Oliver Jeffers proves with his text The Heart in the Bottle that a picture book is capable of dealing with the most sophisticated of ideas. Themes of pain, loss and grief are all encapsulated in his emotive work of hope and healing. Jeffers uses curiosity and wonder as catalysists for recovery and new dreams. Interestingly, Jeffers never mentions the word death. The father’s absence is simply stated as “she found an empty chair”, dark shades and the motif of night time are used to emphasise the sense of loss that accompany this moment. The Heart and the Bottle closes with circularity in recognising that “the chair wasn’t empty any more.”
“The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world.
Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream – a dream that someday they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie, struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy, becomes a victim of his own strength.”
One of John Steinbeck’s most famous and influential works, Of Mice and Men questions the culpability of the mentally unstable and forces readers to consider what it means to be human. Through the setting of the 1920’s Depression, Steinbeck’s tragedy wrestles with other themes such as belonging and acceptance, power, aspiration and judgement. Recommended for philosophical readers.