Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Flint Heart - an audiobook review

Paterson, Katherine and John Paterson. 2011.  The Flint Heart. Read by Ralph Lister. Brilliance Audio.
4 hrs. 9 min.

First written and published in 1910, by Eden Phillpotts, The Flint Heart is a re-telling of his fairytale by Newbery-winning author Katherine Paterson and her husband, John.  

In the same vein as the better-known "one ring," from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, a heart of flint is forged, containing both evil and power.  It survives for thousands of years, occasionally surfacing and disappearing, landing finally in a British moor, where it is unearthed by a kindly farmer who falls immediately under its wicked spell. With the help of fairyland creatures, the farmer's children, 12-year-old Charles, and 5-year-old Unity, undertake the task of finding the vile heart and ensuring that it does no more harm.  Though they receive help from fairies, pixies, and the all-knowing Zagabog, their most delightful helper is the hot-water bottle, an ancillary character who will win your heart.

Ralph Lister's reading is decidedly British, both in accent and style, calling forth comparisons to English classics.  Winnie the Pooh comes immediately to mind.

The audiobook book was nominated for an Audie Award, and the print version is beautifully illustrated by John Rocco.  The audio version contains lengthy and interesting commentary by Katherine Paterson regarding the making of The Flint Heart.

This chapter book will make a great family read or listen-aloud, and will appeal to fans of British fantasies similar to The Chronicles of Narnia.

Listen to a sample of The Flint Heart here.

John Rocco's illustrations may be one reason you might prefer this one in print. (Either way, you can't go wrong.)  Take a look.

The Flint Heart Book Trailer from Candlewick Press on Vimeo.

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