my heart by corinna luyken

my heart by corinna luyken
review copy from penguin random house
My Heart, Luyken's follow up to the superb The Book of Mistakes is (also) a MUST HAVE picture book. As with her first book, Luyken demonstrates her gift for taking abstract concepts like creativity and feelings, and distilling them into thirty-two pages of a marvelous reading experience. With metaphors that young readers will grasp, ("My heart is a window, / My heart is a slide. / My heart can be closed or opened wide.") Luyken explores emotions and feelings, punctuating them with bursts of yellow among shades of grey, without directly naming them. From puddles and stains to something tiny that can, "grow . . . and grow . . . an grow," to a fence "between me and the world." This particular illustration, seen above, conveys the black emotions that can cause us to put up a defensive fence, yet the fence itself is (like the heart) delicate, intricate and beautiful. This is a perfect example of Luyken's brilliance in communicating with words and pictures. 
Nearing the end of her book, Luyken returns to the metaphor of the heart as a window, reminding readers that, "broken can mend," and a heart, "that is closed can still open again." What I think I love most about My Heart, among the many things I love about this book, is the ending where Luyken acknowledges the duality of the heart along with the important reminder that we have the freedom to choose what we feel and what we do with those feelings, ending on these lines:

My heart is a shadow, a light and a guide. 
Closed or open . . . .
I get to decide.


The Book of Mistakes


Comments