Review Blog

Jan 10 2012

The Flint Heart by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2011. ISBN: 9780763647124.
Recommended for ages 8-12. Some five thousand years ago, a young warrior named Phutt desired to have a harder heart, so he visited Fum, the maker of charms to seek an amulet which would make him stronger. Despite the warnings from Fum that such a charm would simultaneously lose him the affections of the people and lead to war, Phutt was determined to go ahead. In order to make Phutt less eager, Fum tried to make the cost prohibitive. Nonetheless, the charm was created and continued to cause problems to both its owner and his community until such time as it was buried along with Phutt on his death. There it stayed for the next five thousand years. Its later discovery again brought a host of problems to each of the characters who found it. Amongst those whose lives it touched were Billy Jago, the person who eventually unearthed the amulet, Charles and Unity, two of his children, and later an imp and a badger. It is only with the help of a walking, talking hot-water bottle from Germany and the King of Fairyland that all is put to rights.
With the original fantasy written by Eden Philpott in 1910, this title has been skillfully updated by the Patersons and illustrated by John Rocco. The large, double-spaced font makes reading quick and easy, even for younger primary school readers. Glossy paper, illustrated chapter banners and full page colour illustrations make this an even more appealing fairy tale, one I devoured in a single brief sitting.
Jo Schenkel

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