Mystery Bottle

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Overview

A boy in Brooklyn receives a package from Iran. When he opens up the mysterious bottle that lies within, a great wind transports him over the oceans and mountains, straight into the arms of his grandfather. Despite being separated by politics and geography, the boy and his Baba Bazorg can share an extraordinary gift, the bond of their love.

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Overview

A boy in Brooklyn receives a package from Iran. When he opens up the mysterious bottle that lies within, a great wind transports him over the oceans and mountains, straight into the arms of his grandfather. Despite being separated by politics and geography, the boy and his Baba Bazorg can share an extraordinary gift, the bond of their love.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
"A package came for me early in the morning," a young boy relates. It is addressed to him in Brooklyn with the return address in Arabic letters, from Tehran, Iran. The mysterious little bottle inside contains a wind that carries him across the sea to the city where his father was born and into his grandfather's arms. After some time together his grandfather says to him, "Breathe in the wind and mix it with love and blow it into the bottle." That can bring him back again, his grandfather tells him. The magical journey is a gift of the imagination in the love of grandfather and child. The caption-like text accompanies the many tiny details spread across the double-page scenes that tell the visual story. The objects and characters seem composed of cut papers, creating a flat appearance. We see buildings, vehicles, animals, and instruments reflecting the journey from Brooklyn across the ocean to Iran. There the boy and his grandfather enjoy their experiences amid abstracted scenes of local color. This collection of exotic impressions wrapped in an emotionally uplifting story is connected at the end in a note about the experience of the author's Iranian-born husband and his distant grandfather. 2006, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
A seven-year-old boy receives a mysterious package that takes him on a journey to a distant grandfather. The package contains a bottle that, when opened, releases a wind that blows the boy across the sea to his grandfather in Iran. The two meet over tea and get to know one another, with entertaining questions-"What books do you like?"; "What is slimier-a worm or a slug?"-explored peripherally in the illustrations. Delightfully dynamic cut-paper-style illustrations, scattered with cultural details of Brooklyn and Tehran, are overlaid on maps in English and Arabic. A final page of third-person prose provides background information that, if read aloud, distracts from the simple tale: The boy's grandfather hasn't seen his own son since 1978. Sweet, magical and visually fascinating. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786809998
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 32

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2006

    Charming story, beautifully illustrated!

    Mystery Bottle is a delight...bright, colorful, and intricately detailed, Balouch's whimsical collages bring to mind the playful skill of Maira Kalman and Simms Taback. The story is just as good, and will certainly hook the young reader who loves a bit of mystery with his or her pictures. (Parents and grandparents will also appreciate the quiet lessons to be learned about family and love.) Magical!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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