms. His distinctive paintings have been exhibited in galleries worldwide, and HarperCollins UK and Penguin USA publish his award-winning picture books, now translated into over 30 languages.

In 2007, Jeffers was the official illustrator for World Book Day, and in 2008 Lost and Found became Oliver's first book to made into animation by London-based Studio AKA.


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“In truth, nothing was the same. She forgot about the stars… and taking notice of the sea. She was no longer filled with all the curiosities of the world and didn’t take much notice of anything… other than how heavy… and awkward the bottle had become.” 30 likes
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