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The Glass Heart [Paperback]

Sally Gardner
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Sep 2002
The story of three princesses with glass hearts is told by Sally Gardner in her own original and uniquely appealing way. With a glittering heart on the cover and stunning artwork, this truly exquisite picture book is set in the Venice of fairy tale.

Product details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; New Ed edition (19 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184255073X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842550731
  • Product Dimensions: 27.1 x 27 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Glass Heart, written and illustrated by Sally Gardner, tells the story of Rosie, who accidentally breaks her Nana's little glass heart. However, Nana is not upset and tells Rosie that broken things can be mended, that they can be made as good as new again. She goes on to tell Rosie a magical story about three princesses who had glass hearts. The first princess has her heart broken, and she dies; the second princess has her heart badly cracked, and all she can do is lay on a sofa and watch the world go by. The King and Queen took extra special care of the third princess, and decided that only a prince who knew all about glass could marry her. The story takes place in an enchanted city, a land of fantasy containing kings, queens, clowns, palaces built on the water, gondolas, glass blowers and lagoons, and tells of a young man's struggle to learn about glass. There is a successful ending and everyone lives happily ever after. The language in the story is simple and easy to understand, and the illustrations are charming in pastel shades, making this storybook especially appealing to young children. --Susan Naylor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...a beguiling fairy story of three princesses. Gardner's intricate illustrations make the book a joy to look at and read." -- Wendy Cooling, Children's Bookseller, Bookseller's Choice,20/9/02

'…a beguiling fairy story of three princesses. Gardner's intricate illustrations make the book a joy to look at and read.' -- Children's Bookseller, Bookseller Choice

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The Glass Heart by Sally Gardner tells of an enchanting children's tale of love, devotion and forgivness. The story appealed to my six year old daughter especially because it was about princesses,a magical city and love. It was a joy to read and talk about afterwards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glass Heart: A tale of three princesses 2 Aug 2011
By Wendy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a must for all little girls and old ones! Thankfully I had read the book before and I knew that it would make the perfect gift.

It has a quite sensible outlook which is refreshing, instead of a prince rescuing a princesses from her misfortune etc.

Well worth reading.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My kids like this and I like to read it to them. I get slightly weepy at the last page, as I do with all my favourite children's books when I'm reading them aloud.

Briefly, the story is of three sisters with glass hearts. The first breaks hers easily (and dies. It says so in the text. She just dies. It's okay, it's briskly done, no trauma). The second cracks hers but assures us that if she takes it easily she could live to a fine old age. The third is in no hurry to marry and falls for a young courtier, who falls for her too. When he has proved his commitment, she reveals her love and he is considered by the king to be good enough for her. The story is bookended by a young girl breaking a precious object of her granny's and the granny telling the tale to make her feel better.

There's no baddy. There's no danger. No conflict. I rather like that about it. Even the father is eminently reasonable and non-snobbish. It's a good length. Yep, I recommend this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars read it again and again 14 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My children love this. Have had it for a couple of years and they keep wanting to read it. good illustrations and an interesting story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You Must Take Great Care of Your Hearts..." 16 Jun 2009
By R. M. Fisher - Published on
Sally Gardner specializes in what I guess should be called "fairy-princess" books, such as A Book of Princesses, Fairy Shopping and The Real Fairy Storybook: Stories the Fairies Tell Themselves. Give any or all of these picture books to a girl under eight, and she'll be yours forever. Even though I harbour a healthy distain for saccharine fairies that bear no resemblance to the darker, post-Victorian portrayal of fairies, I could never bring myself to vilify a Gardner book, despite copious amounts of the colour pink. They're just too...sincere.

"The Glass Heart" is an original fairytale fitted within a framing device of a girl who breaks an ornamental glass heart belonging to her Nana. To comfort her, Nana tells her the story of three princesses with glass hearts. Having such fragile and precious hearts, the princesses are warned by their parents to be especially careful with them. However, the first princess's heart breaks at the indifference of her Prince Charming, and the second princess's heart cracks at the overwhelming beauty of a rose.

So it is decided that the third princess needs a husband who is "good with glass." A young page called Valentino, who has fallen in love with the princess, decides to set forth and learn the trade of a glass-blower in the hopes that it will make him worthy of his true love's hand in marriage.

There are many aspects of the traditional fairytale at work in "The Glass Heart," such as a threefold trial, a magical artifact, and a fair princess who has a condition set upon her suitors. Yet the story seems to lack a clear understanding of itself, for there are some odd messages at work here. We are told: "sometimes hearts with cracks last even longer than those without," and that "broken things can be mended so they're good as new, if not better." And yet, we see no proof of these claims in the text. Nana's glass heart is still broken; the second princess is bed-ridden all her life, and Nana ends the tale of the princesses with a somewhat irrelevant story of how she once broke her mother's milk jug.

What is it to have a glass heart? Is Gardner alluding to some sort of medical condition? Or a person who is too sensitive for their own good, perhaps? Maybe she just thought it sounded nice. In any case, I was a little disappointed that the princess remain "precious," not winning herself a stronger, bolder heart, but rather a husband who can take care of it for her. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with a delicate and fragile heroine; I like feminine heroines whose presence needn't be justified by an ability to swing a sword, but there is the sense that the princess here lacks inner strength as well.

Will a child notice this? Of course not. But it might sit uneasily with parents - best to follow it up with the spunky Cinnamon from The Gypsy Princess or the clever Princess Vivian of The Princess Who Danced With Cranes.

I can't believe I'm over-analyzing such a sweet, harmless little book. My cynical side will be shut down in favour of the book's obvious charm, as "The Glass Heart" is a picture book that little girls will adore. There is a real magic to the dreamy illustrations, filled with gondolas, glass-blowers, harlequins, secret gardens, bird-cages, parasols, and sunsets. The human-figures are like little dolls in their posture and simple facial features; and although the setting is never specified (just described as "a magical city built on the water"), Gardner's portrayal of Venice is both mysterious and magical. Girls will pore over these illustrations for hours, just soaking up the details.

This is a lovely book. Not every story must have a moral or a lesson; sometimes the tale exists for its own sake.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So sweet and a tale for every girl, to protect their heart and love those who care for their heart as well. 18 Dec 2012
By David I. Hopper - Published on
A wonderful story that teaches that our hearts are fragile things and they are worth taking care of, as well as waiting for that special someone who will care of our hearts as the precious things they are.
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