The Heart and the Bottle

By Oliver Jeffers


Once there was a girl whose life was filled with all the wonder of the world around her.

Then one day something occurred that caused the girl to take her heart and put it in a safe place.

However, after that it seemed that more things were empty than before. Would she know when and how to get her heart back?



View Oliver read the story:


In Term 2, I had the privilege of collaborating with each PLC at Fyans Park PS in Geelong. We created a whole school author/illustrator study. Each PLC selected texts written or illustrated by Oliver Jeffers to explore and investigate with their students.


A big thanks to the 5/6 PLC – Abbie Walker, Alex Pink, Ali Hayes, Kirsten Young & Lauren McGill, for sharing these teaching ideas for this superb story.

  • Follow the steps to fold an origami heart. Place your heart in your own jar.
  • Vocabulary investigation – curiosity: Collect items such as a telescope, astronomy, sea animals, instruments that ignite curiosity.
  • Writer’s Notebook: The writers select one of the objects and brainstorm their questions and statements.
  • Investigate the frequency of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs.
  • Punctuation investigation: Why did Oliver include ellipses and commas? How do we respond to these as we read?
  • Explore the meaning – ‘The heart that was put back where it came from’
  • Sentence length investigation: What type of sentences did Oliver use? Why did he vary the sentence length?
  • Illustrations investigation: What colours did Oliver select to depict the character’s feelings?
  • Feelings change: Track the character’s feelings throughout the text. Match the characters feelings to the events.
  • Investigate: Why are some think bubbles are filled with illustrations rather than text?
  • Front load: Implement a Think aloud to address the question – Does the character really put her heart in a bottle?
  • What message did you gain from this story? Discuss with peers. Did you all have the same message? What are you now thinking?
  • What happens next? Write a continuation of the story.
  • Investigate the heart – physical and emotional.
  • Create a jar of gratitude. Write the things that you grateful for and store in a jar to revisit and share.
  • Investigate and record observations about the night sky. What are you curious about? What question will you research?
  • Video yourself reading an Oliver Jeffers story. Who are you going to share the reading with? What feedback did you receive?
  • Create a bookmark that would support the reader to understand the story.
  • Create a short video to promote the story.
  • Compare and contrast the story with another publication by Oliver Jeffers.

Can you guess the book the Specialist PLC explored with all the students?

Thanks to Jodie Thomson for the photograph!





Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick