The Flint Heart

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Overview

A robust and wildly entertaining fairy tale, freely abridged from Eden Phillpotts's 1910 fantasy and wryly retold by Katherine and John Paterson.

An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against his better judgment, the tribe's magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman reemerges to corrupt a kindly farmer, an ...

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Overview

A robust and wildly entertaining fairy tale, freely abridged from Eden Phillpotts's 1910 fantasy and wryly retold by Katherine and John Paterson.

An ambitious Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart, allowing him to take control of his tribe. Against his better judgment, the tribe's magic man creates the Flint Heart, but the cruelty of it causes the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the talisman reemerges to corrupt a kindly farmer, an innocent fairy creature, and a familial badger. Can Charles and his sister Unity, who have consulted with fairies such as the mysterious Zagabog, wisest creature in the universe, find a way to rescue humans, fairies, and animals alike from the dark influence of the Flint Heart? This humorous, hearty, utterly delightful fairy tale is the sort for an entire family to savor together or an adventurous youngster to devour.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
Katherine and John Paterson’s bewitching fairy tale about the re-emergence of a dangerous talisman called the Flint Heart that hardens the heart of anyone unlucky enough to be corrupted by its magic comes to life thanks to top-notch narration from Ralph Lister. Throughout this audio production, Lister creates distinctive voices for the diverse cast of characters. He offers up a gruff rumble for the ancient tribesman first possessed by the flint heart and a nasal, high-pitched voice for a persnickety fairy that harbors a passion for English literature. For children Charles and Unity—whose father falls victim to the object—Lister creates bright, inquisitive voices, while lending the wise and kindly Zagabog, a sort of guru to the fairies, a gentle voice reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Dumbledore. And for the story’s most whimsical character—a timid hot water bottle that dreams of someday being mended—Lister utilizes a voice that becomes confident and brave as the story unfolds. Ages 7–12. A Candlewick hardcover. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
Enchanting...A crowd-pleaser brimming with action, magic, and wit.
—Disney FamilyFun

Magical adventure...A grand tale skillfully updated and tightened up, this should win the hearts of a new generation.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Told in the voice of a storyteller in the style of A. A. Milne or J. M. Barrie, the tale will make an excellent read-aloud. . . . The Patersons have done a lovely job updating and abridging this tale for today's readers.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

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.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
A heart-shaped amulet fashioned more than five thousand years ago was designed to make the wearer successful in overthrowing the tribal chief. However, no one, except perhaps the Thunder God, knew how far-reaching would be the power of this small token. Greed, rebellion, deception, and general oppression followed in the wake of the flint heart. Even at the death of its owner, the heart stayed strong and, years later, a completely innocent family man with a loving wife and clever children stumbled upon the talisman. Following in the footsteps of his Dartmoor ancestor, Billy Jago, an all-round good chap is transformed into a man who is more feared than loved. Working cooperatively, a fairy king, a German hot water bottle, and the clever and caring Jago children manage with stealth and wisdom to bring their precarious lives back to normal. Retelling the Eden Philpotts' fairy tale with their signature tongue-in-cheek humor, sparkling narration, unique characterization, and ingenious dialogue, the Patersons offer a joyous romp through the English countryside and a fairy world that is utterly believable. This tale promises another triumph for the award-winning author and her husband. Reviewer: Janice DeLong
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The Patersons have teamed up to bring a long-out-of-print story (originally written by Eden Phillpotts and published in 1910) to a modern audience. During the Stone Age, an ambitious warrior asks the wise man of his tribe to make him an artifact that will harden his heart so he can become a powerful chief. The wise man obliges and, with some mischievous intervention from the Thunder Spirit, an artifact—the flint heart of the title—is made and a series of tyrants is created. Flash forward to 1910 and a farmer discovers the item, much to the dismay of his children. Book-learned 12-year-old Charles and his younger sister, Unity, take matters into their own hands by consulting with the local fairies on how to proceed. Told in the voice of a storyteller in the style of A. A. Milne or J. M. Barrie, the tale will make an excellent read-aloud. There is little real suspense, but this is an intentional part of the book's charm. The Patersons have done a lovely job updating and abridging this tale for today's readers. It's curious that Phillpotts's name isn't also listed on the cover, as large portions of the text are identical to the original. Rocco's fantastic illustrations alone make this edition worth purchasing.—Alana Joli Abbott, formerly at James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 3–6—Newbery Medal winner Katherine Paterson has teamed up with her husband, John, to retell a 1910 fairy story (Candlewick, 2011) originally written by Eden Phillpott. The tale begins in the Stone Age when a village mystery man inadvertently makes a heart shaped charm out of flint that has the power to make its owner cold and ruthless. After its first owner comes to an evil end, the heart is lost for thousands of years until it is unearthed by an unsuspecting farmer. His children are alarmed when he suddenly becomes mean and dishonest and they go to the fairy folk who live in nearby hills to find out how to save their father. The story is brimming with old-fashioned charm. The young heroes are like the children in Edith Nesbit's The Five Children and It (Puffin Classics, reprint 2008) and other stories from the early 1900s—stout, resourceful, and ever so polite. Paterson's descriptions of the fairy world are fanciful and full of gentle British satire. Ralph Lister has the perfect British accent, and clearly establishes each character's age, personality, and social status with the use of accent and tone. Have the book available so listeners can peruse John Rocco's remarkable illustrations.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews

A heart-shaped talisman created in the Stone Age brings terribly corrupting power to those who possess it, until 12-year-old Charles Jago manages to destroy it permanently.

This magical adventure begins with the fashioning of a piece of flint into a charm for hardening hearts. A hard-hearted individual can rule his tribe in the Stone Age and, fast-forwarding to the early 20th century, become the leader in one's community, but at a cost to his good nature, family and friends. That's what happens first to Charles' father, then to an imp called a Jacky Toad and then to a badger. Happily and with help from his little sister, his dog, the king of Fairyland, a talking hot-water bottle and the all-knowing Zagabog, Charles wrests the stone away from each one in turn, with no harm done. After all, this is a fairy tale. Written by Eden Phillpotts and first published in 1910, this traditional story has been deftly abridged and brought up to date by the Patersons. They've preserved the faintly English narrative voice and humor, idiosyncratic characters, lively action, distinctive Dartmoor setting and even many of the words. The 21st-century version features thoughtful design and Rocco's digitally colored film-animation–style illustrations, including chapter-heads, full-page images and decorations throughout.

A grand tale skillfully updated and tightened up, this should win the hearts of a new generation. (Fantasy. 8-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455822454
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 7 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Paterson is the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Her international fame rests not only on her widely acclaimed novels but also on her efforts to promote literacy in the U.S. and abroad. She is a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, and she has received many other accolades for her works, including the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, given by her home state of Vermont. Katherine was also named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. She lives in Barre, Vermont with her husband, John Paterson. John Paterson Sr. has collaborated with his wife, Katherine, on Consider the Lilies: Plants of the Bible; Images of God; and Blueberries for the Queen.

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Customer Reviews

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