By Katherine Paterson, John Paterson
Candlewick Press, $19.99, 288 pages
Created in the Stone Age by a powerful magic man, the Flint Heart is a charm that brings its wearer unending power at the price of his kindness and empathy. Buried for thousands of years, the wicked stone is eventually discovered by sweet-tempered Billy Jago, who promptly becomes a cruel and greedy schemer. In the hopes of transforming their father back into the caring man they love, Charles and Unity Jago join together with the local fairies to find a cure, but the faeries have troubles of their own, and Mr. Jago is by no means the final victim of the Flint Heart’s dark magic.
Although the story successfully conveys a number of solid messages, including the importance of respecting the perspectives of others, The Flint Heart often seems a little one dimensional. Despite the presence of wonderfully unique characters, like a hot water bottle named Bismark, little time is spent on character development and, as a result, the plot becomes rather predictable and repetitive.
Otherwise, the story is whimsical, funny and easy to read. The book itself is very aesthetically pleasing and, with its beautiful full-color illustrations, lusciously thick pages, and hefty cover, makes a lovely gift.
Reviewed By Elizabeth Goss
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