Wednesday 11 January 2012

11. The Flint Heart By Katherine and John Patterson, illustrated by John Rocco

The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Patterson, illustrated by John Rocco
Published October2011Walker Books

From the publisher:
An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against better judgment, the tribe’s magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman re-emerges to corrupt first a boy’s father, an innocent fairy creature, and a familial badger. Can Charles and his sister Unity, who have consulted with fairies such as the mysterious Zagabog, wisest creature in the universe, find a way to rescue humans, fairies and animals alike from the dark influence of the Flint Heart? This humorous, hearty and utterly delightful reworking of a 1910 story by Eden Phillpotts, is perfect for an entire family to savour together or an adventurous youngster to devour.

The Flint Heart starts it's life with a Stone Age man Phutt, who made life a misery for those around him. On is death the Flint Heart is buried deep in the Dartmoor earth, only to be dug up thousands of years later by a lovely mild mannered farmer, Billy Jago.  Two of Billy's children, Charles and Unity seek the help of the fairies, and while they manage to take the Flint Heart from their father, it then falls in to the hands of a Jacky Toad and then a badger who wants to be king.

Along the way we meet  a number of wonderful fairy creatures, including the Zagabod who tells a wonderful version of the Hare and the Tortoise told from another Point of View.  Looking at things from another Point of View is encouraged in many situations throughout the story.  We also meet an abandoned hot water bottle made in Germany, who just wants to be watertight again and find somewhere nice to live.

This book is quite the family affair, written by husband and wife, Katherine and John Patterson, it is also going to made into a film, adapted by their son David Patterson.

I find books like this hard to pigeon hole.  The language and style is quite whimsical and some young readers may struggle with it, but a good reader who likes a "good story" will eat it up.  I think it will work really well as a classroom read-a-loud for middle primary classes.

Who will like this book: Girls and Boys Age 8+
Read it if you like: Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, Fairies, Fables

See below for The Flint Heart book trailer

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