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) This timeless, enjoyable retelling is a strong choice for both a read-aloud and an under-the-covers escape. —Booklist This is a charming fantasy that can be enjoyed as a read-aloud. —Library Media Connection A distinctive English setting, complete with windswept moors and a magical forest, is paired with whimsical humor to make a cheerfully vibrant tale that simply begs to be read aloud in a family setting...a perfect gift book for children ready to move beyond the Tinkerbell version of fairyland. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books A marvelous modern fantasy. —The Horn Book Enchanting...A crowd-pleaser brimming with action, magic, and wit. —Disney FamilyFun This book could quickly become the family read-aloud favorite. It's old-fashioned bookmaking and storytelling, with a cast of characters and message for modern times. —Shelf Awareness For all the imaginative glory of children's fiction in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the language and prose style of the era can sometimes be daunting to the modern child. With this in mind, and with evident relish, Katherine Paterson and John Paterson have trimmed and reworked "The Flint Heart," a 1910 fairy tale by British writer Eden Phillpotts. In the Patersons' hands, the story still crackles with drollery and wordplay, but it is considerably lighter on exposition and magical esoterica. —Wall Street Journal In this fantasy “freely abridged” from the 1910 original by Eden Phillpotts, the prose by the husband-and-wife team retains some of the Edwardian voice of the original and laces the story with understated humor. John Rocco's digitally colored pencil drawings provide a perfect complement, glowing with fairy light...The Patersons have given new life to Phillpotts’ original, retaining and enhancing the magical wonder of a tale that ought to endure as a classic. This beautifully made book exemplifies, as John Rocco said in a recent interview, “the importance of the physical book for children in this ever-growing digital age.” —BookPage Given the language, the messages and the awe-inspiring illustrations, The Flint Heart is a perfect book to read aloud and enjoy with your child. You may end up in a conversation about the works of Shakespeare, why it is important to understand different points of view or why some people will go to any lengths to gain power. —ABC7 "Sweet on Books" This is a delightful story, with a wry sense of humor, a little quirkiness, and a wonderfully imaginative cast of characters reminiscent of the types I could imagine Alice meeting in Wonderland. —James Patterson's Read Kiddo Read.com An old story made new by Katherine Paterson, who is surely the Louisa May Alcott of our time. —Washington Post
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.)
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
Narrator Ralph Lister’s tone is warm and authoritative—like a nice cup of hot toddy—a style that is perfect for a story set in England in 1910. Twelve-year-old Charles and 5-year-old Unity undertake a quest to get rid of the Flint Heart, which turned their father into a cold and conniving person. Lister’s vocal characterizations are excellent. Every affectation reflects and enhances the characters. The toads are coarse, members of the fairy court haughty, and the sentient hot-water bottle sounds as though he suffers a head cold. Lister’s performance is both familiar and fresh, qualities particularly suited to this utterly charming, classic tale. In an afterword, Katherine Paterson describes how this “freely adapted” retelling came to be. A.M.P. 2012 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
NOVEMBER 2011 - AudioFile
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.