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The Heart and the Bottle

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  4,607 ratings  ·  713 reviews
Once there was a girl whose life was filled with all the wonder of the world around her. Then one day something occurred that caused the girl to take her heart and put it in a safe place.

However, after that it seemed that more things were empty than before. Would she know when and how to get her heart back?
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 4th 2010 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,607 ratings  ·  713 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 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
Archit Ojha
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
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?

Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.

Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
Amy Brydon Jones
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Alice Bennett
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Alethea A
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 Labbett
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Liza Nahas
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit heart wrenching, but beautiful! Nice surprise from Jeffers!
Nicki Fairman
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this picture book! A beautiful way of discussing personal grief and the loss of someone close. It is a talking point, an opportunity to ask questions, to begin discussions on how the girl in the book may be feeling - which may run parallel to the feelings of the reader.
Bayan Ashoor
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The idea amazes me !
Naomi Stafford
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
This book spoke a lot to me. It’s sad but reassuring.
Ahed H
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is the best story I have ever read! Touching your heart, opening your eyes, and decorating your thoughts! I am willing to know more about the scenes behind it.
Henry Ratul
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The chair wasn't so empty anymore but the bottle was.

This one reminds me of my grandparents. ❤ I love you and miss you dadu and thaku.
Zara Arshad
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
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:
Hazel Kaye
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grief is so heavy that even adults find it disorienting and soul-shattering, all the more for those little hearts that are unprepared to handle its weight.
An imaginative children's book about life's darkest moments and making sense about death.
Max Lawson
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers is a contemporary children’s picture book published in 2010. It sticks out to me as a book worth reviewing because of the difficult subject it tackles. Despite at first being mortified at what could be interpreted as the tragic events of the book, the way in which Jeffers has narrated and illustrated the story poetically and colourfully addresses the grief that the main character suffers, and makes for a beautiful if inevitably sad read.

The book centres
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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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