author & illustrator: Thereza Rowe
publisher: Toon Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press
Copyright date: 2014
Hearts is a level 1 graphic novel recommended for brand new readers in grades K-1. The author tells the story of a fox named Penelope using sight words, short sentences, and 1-2 panels on each page. The story begins with Penelope’s friend the cat flying away in a rocket. As Penelope sits on the edge of a cliff crying over the loss of her friend, she accidentally drops her broken heart in the water below. The story follows Penelope’s adventure as she chases after her heart through the ocean, beach, castle, and a busy city street. With the aid of a chicken that she meets along the way, Penelope finally catches her heart, but sacrifices it to a monster in order to save the chicken from being eaten by the monster. Later, as Penelope mourns the loss of her heart, the chicken thanks her and gives her an egg. In the egg, Penelope finds a brand new heart.
The illustrations in the book are unique in color and simplicity. The author used cut paper and illustrator. There is definitely very little text in the book, so the reader must rely heavily on the illustrations. My son is in first grade and he was engrossed in the images. I was a bit lost as I tried to follow the heart’s journey through some very different scenarios. I think I was trying too hard to make sense out of the story. It definitely is a dreamlike type of tale. Check out the book trailer below.