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Key to My Heart

Key to My Heart

by Nira Harel

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Harel, author of more than 40 children's books, delivers a simple, quietly paced story about a father and son's search for missing keys. After an afternoon of playing, Jonathan and his dad realize "five keys on a key chain, with a picture of Jonathan" are lost. They set off to find them, retracing the father's steps through an urban Israeli neighborhood that's subtly different (signs are in Hebrew, a man wears a yarmulke) but will still be familiar to young American readers. They encounter a friendly postal worker who stamps Jonathan's hand, Jack the crazy-haired barber, a pizza maker flipping dough, a helpful newsstand owner and other characters. Eschewing drama (the keys await them at home, where Jonathan's teacher has dropped them off, thanks to the boy's picture), Harel plays off emotional themes that children of every nation will latch on to: the strength of community, the love of family and the reassurance of ordinary routine. Abulafia, a top Israeli illustrator, underscores Harel's words with his uncomplicated, inviting line drawings, adding hints of gentle humor (two cats trail Jonathan and his dad on their search). Quietly reassuring about a world that's often topsy-turvy, this book expresses the importance of community. Ages 3-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Jonathan's father carries a key chain which includes a photo of Jonathan. One day, Jonathan's father picks him up from school, and the two spend time at a playground. When they arrive home, they discover the key chain is lost. A potentially worrisome event turns into an unexpectedly delightful afternoon when the two backtrack the father's steps in an attempt to find his keys. Father and son stop in the post office, where Jonathan receives a stamp from a postal worker; go to the barbershop, where Jonathan gets a haircut; and visit a restaurant, where Jonathan's dad buys him a slice of pizza. But the keys are nowhere. When the two return home, they are surprised to find that the missing keys have beaten them there. All is now well, and the father reveals that his picture of Jonathan is the most important "key" of all. The text conveys a positive message about the closeness of parent-child relationships. However, some of the illustrations contain sexual undertones that are questionable for young readers, who enjoy looking at the pictures as much as the words. The book was originally published in Israel. 2003, Kane-Miller Book Publishers,
— Robbin Gould
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this pleasant tale, Jonathan asks his dad about the keys on his key chain. His father explains the purpose of each one, adding that the boy's picture is the most important element. One day, after Dad picks up his son from school, they can't find the keys. They retrace the man's steps and have some adventures along the way, but don't find the missing items. The story is resolved predictably when Jonathan's teacher finds the keys, recognizes her student's picture, and returns them. Simple, humorous watercolor illustrations include details like a hairdresser with rainbow hair, a cat eyeing a worried rat, and cats on almost all the pages. An additional purchase for large collections.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Newcomer Harel recounts a story of a pleasingly ordinary day accompanied by mildly amicable artwork that sports just the right touch. It's a simple story that nonetheless possesses the tug of affection: A boy and his father puzzling through where the father might have left his keys, retracing his steps after he left work to pick up the boy, Jonathan, at school. The bunch of keys is on a key chain that sports a picture of Jonathan, so the keys are both easily identifiable and special. They troop like a couple of chums from the post office to the pizza place to the greengrocer-all of which might leave readers with a sense that Jonathan's father leads a pretty cushy existence-but don't find the keys until they get home and Jonathan's mother hands them over. Found in the schoolyard, where they fell out of the father's pocket when he was playing soccer with Jonathan, they were sent home when the photograph on the chain told who they belonged to. Abulafia, probably best known for her charming illustrations for Barbara Porte's Harry books, uses the same easygoing style, here, depicting a cozy neighborhood with a few humorous touches (check out the rat coming up out of the sewer grate or the wildly styled barber who is on their path.) The book does have a couple oddments: Why was it necessary to have Jonathan's father late to pick him up? Why does Jonathan ask what the picture on the chain is for? But they just work themselves into the tale, a slice of everyday where not everything is expected, nor needs, to make sense. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

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