The Flint Heart by Katherine and John Paterson (2011)

At first blow, the flint split into three pieces, the center of which was a bright black heart with a hole right through it. Fum was astounded. He had earned thirty-two sheep and thirty-two lambs with one blow of his ax. It game him an eerie feeling. He knew that such a thing did not happen by chance (p 15).

flint_heartA note explains The Flint Heart is “freely abridged” from Eden Philpott’s 1910 fantasy. It begins during the Stone Age when the flint heart is made with the blessing of the Thunder God to satiate a greedy man’s desire to be chief of his village. Many years later, it is found by a kind-hearted father, Billy Jago. Billy quickly transforms into a grasping, cruel father. Desperate to have their old father back, two of his children seek out the fairies for advice. Thier paths cross with many colorful, whimsical characters until the flint heart is destroyed.

This short, beautifully illustrated novel meanders intermittently, but overall it is charming. I have no knowledge of Philpott’s writing, but fans of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane will enjoy Paterson’s short novel.

Advance Reader Copy | Sept 2011 | Candlewick | 304 pages | ISBN 978-0-7636-4712-4 | $19.99

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