Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE by Oliver Jeffers

THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE

An Interactive Book

By Oliver Jeffers (Author) , Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator) , Bold Creative (Developer)

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: June 28th, 2011
Publisher: Penguin

After an elderly loved one departs, a young girl puts her heart in a bottle to try to weather the grief.

Jeffers received a heap of critical acclaim for the print version of this memorable storybook. The narrative chronicles a little girl’s attempt to protect herself from the pain of losing a loved one and abstractly confronts the complexities of grief. Jeffers’ clean, visceral artwork translates beautifully to the tablet screen and is brought to life by numerous interactive options. Each page offers a hint that leads to hidden elements that can be triggered by tapping, swiping, tilting or shaking the device. A scrolling storyboard makes it easy to locate and skip to various pages, but there are a couple of technological oversights and glitches that make this adaptation a little rough. Helena Bonham Carter narrates, but there’s no autoplay or read-to-me option; voiced narration must be prompted on each individual page, which gets old. And while the interactive components are interesting and organic to the story, it sometimes takes several tries to activate them. Still, the magical interactivity, the aesthetic presentation and the poignant story itself outweigh the app’s few technological hiccups.

A moving, stimulating, slightly buggy adaptation of Jeffers’ luminous children’s book. (iPad storybook app. 5-10)