The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson illustrated by John Rocco opens up on ancient times. Long ago, in the Stone Age, a young soldier named Phuttphutt once wanted what is not his, the chiefdom of his clan. He was kindhearted, too soft to seize the reigns of power. So he went to the local wise man who forged him a heart of flint which caused Phuttphutt to be brutal and cruel, but also to win the chiefdom. Phuttphutt reigned with an iron fist until he died and The Flint Heart was buried with him. Unfortunately it doesn’t stay buried forever. Mr. Jago finds it and comes home another man. It is up to his children, mainly Unity and Charles with the help of the fairies and an intrepid hot water bottle to destroy The Flint Heart.
I thought this was a solid, strong read for children. The pictures, illustrated by John Rocco are absolutely gorgeous. They aren’t breathtaking, but certainly magical. There are illustrations for every chapter and they definitely bring the kingdom of the fairies to life. In the case of The Flint Heart the illustrations help rather than hinder the book.
The fey aren’t annoying in Katherine and John Paterson’s latest book, as is usually the case I find with fairies. Instead they have unique personalities. They don’t come off as evil or anything. There is one named De Quincey who is a bit of a poet and whom I find hilarious because he’s so arrogant. I love a bit of arrogance, and the story recognizes that he’s a bit full of himself.
There is also a moral behind The Flint Heart. Basically it is to be content with what you have. Every time someone puts on The Flint Heart, they gain something material, however, they lose their good qualities. We see that it’s better to be a kind person than it is to be powerful. While I’m not entirely sure I believe that moral, I can see where that is a point on the moral compass of others.
I would recommend The Flint Heart by Katerine Paterson and John Paterson for readers aged 7-10, but really, anyone could read it. Although, I think that age group will LOVE The Flint Heart.
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The Flint Heart releases on September 27th, 2011.