CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 7. . . .October 17, 2014
Paper Hearts is an elegantly illustrated picture book which uses paper art to tell the story of a lonely marionette who longs to know what it feels like to love. The story follows the puppet’s musings as he uses a telescope to observe the goings-on of people walking by. While he watches people walking by hand in hand, he wonders what it feels like to be in love. The puppet, aware that he does not feel anything, goes on to wish and wonder what having a heart would be like. The puppet’s only option when it comes to obtaining a heart is to fashion a heart out of paper for himself.
As the puppet begins to create multiple paper hearts, he narrates all the things paper hearts can mean and symbolize, as well as the way in which paper hearts can function like a real hearts. The puppet’s wistful narration of the feelings associated with a real heart is reflected in the fanciful illustrations by Van Doorn. Each page in the story illustrates the puppet’s paper hearts which take on different designs and are placed in various scenarios. Each scenario further reflects how love can feel when one has a heart. An example of this reflection includes the image of floating hearts in the air which symbolize the feeling of “butterflies in your tummy” when in love. Particularly poignant imagery on a later page reflects how a paper heart can be torn and then mended on the next page, but it is then “never quite the same, just like real hearts”.
There is a wishful feeling throughout the text which elicits a sense of hope from the reader for the creative little puppet. In the end, the puppet accepts that the heart he has created for himself is unique just like real hearts are, and he hopes to find someone to keep his heart safe. The illustrations throughout the book are assembled using paper art which gives the story the feeling of its being a collage brought to life. Paper Hearts is a picture book that can be enjoyed and interpreted at any stage of life. It is a beautifully illustrated work that reflects the intricacies of what it means to have a heart.
Vasso Tassiopoulos is a graduate of the Master of Arts program in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.