The Flint Heart

Katherine Paterson and John Paterson, illus. by John Rocco. Candlewick, $19.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4712-4
A full century after the publication of Eden Philpotts's The Flint Heart (Dutton, 1910) the story resurfaces in the capable hands of the Patersons (Blueberries for the Queen), who stay true to the language and story line of the original, preserving the book's humor, whimsy, and enchanting storytelling. In both versions, a Stone Age power grab leads to the creation of the eponymous Flint Heart, which hardens the heart of its bearer and results in a lust for absolute control and few qualms about cruelty. The Flint Heart remains buried for thousands of years until unearthed by a kind farmer, where it soon wreaks havoc over his family and a memorable cast of pixies, fairies, imps, and even a German-made hot water bottle in early 20th-century England. Much of what makes the book so delightful can be found in its original incarnation, but the Patersons have done a stellar job of maintaining the book's period feel while creating a fresher, tighter story that feels tailor-made for family reading, just before bed, one chapter per night. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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